Overview

Number of nights: 10 nights

Destinations: SJ, La Selva, Bosque de Paz, Maquenque, Arenal Volcano

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

Day 2, 3, 4: Sarapiquí

Day 5, 6: Bosque de Paz

Day 7, 8: Boca Tapada

Day 9, 10: Arenal

 

Daily Itinerary by destination:

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

Day 2. La Selva Biological Station. Drive after breakfast into the heart of the most well studied rainforest on
earth.

·       Drive to explore more possibilities out the of the lodge on nearby back roads and forest edges
·       Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00) out of the lodge, continue seeking for larger birds such as Eagles,
Hawks, Falcons, etc.
·       Return time at 17:30
·       Dinner at 18:00 
·       Photography workshop Subject: White spots, odd angles, lowlight and black backgrounds

Day 3. La Selva Biological Station. Early breakfast and trail exploration until lunch. Visit to Dave & Dave’s
Photography Garden.

·       Morning at La Selva
·       Dave & Dave’s Photography Garden 15:00
·       Dinner 6:30 pm

Day 4. La Selva Biological Station. Early breakfast and let’s explore the rainforest.

·       Venture into the heart of the tropical rainforest. All day long exploring all forested trails at the
biological station.
·       Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
·       Return time at 17:30
·       Dinner at 18:00 
·       Photography workshop Subject: Black and White The Art of no colour.

Day 5. Bosque de Paz Lodge. Breakfast at the Pacifico lodge, follow to departure to Bajos del Toro’s town. The lodge has dozen of 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 Pacifico Lodge 9:30 am
·       Lunch at Bosque de Paz 13:00
·       Hummingbird garden photography
·       Dinner 7:00 pm
·       Workshop: How to capture American Dipper

Day 6. Bosque de Paz Lodge. Early birding at the forest trails. Looking 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 7. Departure after breakfast to Maquenque Eco-Lodge located in the most isolated north eastern region of
Costa Rica; virtually unknow to general public this lodge provides some of the finest bird photography opportunity
in the country.

·       Exploring gardens until lunch. Setting up for water birds, toucans and waterbirds and lots more.
·       Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00)
·       Meeting back at 14:30 to continue exploring trails, gardens and lagoons
·       Dinner at 18:30
·       Photography workshop Subject: Framing, focus, high speed, and questions (19:00 –20:30) video beam
presentation

Day 8. Early morning photography. Playing with lowlight. Birds and ambient. B.

·       Exploring forest edges until lunch.
·       Lunch (between 11:30 – 13:00) leisure time until 14:30
·       Meeting back at 14:30 to continue exploring trails, gardens and lagoons
·       Dinner at 18:30

Day 9. Arenal Observatory Lodge. Boat tour to Caño Negro before sunlight, we will start at 5:00 am heading
to the dock for an early birding, as we all know is our most successful time (3 + hour boat tour, breakfast to
go). After the boat tour we will concentrate on getting some species more related to pasture fields such as
raptors, seedaters, finches, etc by the end of the day our journey will not end will begin with owl searching and
other night birds such as Potoos, Poorwills at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
·       Caño Negro Boat Tour 5:00 am
·       Road edges exploration
·       Drive to Arenal 10:30 am
·       Lunch along the road
·       Arenal Observatory Lodge exploration

Day 10. Arenal Observatory Lodge. Exploring gardens until lunch. Possible scenarios: plenty of birdlife to
capture, the use of tripods or monopods is a must. Carry your super telephoto lens.

Last day of the journey: International flight dates, times, pick up, drop off and other activities based on
your flight schedule.

Notes

A journey in the natural history and beauty of tropical birds.

10 nights exploring 4 amazing destinations in some of the most paradisiac locations in Costa Rica.

All areas have been chosen based on the 20 years of guiding success of our company, nothing has been left to chance except for nature itself. From the deep jungles of Braulio Carrillo’s National Park to steps to Arenal Volcano’s rainforest. This photography experience has been created to capture colourful, beautiful and most iconic bird life from our rainforests.

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 focused 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.

Sarapiqui is a real rainforest experience with vast areas to cover, primary rainforest, active and no active pasture fields, river edges, canopy bridges, thick understory, etc. Cotingas, macaws, oropendolas, guans, eagles, toucans are some of the many species to find. At La Selva Biological Station daily birds to spot are Green Ibis, Sunbittern, Jacamars, Tanagers, Orioles,Woodpeckers, Tityras, etc. Botanical gardens nearby offer great opportunities to spot a dozen or more species of hummingbirds and its adjacent forest always bring good surprises as Little Tinamou, Lattice tailed Trogon, Cinnamon Woodpecker, and much more. The Braulio Carrillo National Park is a real rainforest experience with the largest mixed flocks ever including favorites such as Sharpbills and Umbrellabirds.

Sea level 50 meters
Temperature 29-34
Humidity 85% +

Bosque de Paz: nestled in the intermountain valleys between Poas and Platanar Volcanoes is found in the forest of peace. A private preserve with an enormous biodiversity and one of the few accessible wet forests found in the Caribbean mid elevations. Serenity, exclusiveness for those seeking out a true connection with nature. 11 species of hummingbirds are found within its 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, 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 by your own. Flowering bushes, fruit trees, streams and gardens are a magnet for bird life.
·       Departure after breakfast to Bosque de Paz the Forest of Peace.

(1:45 hrs) 60KM
Sea level 1900 meters
Temperature 12-24
Humidity 80% +

Arenal Volcano: If there ever was a Jurasic Park Arenal should be the one, tangled vines, large canopy trees,
damp forest floor, roaring rivers, dozens of kilometres of forested back roads, lush primary, secondary forests
are some of the many habitats yet to explore. At our hotel choice par excellence Arenal Observatory Lodge
their manicure gardens, trails are just phenomenal for image capturing. We have never had a dull day at this
fantastic piece of paradise. Bellbirds, Umbrellabirds, Antbirds, Cotingas, Eagles, Currasows, Antpittas,
Tanagers, Toucans, are some of the plenty families of birds found without ever leaving the lodge premises. A
short drive out the 400+ hectares of rainforest own by the Observatory is found the Arenal Lake, a partially
human made hydro-electrical dam has an enormous diversity of avifauna in every single patch of vegetation,
from semi-cultivated lands to tall natural grasses and pristine wet forest. Species such as Keel billed Motmot,
White fronted Nunbird, Black Hawk Eagle, Great Antshrike, are a tiny list of the colours, shapes and sounds.

Sea level 500-660 meters
Temperature 21-34
Humidity 80% +

 

Maquenque If there is a place that deserves a merit for conservation and restoring natural habitats is this hidden gem near Nicaragua’s rainforest. Very little known Maquenque Mixed Reserve which is a buffer zone for La Selva- San Juan Biological corridor and comprehends over 50 thousand hectares. This forgotten corner of Costa Rica is by far one of the most successful destinations for bird photographers. Since the small lodge has been established less than two decades and their achievement in establishing a sanctuary where pastures and deforestation were disappearing the existing rainforests.

(1:45 hrs) 55KM
Sea level 50 meters
Temperature 24-34
Humidity 80% +

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 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? Intermedia, Advance

Bird as Art is created to all levels of photographers with a DSLR but if you are in a more advanced level please let us know and we might be able to suggest an either private service or a small group of friends.

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

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