Costa Rica | Photographing Rainforests, Volcanoes, and Wetlands

Costa Rica | Photographing Rainforests, Volcanoes, and Wetlands

About this trip

Join avid nature photographer and photography teacher Jackie Kramer on this 9-day adventure across Costa Rica’s lush northern wetlands and rainforests. Whether you are a master photographer or an enthusiastic amateur, the incredible biodiversity and natural beauty of Costa Rica is certain to inspire a portfolio full of treasures. Receive personal instruction while capturing the wonder of tropical plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and more. Enjoy the vibrant flora and fauna of Costa Rica while bringing your photography to the next level!
OPTIONAL EXTENSIONS:  Continue your photography experience with Jackie Kramer by joining her Cloud Forest Photography Post-trip Extension (March 24-29, 2025) 

Highlights

  • Sharpen your photographic skills while enjoying guidance by master photographer Jackie Kramer.
  • Explore Arenal National Park and its breathtaking views of Arenal Volcano, the rainforest, and abundant wildlife.
  • Visit Arenal Hanging Bridges and take in the endless photography opportunities from high up the forest canopy.
  • Boat through Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, a Ramsar wetland that provides important habitat for thousands of migratory water birds and other fascinating wildlife.
  • Meet a knowledgeable local guide and make the most of receiving one-on-one advice to capture the stunning beauty of Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge.
  • Seek out some of the 450 recorded bird species at Rancho Naturalista in Costa Rica's Central Valley, renowned in particular for hummingbirds like the Purple-crowned Fairy, Garden Emerald, and Snowcap.

Meet your leader

Jackie Kramer

Jackie has been photographing the natural world, with an emphasis on birds and flowers, since high school. She is known for her artistic flair and use of color in her floral images. Jackie is recognized as a Master Photographer by the Professional Photographers of America. She is also a KelbyOne instructor and Lensbaby Ambassador. She has received numerous international awards for her photography and her work has appeared in various magazines and online publications. Jackie runs classes online and also conducts in-person workshops. Her overarching goal is to use the medium of photography to enrich others and build relationships through her Facebook group, Phlorography – Artistic Floral Photography.

Website: https://www.luvblooms.com/

Santo Domingo

Mar 16, 2025

Upon arrival at the San Jose International Airport, after clearing customs and collecting your luggage, you will be met and transferred to Hotel Bougainvillea. This evening, gather together for a program orientation and welcome dinner at the hotel with your naturalist guide. Check-in starts at 3 pm.

Dinner included
Overnight at Hotel Bougainvillea

Arenal

Mar 17, 2025

This morning, begin the adventure with a journey to your hotel in La Fortuna. En route, visit Catarata del Toro, a private ecological reserve of unbelievable natural beauty. It features a stunning waterfall that flows into an old volcanic crater and four lookout points with panoramic views to marvel at the flora and fauna in the reserve. After spending time at the waterfall, continue to the hotel. Upon arrival, check in, have lunch, and then receive an introduction to the property. Have some time to get settled in and perhaps do some exploring on your own before meeting back with the group to enjoy photography opportunities with Jackie.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Lost Iguana Resort

Arenal

Mar 18, 2025

After breakfast, spend the day hiking at Arenal Observatory Lodge, the only ecolodge situated between Lake Arenal and the massive Arenal stratovolcano, as well as the only hotel within Arenal National Park. Set on a ridge amid towering pine trees and beautiful rainforest on the south side of the volcano, the lodge boasts seven miles of well-maintained trails on over 800 acres. Elevations range from 1,650 to 2,950 feet. The lodge is a paradise for photographers, with stunning views and more than 400 species recorded here. Enjoy lunch at Arenal Observatory Lodge. Then, return to the hotel in the late afternoon. Have dinner on your own this evening.

Breakfast-Lunch- included
Overnight at Lost Iguana Resort

Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge

Mar 19, 2025

After an early breakfast, travel to Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge in the lush wetlands of northern Costa Rica. This is one of the most important wetlands and biological areas of the country. Upon arrival, check in and have lunch. In the afternoon, take a boat ride in the refuge. This Ramsar wetland provides important habitat for thousands of migratory water birds including herons, storks, spoonbills, ibis, anhinga, ducks, and cormorants, as well as other wildlife like the emerald basilisk, giant anteaters, river turtles, and more. Today, your group will be divided to ensure the best opportunities for photography. In the evening, have dinner back at the lodge.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Natural Lodge Cano Negro

Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge

Mar 20, 2025

Today, the group will once again be divided into two to ensure the best opportunities for photography. Start the day early enjoying coffee and cookies at 5 am before each group is assigned to different guides, with one half of the group joining the naturalist guide, and the other half joining Jackie and a knowledgeable local guide. Kick off today's adventure with an early boat ride at 5:30 am. Return to the lodge for breakfast at around 8:30 am. Following breakfast, head back out for another boat tour at 9:30 am, with each group switching boats. Have lunch back at the lodge, and then enjoy another round of photography boat rides in the refuge.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Natural Lodge Cano Negro

Turrialba

Mar 21, 2025

Begin the journey to the town of Turrialba in Costa Rica's beautiful Central Valley. Have lunch at Cope along the way. Continue to Rancho Naturalista, considered one of the country's premier birding lodges. Enjoy the remainder of the day to explore either on your own or with your guide. Over 450 species of birds have been recorded in Rancho Naturalista's private reserve, including antbirds, tanagers, and woodcreepers, just to name a few. The lodge is also renowned for attracting hummingbird species such as Purple-crowned Fairy and Garden Emerald. A highlight species often seen on the grounds is the Snowcap hummingbird, one of the smallest birds in the world. After dinner, take a night hike in search of nocturnal species.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Rancho Naturalista

Turrialba

Mar 22, 2025

Spend the day on the property, which is a farm and private reserve, or choose to visit some of the nearby areas, where over 450 species of birds have been recorded.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Rancho Naturalista

San Jose

Mar 23, 2025

Have breakfast then check out for your transfer to San Jose. En route, you will be treated to a full day with Myriam Sagoto at her beautiful home and private gardens, full of orchids and bromeliads that adorn the property. You will be treated to lunch at her home. This evening, enjoy a celebratory farewell dinner at the hotel with your naturalist guide.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Buena Vista Chic Hotel

Depart

Mar 24, 2025

Transfer to the San Jose International Airport for your flight(s) home at the appropriate time today. Please note that there is a 3-hour check-in requirement at SJO for international flights. Check out is at noon.

Breakfast- included