COSTA RICA: Bird & Wildlife Photography



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From: $3,000 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO)


4 - 8 Participants


5 spaces available


This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of COSTA RICA: Bird & Wildlife Photography

  • 800 plus species of birds
  • The stunning Resplendent Quetzal
  • Over 50 species of hummingbirds
  • Incredible and beautiful habitat diversity


Description of COSTA RICA: Bird & Wildlife Photography

Photography opportunities abound in Costa Rica. The Central American country of Costa Rica has become one of the most popular birding destinations in the Americas thanks to the abundance of birds and other wildlife. So of course, photography of the birds and wildlife must also be great!

Thanks to Costa Rica’s incredible habitat diversity, and its location as part of the land-bridge between North and South America, it is home to over 800 species of birds that have been recorded within Costa Rica’s borders.

We will visit two diverse habitats… in the mountains between 7000-10000 feet we hope to find Bay-headed Tanager, Rufous Motmot, Snowcap, Black-crested Coquet, Fiery-throated Hummingbird and, of course, the revered Resplendent Quetzal. In the lower elevations we find a plethora of toucans, aracaris, parrots, tanagers and yes, more hummingbirds!


Length of Tour


Brief Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival / Hotel Bougainvillea

Days 2 through 4 – Savegre Mountain Lodge

Days 5 through 7 – Caribbean Foothills

Day 8 – Return to Hotel Bougainvillea

Day 9 – Flights Home


Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival in San Jose

The tour begins with a welcome dinner and a brief orientation to our trip.

Days 2 through 4 – Central Mountains

Set at 7,200 feet above sea level on a family farm with a clear trout stream running through it, our lodge is surrounded by one of the finest examples of highland pine-oak cloud forest on the planet. The exhilarating ride into the valley is spectacular as the road winds along high cliffs and through the forest!

The surrounding private nature reserve is the best place in the world to see the Resplendent Quetzal—one of the most beautiful birds in the Americas. Other “hot” finds here may include Flame-colored Tanager, Volcano Junco, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, and Flame-throated Warbler.

The lodge offers comfortable rooms—with heaters—as it gets very cool at night at this elevation. The restaurant offers buffet dining that always includes fresh trout and wonderful desserts.

Days 5 through 7 – Caribbean Foothills

The Caribbean side of Costa Rica offers new habitats to explore… full of new species not found higher in the mountains. During our stay here we will visit the world renown La Selva Research Station operated by the Organization for Tropical Studies.

The station offers 1,600 hectares of well-preserved old-growth and recovering wet lowland tropical forest that abuts the Braulio Carrillo National Park. The species richness of La Selva is outstanding, with more than 2,077 species of plants; 125 species of mammals; 470 species of birds; 48 amphibian species and 87 species of reptiles.

We will also visit several private locations with both fruit and hummingbird feeders for unparalleled photo opportunities.

Day 8 – San Jose

Today’s drive will offer more spectacular views and some good birding stops as we return to San Jose for a good night’s sleep before returning to the USA.

Day 9 – Return to USA

Departure to USA.


Cost is $3,000 per person, based upon double occupancy, from San Jose, Costa Rica (Airport code SJO.
This trip ends in San Jose, Costa Rica (Airport code SJO).


Single Supplement

If a single hotel room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $500 will be assessed.

NOTE: For boat-based tours, see pricing options for single cabins. Single cabin cost includes the single hotel cost above.


Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.


Deposit Requirements

A $500 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

Hotel Bougainvillea

Hotel Bougainvillea lies 45 minutes north of San Jose in the “suburb” of Heredia. A typical hotel large hotel, the Bougainvillea offers all the expected amenities. However, the hotel is well known for its lush gardens which are well kept and home to many birds! This stop makes a great first and/or last night for any birding trip.


Savegre Mountain Lodge

Savegre Mountain Lodge sits at 7200 feet on the side of Cerro de la Muerto, surrounded by cloud forest. The lodge offers comfortable rooms with heaters, which are needed at this elevation! From the dining area, hummingbirds can be seen taking advantage of the many feeders around the lodge. Keep a rain jacket handy however, as you are in the clouds!


Rancho Naturalista

Rancho Naturalista lies in the Caribbean foothills in the rain shadow. Its lush forest offers great birding opportunities along its many muddy trails. The deck of the main house has witnessed over 260 bird species.

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

Mostly easy trails, though often muddy. Some higher elevation walking (7000ft-10,000ft). Don’t worry, we move slow to see more!

Gear for Birding & Wildlife Viewing

• Good quality binoculars
• Spotting scopes are not typically needed as we will be photographing much of the time, unless you plan to do some digiscoping.

Photography Gear Recommendations

The best camera is the one you have with you! That said, we will help you get great photos no matter what camera you use.

This Photo Workshop is geared toward those using DSLR or Mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses, here is what we recommend that you bring:

• Bring at least 2 camera bodies – to reduce changing lenses and just in case of accidental damage to one

Recommended Lenses for Birds & Wildside

• 100-400mm (or equivalent) for birds in flight
• 500mm lens or longer for birds and wildlife

Recommended Lenses for Landscape Opportunities

• 24-105mm (or equivalent) for landscape and general purpose
• In addition you may also want to have an ultra-wide lens equivalent to about 16-35mm which may be used for fun landscapes and night sky photography.

Recommended Lenses for Macro (Bugs, Frogs, etc.)

• 100mm Macro is fine for general purpose macro photography
• 150mm Macro is best for small, quick moving subjects like frogs

Filters (Mainly for Landscape Photography)

• Polarizing Filter for removing reflections (screw in for wide-angle lenses)
• Filter Holder for 4×6″ (or similar) filters
• 2-stop Neutral Density Filter
• 8-stop (or more) Neutral Density Filter
• 2-stop Hard and/or Soft Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Other Accessories

• Tripod for long exposures, big lenses and steady video
• Flash for low light, fill light and stop action
• Better Beamer or MagMod flash extender
• Rain cover for camera
• Weather resistant Camera Bag (Backpack style is best)
• Batteries and chargers
• Lots of memory cards!
• Laptop or other downloading device

Birds of Costa RicaRecommended Field Guide:

The Birds of Costa Rica

(2007, Cornell University Press)

By – Richard Garrigues

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

Location Map