Costa Rica | Birding and More by Camera

Costa Rica | Birding and More by Camera

About this trip

For birders and photographers alike, the incredible avifauna of Costa Rica is certain to inspire. Accompanied by nature photography expert Krisztina Scheeff, you’ll have the opportunity to receive personal instruction during classroom sessions and field exploration, customized to all levels of experience and interest. Your journey spans a diverse range of ecosystems and elevations to spot some of the hundreds of bird species that call Costa Rica home: the Caribbean lowlands of the Sarapiquí Valley, the confluence of tropical dry forest and humid rainforest near the Pacific coast, and the cloud forests of the Talamanca Mountain Range. Experience all that Costa Rica birding has to offer, with a chance to bring your photography to the next level!

Highlights

  • Sharpen your photography skills in both the classroom and the field with guidance from photography expert Krisztina Scheeff.
  • Explore the trails of Selva Verde Lodge’s private rainforest reserve and take a boat ride down the Rio Sarapiqui to look for riverine species.
  • Journey through the world-renowned La Selva Biological Station to photograph some of the 400-plus bird species found here.
  • Visit the birding hotspot of Carara National Park in Costa Rica’s Central Pacific region, which is one of the most ecologically diverse areas of the country.
  • Seek out the highly coveted Resplendent Quetzal, plus other species like the Red-fronted Parrotlet and Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl that inhabit the temperate forest and páramo habitats of Cerro de la Muerte.

Meet your leader

Krisztina Scheeff, Photographer / Guide / Owner, KS Nature Photography

Krisztina has been photographing the natural world, with an emphasis on wildlife, birds and landscapes, since the age of 18. She has been published in Wild Planet Photo Magazine, Audubon papers, and won awards from National Audubon Society and local organizations. She has had numerous art exhibits and is a workshop leader every year at the San Diego Bird Festival run by San Diego Audubon Society. Her enthusiasm and passion for wildlife photography rubs off on everyone who meets her. 

"Photography is an adventure, just like life itself. Come join me on this journey exploring the beautiful world of wildlife and landscapes!"

ksnaturephotography.com

Depart

Dec 9, 2021

Overnight flight.

San Jose

Dec 10, 2021

Upon arrival in San José, transfer to Hotel Bougainvillea. Check-in is available at 3 pm. This evening enjoy dinner and a welcome orientation. Starting tomorrow, each evening the leader will host a photography classroom session. The sessions are optional for participants to attend.

Dinner included
Overnight at Hotel Bougainvillea

Sarapiqui

Dec 11, 2021

After breakfast, receive an introductory presentation on tropical birding from a local expert. Check out of the hotel and start your journey to Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve in the Caribbean lowlands, at elevations ranging from 180 to 220 feet. Founded by the Holbrook family in 1985, the lodge is renowned for its commitment to ecological preservation and sustainability. En route, stop at La Paz Waterfall Gardens for birding, photography and lunch. After arriving at Selva Verde, receive a brief orientation to the facilities and spend time exploring the property before dinner. The reserve is home to a large assortment of avian life, including several types of herons, egrets, hawks, falcons, macaws, hummingbirds, flycatchers, warblers, sparrows and tanagers. Specific species often spotted at Selva Verde include the Keel-billed Toucan, Sunbittern, Crimson Tanager, Wood Thrush, Violet-crowned Woodnymph, and Grey-necked Wood-Rail. Selva Verde is also home to the endangered Great Green Macaw, which can occasionally be found feeding on the giant fruiting almond trees in the rainforest. This evening, attend a photography presentation by leader in conference room.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge

Sarapiqui

Dec 12, 2021

Depart at dawn for the world-famous Organization for Tropical Studies La Selva Biological Station for early morning birding in the tropical wet forests. La Selva consists of approximately 2,500 acres of land, over 90 percent of which is virgin forest. The area averages over 13 feet of rainfall each year, making it a prime spot to observe water birds. Over half of Costa Rica's recorded bird species have been spotted at La Selva, including the Bare-necked Umbrellabird, Red-capped Manakin, Great Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Striped Cuckoo, Slaty Spinetail, Yellow-tailed Oriole, and Rufoustailed Jacamar. Return to the lodge for lunch and afternoon photography talk. This evening, after dinner, take a walk in search of nocturnal species.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge

Sarapiqui

Dec 13, 2021

Begin the day with birding around Selva Verde grounds and reserve. Later this afternoon, take a boat ride on the Rio Sarapiquí. While winding down the river bordered with forests and cultivated fields, look for aquatic animals, birds, and reptiles in their natural habitat. You may also see residents going about their daily lives and witness the impact local banana plantations have on this watershed. Late this afternoon take a hike on the lodge grounds wtih your leader to practice photography techniques.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge

Carara

Dec 14, 2021

Travel to Villa Lapas today, arriving in time for lunch at the lodge. Later this afternoon, when it cools off a bit, go for a boat ride along the Tárcoles River to watch for both water and shore birds, like Double striped Thick knee, Roseate Spoonbill, jacanas and ducks. The Tárcoles River basin is one of the most important in the Pacific coastal region; it drains virtually the entire western side of the Central Valley. Tárcoles hosts an amazing diversity of wildlife along its banks. The river is a perfect place to catch a glimpse of mangrove specialties such as the rare Rufous necked Wood Rail, Mangrove Hummingbird, Pygmy Kingfisher, Panama Flycatcher, Mangrove Vireo, Mangrove (Yellow) Warbler, and Scrub Greenlet. Perhaps the most famous of all its inhabitants are the enormous crocodiles that live on its banks. Later take a guided night walk to observe owls.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Villa Lapas

Carara

Dec 15, 2021

Take an early morning bird walk before breakfast. Then set out for a full day at Carara National Park, one of the birding hotspots of Costa Rica. The park is located in Costa Rica’s Central Pacific region, one of the most ecologically diverse areas of the country. The intersection of northwestern tropical dry forest with the humid rainforest of the South Pacific region, concentrated in a relatively small area, produces an interesting combination of species from both ecosystems. Keep your eyes open for Golden-naped Woodpecker, Baird’s Trogon, Orange-collared Manakin, Riverside Wren, Black-hooded Antshrike, Dot-winged Antwren, Long-billed Gnatwren, and Chestnut-backed Antbird. If time permits, photographers get some time together. Before dinner at the lodge, watch for macaws from a nearby bridge.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Villa Lapas

San Gerardo de Dota

Dec 16, 2021

After breakfast, check out and head to Cerro de la Muerte, an area at the top of Cordillera de Talamanca that’s famous for its diversity of endemic wildlife. Consisting of temperate forest and páramo habitats, the natural vegetation attracts species such as the rare Red-fronted Parrotlet, Costa Rican Pygmy Owl, Dusky Nightjar, Fiery-throated, Volcano, and Scintillant Hummingbirds, Gray-tailed Mountain gem, Ruddy Treerunner, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Ochraceous Pewee, Silvery-throated Jay, Black-and-yellow Silky flycatcher, Volcano Junco, Timberline Wren, Zeledonia, and Resplendent Quetzal. Look for these species and others at Cerro de la Muerte and La Georgina en route to Savegre. After check-in, enjoy afternoon birding at the lodge before dinner. Take some time to visit the hummingbird feeders in front of reception and off the balcony at the lounge. The feeders are often active with resident Magnificent Hummingbird, Green Violetear, Gray-tailed Mountain gem, Volcano Hummingbird, and tiny Scintillant Hummingbird.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve & Spa

San Gerardo de Dota

Dec 17, 2021

Savegre is located in a small community in the Talamanca Mountains and houses its own private biological reserve. This high-elevation habitat of mostly oak and highland cloud forest is rich with insects, mammals, amphibians, and a huge variety of avifauna - 170-plus bird species. The large centennial oaks that cover the forest are laden with lichens and mosses that contrast with the colorful bromeliads. Spend the morning birding looking for Spotted Wood-Quail, Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl, Collared Trogon, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Ruddy Treerunner, Ochraceous Pewee, Barred Becard, Zeledonia, and Golden-browed Chlorophonia. Head to Los Lagos in the afternoon in search of the Resplendent Quetzal. Dinner is followed by a guided night walk.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve & Spa

Dec 18, 2021

After breakfast depart for San José and the airport. Flights should be scheduled to depart after 1 pm.

Breakfast- included