Overview

Day 1: Arrival to Costa Rica - Juan Santamaria's International Airport

Day 2, 3: Tapantí, Orosi

Day 4, 5, 6: Copal, Pejibaye

Day 7, 8, 9: Caribbean

Day 10: Departure - Juan Santamaria's International Airport

 

Daily Itinerary by destination:

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

Day 1. Arrival in Costa Rica. Pick up by CRBJ staff, transfer to San Jose’s overnight hotel. Briefing about the tour. Dinner is not included.

Day 2. Orosi Lodge or similar. Early departure to the National Park, Rio Macho Reserve and surroundings. Consider by many as the most challenging yet rewarding birding destination in Costa Rica, there is no place like Tapanti. We have experience swimming with wild Tapirs, earing roaring Jaguars and found the first and only first Sharpbill nesting. We are convinced that this hidden tropical treasure has lots more to offer to us.

· Breakfasts on the go
· Drive and bird. An easy way to go from point A to point B
· Lunch at 12:00 on the road
· Dinners at 18:30
· Photography workshop Subject: Lowlight and backlit (19:00 – 20:30) video beam presentation

Day 3. Orosi Lodge or similar. Another early departure for more adventure along the pristine forest of the national park.

· Breakfasts on the go
· Drive and bird. An easy way to go from point A to point B
· Lunch at 12:00 on the road
· Dinners at 18:30

Day 4. Copal Lodge. Early bird photography along with the hotel premises before breakfast and departure to the isolated Copal Lodge. A journey to never forget. A place with such an incredible deep green feeling that evokes times before time.

· Lunch at 12:00
· Forest edges exploration and Sunbittern quest
· Dinners at 18:30
· Photography workshop Subject: Motion, stillness and haze.

Day 5. Copal Lodge. Get up before the sunlight shines. We love being up before sunlight hits the virgin rainforest of Copal Lodge. Our targets today are fruit-eating birds such as Euphonias, Honeycreepers, Tanagers, Guans, Toucans and more. Also, we will focus on capturing the sneaky Snowcap a unique-looking hummingbird that flowers around the hotel grounds.

· Breakfast at 9:00 am
· Birding from comfort at the hotel decks.
· Dinners at 18:30

Day 6. Copal Lodge. Once again being up before light is crucial, the weather is always changing in the mountains and we must take advantage of all different possible scenarios. Bird hike at the lodge trails in search of rare birds such as Yellow-eared Toucanet, Lovely Cotinga and White-crowned Manakin.

· Breakfast at 9:00 am
· Birding from comfort at the hotel decks and forest hike
· Dinners at 18:30

Day 7. Kekoldi. Early departure from Copal Lodge into the extraordinary Caribbean lowlands. A 3 ½ hour drive between mountains and coastline. Lunch along the beachside followed by 1-hour hike into the depths of Indigenous Territory. Upon arrival, we will visit the Hawk Tower to see one of the most extraordinary natural events Raptor Migration. It would be common to see perched and flying toucans, parrots, tanagers and many other birds.

· 1 hr hike into the forest day in and out
· Raptor migration observation daily
· Forest hikes before breakfast
· Afternoon photography by the lodge trails
· Lunch at 12:00
· Dinner at 18:30

Day 8. Kekoldi. Get up and go!! Not really far since we are already in the jungles surrounding us. A short walk up and down capturing species such as Red-capped Manakin, Keel-billed Toucans, Rufous Motmot, Woodpeckers and Woodcreepers. When the sun is up the migratory raptors would be rising; a privilege to be in the heart of the action.

· Raptor migration observation daily
· Forest hikes before breakfast
· Afternoon photography by the lodge trails
· Lunch at 12:00
· Dinner at 18:30

Day 9. Almonds and Corals. An early bird walks along the Kekoldi Reserve trails, followed by breakfast and some leisure or more raptor watching. Departure to the coast for more bird photography and visit to The Great Green Macaw Conservation Center.

· 1 hr early hike out of the rainforest
· Visit to Great Green Macaw Center
· Lunch by the beach
· Dinner by the beach

Day 10. Hotel Bouganvillea. Enjoy your last morning bird walk parakeets, toucans, woodpeckers, flycatchers and many more forest edge species inhabit your hotel premises. Departure at 11:00 am back to the city and overnight at Hotel Bouganvillea.

· 1 hr early hike at the hotel’s rainforest
· Departure to San Jose
· Good bye Dinner at Hotel Bougainvillaea

Notes

There are certain places ON EARTH where the natural world is at the tip of your fingers. Such places exist to remind us how beautiful our planet still is. And to motivate us to protect what is left.

Off the beaten path is that inner quest for moments with an unparalleled splendour hard to capture on common destinations. We would like to invite you to explore some of those locations with cameras on your shoulders.

Tapanti National Park: Because of its geographical position, this park is affected by constant cloud formation. The forest is lush, rich in epiphytic plants, mosses, orchids, and a dense understory. This incredibly biodiverse region houses an incredible 360+ species of birds, including Antpittas, Hummingbirds, Finches, Woodquails, Tanagers, Euphonias, Eagles, Trogons, and Owls. With a large main trail bordering both secondary and primary forests, Tapanti is the perfect place for birders who are looking for the challenge of finding those elusive species such as Sharpbills, Monklets, Antpittas, Woodquails, Quaildoves, and perhaps a beautiful soaring eagle. Randall Ortega, our lead guide and owner, an expert in behavioural birdwatching, has spent an incredible amount of time in this park and knows it better than anyone. He is sure to guide you on an incredible journey here! One of the most amazing qualities of this park is its mixed flocks, which can arrive at any moment: a true birding delight!

(1:45 hrs) 60KM
Sea level 1250 meters
Temperature 11-32
Humidity 80% +

Pejibaye Mid-Elevation Rainforest: This is without a doubt the most exciting birding destination in Central America! Lying beneath the Caribbean slope of the Talamanca Mountains near Tapanti National Park, its unique geographical position provides the area with an exuberant forest cover, inter-mountain valleys, river gorges and very little human presence, lending to incredible birding opportunities. The lower forest nearest the lodge is a magnet for Tanagers, Orioles, Shrike Vireos, Oropendulas, Toucans and Hummingbirds. Its understory of even vegetation is fantastic for Manakins, Spinetails, Finches, Wrens, Sparrows and even Tinamous. In a single mixed flock over 40 species can be found, including Songwrens, Anthrushes, and Antpittas. Meanwhile, look up into the canopy and you will find Grosbeaks, Woodcreepers, Woodpeckers, Flycatchers, Grosbeaks, and up to 17 species of Tanagers. Perhaps you will even see the rare Yellow-eared Toucanets gilding from branch to branch! Pejibaye’s Rainforest is the best place to find Snowcaps anywhere, and the unrivalled privacy of this lodge, along with excellent hotel staff, make this location a birdwatching delight.

(1:45 hrs) 60KM
Sea level 100 meters
Temperature 17-32
Humidity 80% +

Kekoldi Indian Reserve: Away from mainstream tourism and focus on scientific approaches. Kekoldi is the destination for hawk watch in Central America. More than 300 million birds cross Costa Rican skies from the months of September to November majorly. In a single day well over a million raptors can be sighted in thermals soaring the blue skies over the Caribbean Sea near Puerto Viejo Limon. 36 thousand hectares of rainforest is waiting for you. The vastness of the forest, plus the serenity of the place is enchanting. The Bribri people are over-friendly, they love sharing their language in a very home-style environment. Birds, sloths, big cats, and poison dart frogs are some of the most common wildlife within steps of your rooms

(3:42 hrs) 173 KM
Sea level 150 meters
Temperature 25-36
Humidity 80% +

 

General info: 

A journey to some of our favourite hiding places in Costa Rica, the evergreen vegetation, the low visitation from mainstream tourism and the unpredictability of the forests convinced us that this photography tour can lead to those images we all love to rave about it. Low pace, quality of moments and the secluded areas in which we will be staying are the ultimate bird photo adventure.

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 storytelling would not be as rich as it 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, and 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, travelling 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 in 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?

Intermedia, Advance

Number of nights by destination: SJ (1), Tapanti (2), Copal (3) Kekoldi (3), SJ (1)

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

Dates/Months: Open all year

Additional Information

1. 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

2. 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

3. 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)

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. ALL DAILY ACTIVITIES WOULD BE BASED ON LIGHT OR NATURAL OPPORTUNITIES SUCH AS NESTING SITES, FEEDING FRENZY, FRUITING TREES, ETC.

During the down times or complicated light garden explorations of visits to other parts of the
chosen destinations. Since we will be focus on no control environments or bird feeding stations; exploring the surrounding habitats near our lodges can well be highly rewarding. In many cases sitting still on flowering bushes or tree cavities can give us positive results.

7. ALL AREAS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BASED ON THE 20 YEARS OF GUIDING SUCCESS, NOTHING HAS BEEN LEFT TO CHANCE EXCEPT FOR NATURE ITSELF. FROM THE DEEP JUNGLES OF BRAULIO CARILLO´S NATIONAL PARK TO THE SMOKY SUMMIT OF ARENAL VOLCANO´S RAINFOREST.

This photography experience has been created to capture colourful, beautiful and most iconic bird life from our rainforests.

General Topics

Mind Map