Costa Rica Bird Photography Tour

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Costa Rica bird photography tour

‘Costa Rica Bird Photography Tour’  Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive San Jose – Welcome to Costa Rica

Your guide will meet you at the SJO Airport and drive with you to the town of Heredia, just outside San Jose, to the lovely Hotel Bougainvillea. Your drive is just 20 minutes, then you arrive at your quaint hotel, famous for its lush tropical gardens, and you Costa Rica bird photography tour can start!

After check-in, enjoy a stroll through the gardens. The Hotel Bougainvillea is a great spot to see several species of birds that can be hard in other parts of the country. Those species include the Prevost’s Ground-Sparrow, the White-eared Ground-Sparrow, and the White Naped Brush-Finch. The lush, beautiful setting is the perfect backdrop for some spectacular pictures.
Hotel: Hotel Bougainvillea

Costa Rica Bird Photography Tour - Day 1

Day 2: Caribbean Foothills – Arenal Volcano region

Enjoy an early morning breakfast, and depart for Arenal. Enjoy your stop at the La Tigre Hummingbird gardens. Your guide will help you spot a wide variety of hummingbirds as well as Tanagers, bananaquits, and more. Top Hummingbird Species: White Bellied Mountain Gem, Violet Sabrewing, Green Hermit, Purple-throated Mountain Gem, Green-crowned Brilliant, Violet-Crowned Woodnymph.

After hotel check-in, meet your guide for an afternoon of birdwatching and photography in the gardens and on the grounds of the lodge. The feeders and gardens are teeming with Tanagers, Honeycreepers, Parrots, Flycatchers, and Hummingbirds.
Hotel: Arenal Observatory Lodge

Costa Rica Bird Photography Tour: Day 2: Caribbean Foothills


Day 3: Caribbean Foothills – Bogarin Gardens

This morning you will enjoy a great day of photographing birds on the grounds and trail at the Observatory Lodge. This area is alive with so many different species of birds, you will need a quick eye to spot them all. There are more than 500 species recorded in this area. The diverse landscape includes primary and secondary forest, pastureland and even hardened lava flows. From the gardens, you will continue into the jungle trails looking for Antbirds, Tinamous, Doves, and Quails.

This afternoon you make an excursion to the Bogarin Gardens. Bogarin is an absolute must visit for ANY birder wearing binocs or carrying a camera. Thanks to the dedication, perseverance, and hard work of local naturalist Geovanni Bogarin, you can walk a good, easy trail through second growth and wet areas that host the most reliable location for a wide variety of bird species. Some of the top species include Uniform Crakes, Rufous-tailed Jacamars, Rufous-winged Woodpecker, Barred Antshrike, Long-billed Gnatwren, Black-crested Coquette, Golden-winged Warbler and Mourning Warblers.
You will have time for the trails and feeders, to get your perfect shots.
Hotel: Arenal Observatory Lodge

Costa Rica Birding Photo Tour - Day 2 - Bogarin Gardens


Day 4: Boca Tapada – King Vultures

Today after breakfast you will travel with your guide to the small town of Boca Tapada and the rustic Laguna del Lagarto Lodge. Laguna del Lagarto Lodge, at Boca Tapada, San Carlos, Costa Rica, offers genuine contact with nature. Exuberant trails in the tropical rainforest allow for direct access to nature. 150 species of trees, monkeys, caimans, coatis, red frogs and the symphony of 350 species of birds – the most wanted dream of bird watchers and photographers – are all part of this enchanting experience. Laguna del Lagarto Lodge comprises 500 protected hectares that can be toured in different ways, by foot, by horse or by boat, and each trip will leave you with a great impression.

The Lodge has specially located platforms to take pictures of birds at a strategic distance of no more than four meters. For photographers and lovers of nature, Laguna del Lagarto is a must for any visit to Costa Rica.

This afternoon enjoy a special session, on a specially designed photography platform to photograph the elusive King Vulture.

Laguna del Lagarto Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Laguna del Lagarto Lodge - Birding Photo Tour in Costa Rica, Day 4


Day 5: Boca Tapada – Private gardens & hummingbirds

Remote areas of undisturbed, dense forests are not always the best places to photograph birds. Agricultural areas, gardens with fruits, edge-habitats often attract many more species, and the situation is no different in Costa Rica. To take advantage of the incredible array of bird species in the Caribbean lowlands, we will visit the hide in the backyard of a local inhabitant of Santa Rita, a nearby village. Adolfo’s Gardens is superb. This hide has very quickly become one of our most popular locations for bird photographers and you’ll spend the morning getting your best shots.
This afternoon you WIll visit the special hummingbird garden at the Laguna del Lagarto Lodge to photograph a wide variety of hummingbird species.
Laguna del Lagarto Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Costa Rica Bird Photography tour - Laguna del Lagarto Lodge, Day 5

Day 6: Caribbean Lowlands – Alvaro’s Macaws

On the way to Sarapiqui you’ll make a very special stop at Alvaro’s farm. Several years ago a farmer, Alvaro, living in a remote part of Sarapiqui was given an injured Macaw. He nursed it back to health and made it known that he would care for more injured Macaws if they ever became available. After a while, one by one, he was given four more. All the birds made a full recovery and they have since bred and there are now around twenty Macaws at the farm. They all fly freely and rarely move far from the farmhouse. There are both the Scarlet Macaws and the Great Green Macaws here. The birds have really bonded with this special farmer and will follow him from tree to tree for a few peanuts. This means that there is a pre-determined flight-path, so photographers know exactly where to stand to capture the birds in flight. As well as photographing the Macaws in flight, there are other opportunities to get amazing perched shots of these birds from very close distances. You will photograph them both at eye level and higher up in the trees.
After Alvaro’s you will continue on to your hotel.
Tirimbina Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8 of Costa Rica Birding Photo Tour: Caribbean Lowlands

Day 7: Caribbean Lowlands – Cope’s Garden

Enjoy the early morning in the gardens and trails of Tirimbina, then after breakfast visit a local birding and photography site, Cope’s Gardens. Cope’s garden, owned by local birder and artist, Jose Albert Perez is an amazing retreat for birders and photographers.

The finca has a small but very productive pond and feeder set up. Common visitors include various tanagers, toucans, Pale-vented Pigeon, Hermits, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, and many other hummingbirds. The vocalizations of Slate-colored Grosbeak and Striped Cuckoo from nearby in the garden will remind you of the high avian potential in the area. Other visitors to Cope’s garden include the Pygmy Kingfisher and the Russet-naped Wood-Rail. Cope is often familiar with the roosting site of several owl species, including the Crested Owl. You’ll have time for photographing owls, if there are some in the area.

Other species known to the gardens and surrounding areas: White-ringed Flycatcher, Purple-throated Fruit Crows, Semi Plumbeous Hawks, Brown-hooded Parrots, and Thicket Antpittas.

Tirimbina Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

 Day 9 of Costa Rica Bird Photo Tour: Caribbean Lowlands

Day 8: Turrialba – Caribbean Foothills

Rancho Naturalista, is a lush jungle paradise, surrounded by magnificent cloud and rainforests, in the middle of Costa Rica. In this Lodge, you will discover great natural beauty, an abundance of crystal waters and the richness of some extraordinary forests where the privacy and the personalized service form a unique and unrepeatable experience.

Live the experience of being able to breathe the purest of mountain air, while resting or walking through the jungle, without any environmental pollution and in complete peace and tranquility. This small rustic Lodge is made up of 12 very spacious rooms, pleasantly decorated with Costa Rican handicrafts,  providing a comfortable and cozy atmosphere. Each room has two double beds, a private bathroom with hot water and ample balconies to admire the magnificent landscape of our mountains.

Spend the afternoon exploring the gardens, feeders, and grounds of the lodge.

Keep your eyes peeled for some of the areas most wanted species: Immaculate Antbird, Thicket Tinamou, Purple-crowned Fairy Hummingbird, White Hawks and much more

Rancho Naturalista / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 9: Rancho Naturalista – Birding the Gardens and Trails

Today you’ll spend the day exploring the reserve and surrounding area at Rancho Naturalista. Guests will enjoy the observation balcony, the gardens, the beautiful forest trails and even have a chance to visit the hummingbird pools, where hummingbirds come in the afternoon to bathe. This area is fantastic for a wide variety of bird species.

Rancho Naturalista / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Bird Photography Tour in Costa Rica, Day 9: Rancho Naturalista

Day 10: San Gerardo de Dota – Paramo

On day 10 of your Costa Rica bird photography tour, you depart the steamy Caribbean for the cool Talamanca Mountains. You’ll make a stop at the Cinchona feeders for your first chance to photograph many highland species. Cinchona is a fantastic place to visit feeders and have the opportunity to photograph Barbets, Tanagers, Hummingbirds, and Toucanets. The observation deck puts you at eye level with a wide array of feeders. Enjoy a hot cup of coffee, relax and watch for your favorite species.

Quetzal Paradise Lodge features extensive gardens, rustic, wooden bungalows and a fantastic terrace with views of the cloud forest. It is located just 3 km from Los Quetzales National Park.

The bungalows offer basic but comfortable furnishings, coffee maker, wardrobe and a private bathroom with shower.
The on-site restaurant offers panoramic views of the forest, valley and surrounding mountains. The property sits amidst 12 kilometers of trails, open for use for all guests.

This afternoon we’ll arrange for the feeders to be well stocked so you can set up with your cameras to get the best shots of all the mountain species.
Hotel Quetzal Paradise Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

 San Gerardo de Dota| Hotel Quetzal Paradise Lodge, Day 10 of Costa Rica Bird Photo Tour

Day 11: San Gerardo de Dota – Quetzal Country

Today we will visit several highland areas to give everyone the best chance to photograph some of the most wanted bird species. Based on weather and time factors, we may visit Tolomuco Lodge, Batsu, or Savegre Lodge. We’ll be focusing on elevations between 1500-2500 meters to give everyone the best chance at capturing the Resplendent Quetzal, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Long-Tailed Silky Flycatcher, and the Flame-throated warbler on film.

We will return to the feeders at Quetzal Paradise Lodge for the late afternoon feeder activity.
Quetzal Paradise Lodge / Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11 of Costa Rica Birding Photo Tour: San Gerardo de Dota| Quetzal Country


Day 12: Return to the SJO Airport for your flight home

Today your Costa Rica bird photography tour comes to an end. You Will return to the San Jose International Airport to check in for your flight home.


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About Costa Rica Focus

Costa Rica Focus is a birding tour company that offers customized Costa Rica birdwatching tours for individuals or groups of people and guided by a knowledgeable birding expert who will help you spot and learn about the beauty of the birds of Costa Rica. Let’s talk about your Costa Rica birding vacation!

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