Day 1: Arrival to Costa Rica - Juan Santamaria's Interntational Airport
Day 2, 3: Ensenada
Day 4, 5, 6: Bosque de Paz
Day 7, 8, 9: Tortuguero
Day 10: Departure - Juan Santamaria's Interntational Airport
Daily Itinerary by destination
Day 1 San Jose. . IMPORTANT NOTE: FIRST DAY’S HOTEL IT WOULD BE BASED ON INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT SCHEDULES 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. Ensenada Lodge. The Dry Tropical; is an ecosystem that is nearly gone from the rest of Central America due to cattle ranching but in Costa Rica, a good track of it still exists and has been protected. Home of numerous unique species such as Elegant Trogon, Banded Wren, Lesser ground Cuckoo, Pacific Screech-Owl, etc.
· Breakfast before departure to Puntarenas Province
· Arrival and birding at Ensenada Lodge fields
· Lunch and rest time until 3:00 to salt ponds
· Dinner at 18:00 (buffet, options for vegetarians available)
· Photography workshop Subject: Sunset and birds.
Day 3. Early birding hike around the lodge grounds before breakfast. There are more than 300 hectares to hike, trails left and right, active and abandoned pastures, mangroves and coastline. No time to get bored. Today before lunch we will concentrate on forest edge species such as Orioles, Hawks, Gnatcatchers, Parrots, Thickknees, Trogons and Motmots. After a beat of rest and escape from the heat of the middle of the day a 30-minute drive to Punta Chira to trying capture the always rare and elusive Rufous-necked Woodrail amongst many other species.
· Breakfast 9 am
· Based on tides we will either visit the waterfront edges & mangroves or Salinas
· Lunch at 13:00
· Departure to Salinas and Punta Chira 14:30
· Dinner at 18:30
Day 4. Bosque de Paz Lodge. Breakfast at Ensenada lodge, follow departure to Juan Castro National Park. The lodge has dozen trail systems for exploring its avian biodiversity, we will spend all day at the lodge grounds. Bosque de Paz is an amazing place to find highland endemics such as Azure hooded Jay, Prong billed Barbet, Grey-breasted Woodwren, etc.
· Departure from Ensenada Lodge at 7:30 am
· Lunch at Bosque de Paz 13:00
· Hummingbird garden photography
· Dinner 7:00 pm
· Workshop: How to capture American Dipper
Day 5. Bosque de Paz Lodge. Early birding at the forest trails searching for Resplendent Quetzal, Red-headed Barbet, leaftossers, woodhunters, woodcreepers , Highland tinamous, etc. After a well-deserved breakfast, we will travel a few minutes down the road to another great hummingbird garden at Bajos del Toro’s waterfall some other great birds are found such as Prevost’s Ground Sparrow, Purplish backed Quaildove, Black-breasted Woodquail, etc. After exploring the forest trails and hummingbird gardens we will return to the lodge for lunch with more forest birds.
· Early garden photography
· Breakfast 8:30 am
· Departure to Bajos del Toro’s Waterfall
· Bosque de Paz trail exploration
· Dinner 7:00 pm
Day 6. Bosque de Paz Lodge. Explore the nearby forested gardens and departure to San Jose.
· Early garden photography
· Breakfast 8:30
· Departure back to the international airport based on flight schedules
Day 7. Arrive at Guapiles-Pavona followed by a private boat ride (taxi) to La Baula Lodge. (1 hour). Upon arrival, room check-in and garden exploration until lunch; followed by a boat ride at 2:30 pm
· Photography at the hotel gardens
· Dinner (18:00)
· Photography workshop Subject: Creating the scene
Day 8. La Baula Lodge. Visiting the national park two boat trips (tour hours would depend on climatic conditions)
· Early boat tour 5:30 am
· Breakfast 9:00 am
· Lunch 13:00
· 14:00 boat tour
· Dinner 18:30
Day 9. Hotel Bouganvillea. Early boat tour 4 hours, followed by breakfast and hotel garden exploration. Drive to San Jose and overnight at Hotel Bouganvillea.
· Leisure time or explore gardens
· Departure to San Jose at 11:30 am
· Lunch at a Local Restaurant
· Arrival at Hotel at 3:30 pm approx.
· Goodbye Dinner included
Day 10. Last day of the journey: International flight dates, times, pick up & drop off based on your flight schedule
From the mangroves and savannas of the Pacific lowlands to the over flooded water canals of Tortuguero, a destination with a name for itself since begging on nature preservation and rainforest studies. We will visit 3 extraordinary places with differences so big that will surprise all your senses. Feel the heat from Ensenada, the crispy air from mid elevation Caribbean Mountains to the humid Amazonian jungle’s heart.
Ensenada This private reserve is an area that attracts thousands of birds during the migration from the north, and is truly birding to rave about! It is a fabulous area to find dry tropical forest specialities such as Thicket Tinamou, Long-tailed Manakin, Lesser Ground-Cuckoo, and the rare Jabiru Stork. This seasonally flooded flatland with the deciduous forest is full of possibilities for combination birding. Adjacent to mud flats, mangrove forests and coastlines, this region provides the opportunity to see dozens of ducks and heron species, Kingfishers, Frigatebirds, and dozens of migratory species such as Turnstones, Sandpipers, Skimmers, Willets, and Spoonbills.
(1:30 hrs) 120KM
Sea level 50 meters
Bosque de Paz: nestled in the intermountain valleys between Poas and Platanar Volcanoes is located, Forest of Peace. A private preserve with enormous biodiversity and one of the few accessible wet forests found in the Caribbean mid-elevations. Serenity, and exclusiveness for those seeking out a true connection with nature. 11 species of hummingbirds are found within their 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, and 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 on their own. Flowering bushes, fruit trees, streams and gardens are a magnet for bird life.
Tortuguero National Park: This incredible park is truly the little sister of the Amazon! Miles and miles of water canals bordered by giant trees, and evergreen forests with tangled flowering vines, this region is the epitome of the rainforests of your imagination. Besides the common water species such as egrets and tiger herons, we can also find birds such as Agami Heron, Sungrebe, Green and Rufous Kingfisher, and recently Harpy and Crested Eagles have been spotted!
Sea level 80 meters
Humidity 80% +
General info: From the mangroves and savannas of the Pacific lowlands to the over flooded water canals of Tortuguero, a destination with a name for itself since begging on nature preservation and rainforest studies. We will visit 3 extraordinary places with differences so big that will surprise all your senses. Feel the heat from Ensenada, the crispy air from mid elevation Caribbean Mountains to the humid Amazonian jungle’s heart.
Early rising: In all locations we will be getting up 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? Beginner, Intermedia
IMPORTANT NOTE: FIRST DAY’S HOTEL IT WOULD BE BASED ON INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT SCHEDULES
Number of nights by destination: SJ (1), Ensenada (2), Bosque de Paz (3) Tortuguero (3) SJ (1)
Number of participants: Minimum 2, Maximum 6 (8 upon request)
Dates/Months: Open all year
• Small hiking backpack for day trips
• Small first aid kit
• Camera (optional)
• 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
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.)
• 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.