Costa Rica Birding Journeys

7 Nights Photography Itineraries

Bird Sites:

    Overview

    Number of nights: 7 nights

    Number of nights by destination: SJ (1) San Gerardo de Dota (2), Central Pacific (2), Bosque de Paz (2)

    General info: A journey in search of some of the most representative families of birds from Costa Rica 6 nights exploring 3 amazing destinations in which the larger number of endemic species occur.

    Number of participants: Minimum 2, Maximum 6 (8 upon request)

    Dates/Months: Open all year

    Arrival in Costa Rica. Pick up by CRBJ staff, transfer to San Jose’s overnight hotel. Briefing about the tour. Dinner not included.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: FIRST DAY’S HOTEL IT WOULD BE BASED ON INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT SCHEDULES

    Daily Itinerary by destination:

    San Gerardo de Dota:

    Talamanca’s Highland there is not destination in Costa Rica more fulfilling for endemic birds, although the number of species in the highlands in the country are far less than rainforest lowlands, the exceptional number of endemics far exceeds those ones in areas as Corcovado National Park or La Selva. Hummingbirds, flycatchers, vireos, trogons, wrens, are some the families that had been isolated for millions of years; creating specialization of species therefore endemics. Among some of the most beautiful birds are the Resplendent Quetzal and perhaps the only place in which it can be found all year long. Giant oaks, misty mornings and crispy air are among many of the wonderful things that make this destination a favourite among us….

    • Drive after breakfast to down valley into the heart of some of the least explored rainforests of Costa Rica.
    • Exploring gardens, forests, river edges. Wild bird photography. Carry your super telephoto lens and tripod. Today we will let mother nature show us the way. These recently opened trails show an incredible number of bird life found nowhere at Bosque de Paz, although the distance between them is only a few miles the drop on altitude changes nearly 60% the species. Many of them occur in small patches of jungle, some walking around the property could give us amazing results.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Visit to Batsu’s bird garden.
    • Waterfall and landscape photography silky effect. After a few hours with capturing those fast fliers we will hike to the base of one of the magnificent waterfalls of the area to practice the famous motion blur of silk effect on water. Bring your ND filter -5 or 10 stops
    • Dinner at 18:30 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Editing tools CameraRaw, Capture One, DXOLab3, Topaz and questions (19:30 – 21:30) video beam presentation
    • We will concentrate it on capturing hummingbirds in the air. Many hotels had for a long time      built very attractive gardens filled with hummers fighting for the best perches and nectars.
    • There are at least a dozen of Endemic species that are a beat challenging to capture yet we seem to be quite succesful during our tours
    • Since it is Resplendet Quetzal heaven, we would also take half a day to photograph one of the most gorgeous living creatures.

     

    Central Pacific:

    Carara National Park is by far one the best birding places all year round in Costa Rica and perhaps in all of Central America. Within the national park protects the second largest population of Scarlet Macaws, easy access to all trails, mangrove swamps, pasture fields and forest edges. There are very few places in the country where more than hundred species can be found in one trail. Meandrica’s trail it has become an icon for quality birding, tinamous, trogons, wrens, antpittas, manakins, cotingas, bellbirds, antshrikes are among the most common birds in the forest. The nearby forested edges give as a good number of open field birds, jays, blackbirds, greenlets, rails, ground doves, motmots, hawks, parakeets, owls are among many of the avifauna found in these habitats. The mangroves at Rio Grande de Tarcoles are very rewarding on a good day along the river edges 5 species of kingfishers can be spotted, more than a couple dozens of shorebirds, herons, egrets are also easy to find but the most remarkable species are the ones with a restricted range or to the mangroves such as vireos, warblers, cuckoos, flycatchers, the elusive Rufous necked woodrail and the only true Costa Rican endemic Mangrove Hummingbird. 

    • Drive after breakfast to the down valley into the heart of the Central Pacific of Costa Rica.
    • Exploring gardens, forests, river edges. Wild bird photography. Carry your super telephoto lens and tripod. Today we will let mother nature show us the way. There are so many different locations to explore during this destination. Agricultural fields, forest patches, forests edges, primary, secondary & mangrove forests.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Visit to Carara National Park
    • Mangrove Boat tour by Mangrove Birding Journeys
    • Dinner at 18:30 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Editing tools CameraRaw, Capture One, DXOLab3, Topaz and questions (19:30 – 21:30) video beam presentation

     

    Bosque de Paz:

    Bosque de Paz nestled in the intermountain valleys between Poas and Platanar Volcanoes is found in the forest of peace. A private preserve with an enormous biodiversity and one of the few accessible wet forests found in the Caribbean mid elevations. Serenity, exclusiveness for those seeking out a true connection with nature. 11 species of hummingbirds are found within its forests and surroundings. Also home to the always breathtaking Resplendent Quetzal; Bosque de Paz Lodge gives you the intimacy and comfort we all have at home. The high extinct volcanoes, waterfalls, mystical cloud forests make this place enchanting beyond words. Here we will learn the principles of birds of flight, all techniques need it to capture award winning images. Dozens of trails are also part of the attraction for those with a Huxley’s best need of exploring by your own. Flowering bushes, fruit trees, streams and gardens are a magnet for bird life.

    • Drive after breakfast to down valley into the heart of some of the least explored rainforests of Costa Rica.
    • Exploring gardens, forests, river edges. Wild bird photography. Carry your super telephoto lens and tripod. Today we will let mother nature show us the way. These recently opened trails show an incredible number of bird life found nowhere at Bosque de Paz, although the distance between them is only a few miles the drop on altitude changes nearly 75% the species. Many of them occur in small patches of jungle, some walking around the property could give us amazing results.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Visit to Bajos del Toro’s hummingbird gallery. As mentioned before only a few miles away and the number of species of hummers increases by more than half dozen.
    • Waterfall and landscape photography silky effect. After a few hours with capturing those fast fliers we will hike to the base of one of the magnificent waterfalls of the area to practice the famous motion blur of silk effect on water. Bring your ND filter -5 or 10 stops
    • Dinner at 18:30 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Editing tools CameraRaw, Capture One, DXOLab3, Topaz and questions (19:30 – 21:30) video beam presentation

     

     Last day of the journey: International flight dates, times, pick up & drop off based on your flight schedule

    Early rising: In some locations we will be leaving before sunrise. In order to capture certain moments, situations or specific targets.

    Photographing habitats: Many bird photography expeditions have always focused on just the birds therefore a good part of the experience is reduced and the story telling would not be as rich as I could be.

    Mastering bird photography: There are many tricks to ensure quality and momentum. We will explore them all as long as nature lets us.

    Playing with black and white: Many times we let colours run our bird photography nonetheless experimenting with shades, shadows, contrasts of the enchanting universe of blank & white can give you new ways to see our beloved feathery friends.

    Times: Very crucial to make the most out of your holidays; we have selected all lodging, forests, or locations with a maximum distance/hours of driving. Generally speaking traveling time would be during the off hours or between 10 am – 1 pm.

    Difficulty Level: If you are able to manage 2-3 Km on a daily basis with intervals you should be fine. Just a friendly reminder we specialize on physically limited tours for those who would share our passion for nature and bird photography.

    How much photography skill do I need to have to enter the trip?

    Bird as Art is created to all levels of photographers with a DSLR but if you are in a more advanced level please let us know and we might be able to suggest an either private service or a small group of friends.

    Overview

    Number of nights: 7 nights

    Number of nights by destination: SJ (1), San Gerardo (2), Carara (2), La Selva Biological Station (2)

    General Info: A journey in search of some of the most enigmatic birds for conservation in Costa Rica; 6 nights 7 days exploring 3 amazing destinations from the Central Pacific to the southern Caribbean lowlands. A photography tour capturing Macaws, Quetzals, Toucans and many other iconic birds.
    All daily activities would be based on light or natural opportunities such as nesting sites, feeding locations. During the down times or complicated light; garden explorations of visits to other parts of the chosen destinations. Since we will be focused on natural environments most of the avifauna would be captured as found yet we will visit some bird feeding stations to enrich the quantity and quality. All destinations have been carefully chosen to reach a high level of success.

    Number of participants: Minimum 2, Maximum 6 (8 upon request)

    Dates/Months: Open all year

    Destination description:

    Arrival in Costa Rica. Pick up by CRBJ staff, transfer to San Jose’s overnight hotel. Briefing about the tour. Dinner not included.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: FIRST DAY’S HOTEL IT WOULD BE BASED ON INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT SCHEDULES

    Daily Itinerary by destination:

    San Gerardo:

    Talamanca’s Highland there is not destination in Costa Rica more fulfilling for endemic birds, although the number of species in the highlands in the country are far less than rainforest lowlands, the exceptional
    number of endemics far exceeds those ones in areas as Corcovado National Park or La Selva.
    Hummingbirds, flycatchers, vireos, trogons, wrens, are some the families that had been isolated for millions of years; creating specialization of species therefore endemics. Among some of the most
    beautiful birds are the Resplendent Quetzal and perhaps the only place in which it can be found all year long. Giant oaks, misty mornings and crispy air are among many of the wonderful things that make this destination a favorite among us….

    • Drive after breakfast into the mountains of Talamanca at San Gerardo de Dota.
    • Exploring gardens, forests, river edges. Wild bird photography. Carry your super telephoto lens and tripod. Today we will let mother nature show us the way. These recently opened trails show an incredible number of bird life found nowhere at Bosque de Paz, although the distance between them is only a few miles the drop on altitude changes nearly 60% the species. Many of them occur in small patches of jungle, some walking around the property could give us amazing results.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Visit to Batsu’s bird garden.
    • Waterfall and landscape photography silky effect. After a few hours with capturing those fast fliers we will hike to the base of one of the magnificent waterfalls of the area to practice the famous motion blur of silk effect on water. Bring your ND filter -5 or 10 stops
    • Dinner at 18:30 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Editing tools Camera Raw, Capture One, DXOLab3, Topaz and questions (19:30 – 21:30) video beam presentation
    • We will concentrate it on capturing hummingbirds in the air. Many hotels had for a long time built very attractive gardens fill with hummers fighting for the best perches and nectars.
    • There are at least a dozen of Endemic species that are a challenge to capture yet we seem to be quite successful during our tours Since it is Resplendent Quetzal heaven, we would also take half a day to photograph one of the most gorgeous living creatures.

     

    Carara:

    Carara National Park is by far one the best birding places all year long in Costa Rica and perhaps in all of Central America. Within the national park protects the second largest population of Scarlet Macaws, easy access to all trails, mangrove swamps, pasture fields and forest edges. There are very few places in the country where more than hundred species can be found in one trail. Meandrica’s trail it has become an icon for quality birding, tinamous, trogons, wrens, antpittas, manakins, cotingas, bellbirds, antshrikes are among the most common birds in the forest. The nearby forested edges give as a good number of open field birds, jays, blackbirds, greenlets, rails, ground doves, motmots, hawks, parakeets, owls are among many of the avifauna found in these habitats. The mangroves at Rio Grande de Tarcoles are very rewarding on a good day along the river edges 5 species of kingfishers can be spotted, more than a couple dozens of shorebirds, herons, egrets are also easy to find but the most remarkable species are the ones with a restricted range or to the mangroves such as vireos, warblers, cuckoos, flycatchers, the elusive Rufous necked woodrail and the only true Costa Rican endemic Mangrove Hummingbird.

    • Drive after breakfast to the down valley into the heart of the Central Pacific of Costa Rica.
    • Exploring gardens, forests, river edges. Wild bird photography. Carry your super telephoto lens and tripod. Today we will let mother nature show us the way. There are so many different locations to explore during this destination. Agricultural fields, forest patches, forest edges, primary, secondary & mangrove forests.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Visit to Carara National Park
    • Mangrove Boat tour by Mangrove Birding Journeys
    • Dinner at 18:30 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Editing tools CameraRaw, Capture One, DXOLab3, Topaz and
      questions (19:30 – 21:30) video beam presentation

     

    La Selva Biological Station: 

    Sarapiqui is a real rainforest experience with vast areas to cover, primary rainforest, active and no active pasture fields, river edges, canopy bridges, thick understory, etc. Cotingas, macaws, oropendolas, guans, eagles, toucans are some of the many species to find. At La Selva Biological Station daily birds to spot are Green Ibis, Sunbittern, Jacamars, Tanagers, Orioles,Woodpeckers, Tityras, etc. Botanical gardens nearby offer great opportunities to spot a dozen or more species of hummingbirds and its adjacent forest always bring good surprises as Little Tinamou, Lattice tailed Trogon, Cinnamon Woodpecker, and much more. The Braulio Carrillo National Park is a real rainforest experience with the largest mixed flocks ever including favorites such as Sharpbills and Umbrellabirds.

    • Drive after breakfast into the heart of the most well studied rainforest on earth.
    • Exploring gardens, forests, river edges. Wild bird photography. Carry your super telephoto lens and tripod. Today we will let mother nature show us the way. There are so many different locations to explore during this destination. Agricultural fields, forest patches, forests edges, primary, secondary rainforest
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Afternoons at the lodge premises

    Last day of the journey: International flight dates, times, pick up & drop off based on your flight schedule

    Early rising: In some locations we will be leaving before sunrise. In order to capture certain moments, situations or specific targets.

    Photographing locations: All locations require tons of time sitting and waiting since many of the birds seek after would be nesting.

    Mastering bird photography: There are many tricks to ensure quality and momentum. We will explore them all as long as nature lets us.

    Playing with black and white: Many times we let colours run our bird photography nonetheless experimenting with shades, shadows, contrasts of the enchanting universe of blank & white can give you new ways to see our beloved feathery friends.

    Times: Very crucial to make the most out of your holidays; we have selected all lodging, forests, or locations with a maximum distance/hours of driving per day. Generally speaking traveling time would be during the off hours or between 10 am – 1 pm.

    Difficulty Level: If you are able to manage 2-3 Km on a daily basis with intervals you should be fine. Just a friendly reminder we specialize on physically limited tours for those who would share our passion for nature and bird photography. Those expeditions are tailor made and we would pick the itineraries based on a deep conversation with those interested.

    How much photography skill do I need to have to enter the trip? Intermediate to Advance

    Overview

    Number of nights: 7 nights

    Number of nights by destination: SJ (1), Monteverde (3), Carara (3)

    General Info: 7 nights exploring 2 amazing destinations from the misty cloud forest of Monteverde to the lush rainforest of Carara National Park. Both locations are world known for their efforts in conservation of two major birds, Resplendent Quetzal & Scarlet Macaws. Each of their mind blowing beauty are perfect representatives of Costa Rican avifauna. Capture extraordinary moments of those gorgeous bird species and hundreds of others more including a couple of dozens of endemics.

    Number of participants: Minimum 2, 6 Maximum (upon request 8)

    Dates/Months: February to July

    Destination description:

    Arrival in Costa Rica. Pick up by CRBJ staff, transfer to San Jose’s overnight hotel. Briefing about the tour. Dinner not included.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: FIRST DAY’S HOTEL IT WOULD BE BASED ON INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT SCHEDULES

    Daily Itinerary by destination:

    Monteverde:

    Monteverde Cloud Forest nestled in the Tilaran’ volcanic range and facing the dry forest of the Nicoya’s Peninsula, this world known paradise has been an icon for conservationists for decades. Blasted by the Caribbean trade winds at the top of its hills the evergreen forest of Monteverde/Santa Elena holds the one of the most astonishing biodiversity anywhere on earth due its geographical position. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded here and its adjacent preserves on the 3 major ecosystems. Home of the all mighty Resplendent Quetzal, and the weird looking Three wattled Bellbird with its unique call. Dozens of kilometers of trails to explore. Dripping wet forest with more than 400 species of orchids and gentile blown clouds enchants everyone’s eyes. There are very few places on earth so breathtaking at first glance.

    • Drive after breakfast to Tilaran’s Mountain Range
    • Exploring gardens, forests, river edges. Wild bird photography. Carry your super telephoto lens and tripod. Today we will let mother nature show us the way.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00) Dinner (6:30 pm)
    • Visit to Monteverde’s Hummingbird garden. Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, Curicancha Forest & Ecological Sanctuary.
    • Waterfall and landscape photography silky effect. After a few hours with capturing those fast fliers we will hike to the base of one of the magnificent waterfalls of the area to practice the famous motion blur of silk effect on water. Bring your ND filter -5 or 10 stops
    • Dinner at 18:30 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Editing tools CameraRaw, Capture One, DXOLab3, Topaz and questions (19:30 – 21:30) video beam presentation

     

    Carara:

    Carara National Park is by far one the best birding places all year long in Costa Rica and perhaps in all of Central America. Within the national park protects the second largest population of Scarlet Macaws, easy access to all trails, mangrove swamps, pasture fields and forest edges. There are very few places in the country where more than hundred species can be found in one trail. Meandrica’s trail it has become an icon for quality birding, tinamous, trogons, wrens, antpittas, manakins, cotingas, bellbirds, antshrikes are among the most common birds in the forest. The nearby forested edges give as a good number of open field birds, jays, blackbirds, greenlets, rails, ground doves, motmots, hawks, parakeets, owls are among many of the avifauna found in these habitats. The mangroves at Rio Grande de Tarcoles are very rewarding on a good day along the river edges 5 species of kingfishers can be spotted, more than a couple dozens of shorebirds, herons, egrets are also easy to find but the most remarkable species are the ones with a restricted range or to the mangroves such as vireos, warblers, cuckoos, flycatchers, the elusive Rufous necked woodrail and the only true Costa Rican endemic Mangrove Hummingbird.

    • Drive after breakfast to the down valley into the heart of the Central Pacific of Costa Rica.
    • Exploring gardens, forests, river edges. Wild bird photography. Carry your super telephoto lens and tripod. Today we will let mother nature show us the way. There are so many different locations to explore during this destination. Agricultural fields, forest patches, forests edges, primary, secondary & mangrove forests.
    • Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
    • Visit to Carara National Park
    • Mangrove Boat tour by Mangrove Birding Journeys
    • Dinner at 18:30 (a la carte, options for vegetarians available)
    • Photography workshop Subject: Editing tools Camera Raw, Capture One, DXOLab3, Topaz and questions (19:30 – 21:30) video beam presentation

    Last day of the journey: International flight dates, times, pick up & drop off based on your flight schedule

    Early rising: In some locations we will be leaving before sunrise. In order to capture certain moments, situations or specific targets.

    Photographing locations: All locations require tons of time sitting and waiting since many of the birds seek after would be nesting.

    Mastering bird photography: There are many tricks to ensure quality and momentum. We will explore them all as long as nature lets us.

    Playing with black and white: Many times we let colours run our bird photography nonetheless experimenting with shades, shadows, contrasts of the enchanting universe of blank & white can give you new ways to see our beloved feathery friends.

    Times: Very crucial to make the most out of your holidays; we have selected all lodging, forests, or locations with a maximum distance/hours of driving per day. Generally speaking traveling time would be during the off hours or between 10 am – 1 pm.

    Difficulty Level: If you are able to manage 2-3 Km on a daily basis with intervals you should be fine. Just a friendly reminder we specialize on physically limited tours for those who would share our passion for nature and bird photography. Those expeditions are tailor made and we would pick the itineraries based on a deep conversation with those interested.

    How much photography skill do I need to have to enter the trip? Beginner to Intermediate

    Mastering bird photography on flight:
    We will concentrate it on capturing hummingbirds in the air. Many hotels had for a long time built very attractive gardens fill with hummers fighting for the best perches and nectars.
    Apart from hummingbirds at Tarcoles River boat tour the number of birds fishing, catching or simply gliding are fabulous.
    Using flash or not:
    We would be teaching the use of natural light rather than multiflash control as those use to capture hummingbirds with fake backgrounds. Nonetheless we will also take some time to explain the uses of flash on bird photography.
    What to bring list:
    • Tennis shoes with good traction or hiking shoes with ankle support (waterproof)

    • Comfortable sandals or flip flops

    • Swimming wear

    • Neutral color clothing for camouflage

    • Several cool long sleeve shirts and short sleeve shirts

    • Hat for sun protection (breathable)

    • 2-3 pairs of light weight long pants for rain forest hikes

    • Lightweight rain jacket (neutral color only)

    • Casual beach clothing (t-shirts, shorts, sun dresses)

    • Long pants and a fast drying sweater for the city/mountains (temp. are cooler can reach 3.5 degree celsius)

    • Lightweight gloves for cooler areas

    • Wellingtons/rubber boots can be bought in Costa Rica for $15 usd

    Gear:
    • Small hiking backpack for day trips

    • Small first aid kit

    • Binoculars

    • Camera (optional)

    • Sunglasses

    • Sunblock and Bug Spray

    • Several pencils

    • Daily journal

    • A passport purse (to carry money, credit cards, etc... wear it close to your body)

    • Any needed medications, anti-diarrhea, or any prescriptions

    • Torch/Flashlight

    Money, credit cards, identification:
    • Travelers checks (American Express or Visa) (can exchange some of them for Colones at the the local banks or hotel front desk)

    • About $50-200 in cash (not tears in bills, small bills are better)

    • Visa credit card widely accepted in Costa Rica, except rural towns (keep phone number of credit card company separate.)

    • Passport

    • Photocopies of passports and driver’s license (kept in a separate place)

    • Use a credit card to call US from your hotel room or local pone

    • You can also purchase a phone card here for international calls ($9 for 12 minutes to US)