An 11-day travelling photographic tour to discover Costa Rica’s incredible biodiversity.
2 April 2023 - 12 April 2023| €4800
A 51,100 km2 land bridge that links North and South America, surrounded on one side by the Pacific Ocean and on the other by the Caribbean Sea. A land bridge that represents only 0.03% of the Earth’s surface, but which contains almost 6% of the world’s biodiversity. It has more than 200 species of mammals, almost 850 species of birds (10% of the world’s known species), 183 species of amphibians, 258 species of reptiles, 1522 species of fish, 34,000 species of insects and 10,000 species of plants (including the largest number of orchids in the world).
Crossing Costa Rica from north to south, one realises how abruptly the landscape and climate change. The influence of the long east and west coasts, the presence of mountain ranges, volcanoes, astonishing waterfalls and immense tropical forests mean that Costa Rica is home to no fewer than 12 different microclimates, allowing for such a high and surprising biodiversity.
Surrounded by the dreamlike atmosphere of a tropical forest, you experience surreal sounds, smells, and colours. Birdsong, the lush green of the forest, the rapid beating of a hummingbird’s wings as it darts by a few metres away.
As you walk, you come across the eyes of a Crested Owl resting among the leaves. A hummingbird, right there, further down, in its breeding nest. A few steps and another toucan, a pair of colourful Macaws circling in the sky.
All this is incredible, but, in reality, it is nothing compared to what this country, Costa Rica, is home to. A land that has 6% of the world’s biodiversity and 10% of the world’s bird species!
This will be a discovery tour of this incredible country. During our 11 days in Costa Rica, we will travel in search of the pivotal species of this territory such as toucans, hummingbirds, owls, parrots, and the very rare Resplendent Quetzal.
What makes this trip incredible is undoubtedly its potential: it is not difficult, in 10 days, to come across more than 200 species of birds, reptiles, amphibians and even a few mammals, including primates, sloths, and coati.
This is an itinerant tour that will cover all the different habitat ranges of Costa Rica. Starting from the highlands, characterised by incredible stretches of forest covering the mountains up to 3000 metres above sea level, we will focus on the most characteristic species of these areas, and which are only found at these altitudes.
Here the photo sessions will focus on different locations, including areas where you may find yourself surrounded by hummingbirds, or areas inhabited by the elusive Resplendent Quetzal. We will always be accompanied by guides with decades of experience exclusively with this species.
After the first part of the tour in the Highlands we will move to the Lowlands, characterised by forests located a few dozen metres above sea level. Here we will focus on all the other animal species present in Costa Rica, visiting different locations dedicated to toucans, woodpeckers, parrots, and many other species. We may even spot the very rare King Volture and Black Volture, using specific hides when necessary.
Here we will also have the opportunity to explore the forest for hikes, in search of special species such as Honduran white bats, owls, leaf-cutter ants, Red-capped Manakin, with the possibility of also observing some mammal species such as sloths and primates.
During the tour, each photo session will be carried out with the highest attention to location, light and background. In addition to this, we will have some special photo sessions planned. These include multiflash sessions to freeze incredible moments of hummingbirds in flight, and macro sessions where, thanks to expert guides, we may have the opportunity to photograph particular species of amphibians and reptiles such as the Eyelash viper, the Red-eyed treefrog, pygmy Dendrobate (blue-jeans frog) and glass frogs.
It is impossible to concentrate all the information, species and potential of this tour in a few lines. Each excursion or activity has its own surprises and special sightings. An unbelievable natural experience.
Recommended camera equipment:
A telephoto lens of 300mm or more will be undoubtedly essential for photographing the variety of birdlife on this tour. In some cases, for smaller species, even a telephoto lens of around 600mm effective may be convenient if you are looking for particularly close-up portraits.
Every element within the photo locations will be taken into account in order to achieve maximum photographic output with any lens or equipment you have at your disposal.
We strongly recommend a tripod for all photo sessions and a macro lens for amphibian and reptile photo sessions (if you do not have this lens, the organisers will provide their own kit for photographers who do not possess it).
More detailed information will be provided at the time of registration.
Day by day travel programme:
Arrival at Juan Santamaria airport in San José and private transfer to the hotel (about 30 min away), where we will spend the first night. The hotel is centrally located, so you will be able to explore the streets of the city while waiting for your transfer the following morning.
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the first stop of our trip in the Talamanca Highlands. Here we will devote the entire morning to Hummingbirds. It will be possible to observe and photograph different species such as the Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Lesser Violetear, Talamanca Hummingbird, Volcano Hummingbird & White-throated Mountain-gem. The photo sessions will be carried out both in natural light conditions and with the use of a multi-flash set for the exclusive use of our group, through which it will be possible to freeze unique moments during the rapid flight of these small birds.
Lunch a few metres from the colourful hummingbirds and departure for the second activity of the day, dedicated to the search for one of Costa Rica’s most incredible birds: the Resplendent Quetzal. We will spend the whole day looking for and waiting for this very rare bird until sunset.
Transfer and accommodation in the first lodge where we will spend two nights, dinner with typical products and overnight stay.
Waking up at 5 am, packed breakfast and departure for the second session dedicated to the Resplendent Quetzal. We will dedicate here the best hours of light to look for and photograph this beautiful bird.
Return to the hotel for a second breakfast and rest in preparation for the afternoon photo session. Here Michele and Sharon will be available for any needs and to observe the morning’s shots.
In the afternoon we will drive to a new location, where it will be possible to observe and photograph different species of Hummingbirds, the Flame-colored Tanager, Silver-throated Tanager, Yellow-thighed Brush-Finch, Woodpeckers, Northern Emerald Toucanet and many other species.
Return to the lodge in the evening, dinner with typical products and overnight stay.
Breakfast, check-out and move on to the third destination of our trip, the Caribbean Lowlands.
On the way, we make a stop halfway and spend the rest of the morning photographing different species of birds. Here you can photograph species such as the Red-headed & Prong-billed Barbets, Crimson Collared Tanager, Common Chlorospingus, Violet Sabrewing, the endemic Coppery-headed Emerald (an endemic species) and many other species.
In the early afternoon, after the photo session, we continue our journey to the new lodge.
Arrival and accommodation in the new lodge. Here, Michele and Sharon will show you the images taken in the previous days and give you a complete post-production lesson. We will cover all the key concepts applied to wildlife photography, such as noise reduction, contrast management, colour management, saving for web/print and much more.
Dinner with typical products and overnight stay.
Breakfast and transfer to a new location on a private land where we will have exclusive access to photograph new species in a new feeder. Here it will be possible to photograph different species of birds such as Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Golden-hooded Tanager, Red-legged & Green Honeycreepers and many other species. In this location we will have the opportunity to carry out a first session of macrophotography, dedicated to amphibians and reptiles.
Short drive to the forest where we will fully immerse ourselves in nature. We’ll walk through the tropical forest in search of nocturnal birds of prey (such as Spectacled Owls and Crested Owls), Honduran White Bats and any other species we might encounter. It will be a magical experience, completely wild, where we will have the opportunity to photograph and observe unique species.
Return to the lodge in the evening, dinner with typical products and overnight stay.
Breakfast, check-out, and departure to the next location.
Arrival and accommodation in your rooms.
We will spend the rest of the day here. The lodge has an incredible feeder surrounded by a magical landscape where it will be possible to photograph Yellow -throated & Keel-billed Toucans, Collared Aracari, Montezuma Oropendola, Brown-hooded Parrots, Red-legged, Green & Shining Honeycreepers, Black-cheeked Woodpeckers, Chestnut-colored Woodpecker and many other species of avifauna. It will not be impossible to observe some mammal species such as coati.
At the end of the photo session, a few metres away, we can relax and enjoy our dinner with typical products.
Wake up before dawn and photo session dedicated to Yellow -throated & Keel-billed Toucans, Collared Aracari, Montezuma Oropendola, Brown-hooded Parrots, Red-legged, Green & Shining Honeycreepers, Black-cheeked Woodpeckers, Chestnut-colored Woodpecker and many other species of avifauna with the first light of day.
Breakfast and transfer to a new location for a hide session focused to the rare King Volture, Black Volture, Crested Caracara and other species.
Return to the lodge for lunch.
Here, just a few metres from our rooms, we will be totally free to spend the rest of the day in total relax, spending as much time as we like shooting at the feeder or exploring the area around our lodge, where we also find some ponds full of caimans!
Dinner with typical products and overnight stay.
Breakfast and check-out for the drive to the last stop of our tour, the Cano Negro wetland area. For those who want to make the most of every minute of this trip, Sharon and Michele will be available for a final photo session at the feeder at first light, to improve their photos from the previous days. (Before breakfast)
Arrival at the new location where, in the incredible habitat of this area, we will make a boat trip. Here it will be possible to photograph an incredible variety of biodiversity. Some of the species that can be observed are Bare-throated Tiger-heron, Green Heron, Northern Jacana, Crested & Yellow-headed Caracara and many other species, including the elusive Nicaraguan Seed Finch!
Return to the lodge, relax, dinner with typical products and overnight stay.
Wake up, breakfast and departure for a new photo session. During this day we will carry out two photo sessions from the boat, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. You will be able to observe and photograph 6 species of Kingfisher, includeng: Belted, Ringed, Amazon, Green, Green-and-Rufous, and American Pygmy Kingfisher. In addition, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Wood Stork, Anhinga, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, and Southern Lapwing are just some of the species that will be spotted during this day.
The photo opportunities will be various, so we recommend you to bring spare batteries and memory cards!
Breakfast and final photo session at the Cano Negro wetlands with a boat trip to optimise the possibility of photographing any additional species and improve the previous days’ shots.
Return to the lodge, check-out, and departure for San José where we will spend the last night of this trip.
Arrival in San José and check-in at the hotel, dinner, and overnight stay.
Breakfast at the hotel (depending on the flight schedule) and then on to the airport, where, at the end of this incredible experience together, we will say goodbye before the departure of our own flights.
How to apply:
An advance payment and personal information will be required for registration.
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Included/not included in the price:
All nights in a double room (10 nights)
All private ground transfers
Exclusive use of photo locations
Assistance of two professional photographers throughout the tour
All meals (11 days)
Specialist nature guides
Flight to and from Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José
Tips and other extra expenses of a personal nature
Passionate about nature , he travels in search of the perfect shot, exploring unspoiled areas around the world . Through his camera he tries to share moments and emotions. Michele defines his photography “A search for art in nature”. He works as a professional photographer and offers events in the most interesting and important destinations in Italy and abroad. His images have been used by Discovery, BBC , ENEL and have been published in numerous magazines around the world. “In 2015 he participated in the FIAP Youth World Championship with the Italian team, obtaining 2nd place. Since May 2018 he is ambassador of the GITZO brand. He is currently one of the most followed Italian nature photographers on the web. He has collected collaborations with various brands such as “Canon”, “Gitzo”, “Swarovsky”, “Manfrotto”, “Wacom”, “Eizo”, “BenQ”, “Pluto Trigger”, “Scubla”, “Revolution Race “,” Easy Cover “,” Wise “,” Xp-Pen “, “Deer Hunter”, “Polyver” , “Lenz”, “Lens Coat”