Costa Rica’s Rainforests – 2018

Overview

When it comes to sheer vibrance of colour the birdlife to be found in the rainforests is almost untouchable.  With a well developed tourist infrastructure Costa Rica represents one of the best places in Central America to photograph it too and this trip will take us to some of the very places to do so.  Our three lodges based in the central part of the country are situated in prime rainforest and their array of feeders attract a huge variety of hummingbirds and we will concentrate on achieving both natural lighting and high speed flash images of these delicate beauties as well as searching for the iconic Resplendent Quetzal.  Further north we will have several days working from bespoke canopy and ground level hides with unique glass fronts for amazing viewing and photography of toucans, parrots, tanagers and an array of other striking bird species in their amazing rainforest settings; the highly colourful King Vulture is another real possibility here too and we will also look to turn our high-speed flash photography experiences to bats during the hours of darkness! With small mammals, insects and reptiles around us throughout the trip adding an array of macro opportunities as well this is an ideal opportunity for a real portfolio of rainforest subjects in a jam-packed two weeks.

Itinerary Open +Close -

Day 1: A long day of travelling to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. We will undoubtedly be arriving late in the evening so we will transfer to a local hotel to get some well-earned rest.

Day 2: After breakfast in the morning we will head east for a 2-3 hour drive to one of the country’s premier birding lodges. With over 400 different species having been recorded here its excellent reputation is well deserved. The balcony areas around the lodge are home to an array of hummingbird feeders which attract many different species and this is where we will be focussing our photography on the first afternoon after we arrive and settle in – we are based here for 3 nights.

Day 3: We will be hoping to undertake a lot of our photography here using natural light. However, we are also planning to create a high speed flash set up to look to freeze these dynamic little birds as they hover. Among the many species we aim to work with in both these ways are Violet-crowned Woodnymph, Brown Violet-ear and Green-crowned Brilliant – and these are birds that really live up to their dramatic names! Although the hummingbirds will be our main focus for these two very full days of photography here the paths around the lodge and surrounding rainforest also offers the potential for frog, butterfly, insect and floral photography too as we look to build up a rainforest portfolio.

Day 4: After a final early session on the balconies we will return to our vehicles and a 3 hour drive to our new cloud forest base which again has an array of feeders in the surrounding areas for us to work at (and over 140 bird species record here too) as well as the potential of resplendent quetzal in the area.

Day 5: The quetzal will be our main focus while we are here and this morning we will have our own guided walk into the cloud forest to look for them: these incredibly rare birds are among Costa Rica’s avian jewels and the researchers in this small region are the best at finding them for us.  The rest of the day will be spent in the garden and surrounding forest areas with bird, plant, insect and reptile photography all options.

Day 6: After a further morning’s guided walk to look for quetzals we will head for a 3-4 hour drive taking us back north of San Jose and our base for the next 3 nights in the high altitude cloud forest mountains there.

Days 7 – 8: Situated in a stunning montane rainforest location this Eco-Lodge offers the chance to further explore the rainforest on foot for an array of subjects, with orchids high on the agenda. It’s the birds though, and especially the hummingbirds such as the Violet sabre Wing and Magnificent Hummingbird that are the main attraction for us. Many feeders are present again providing the main focus for our photography as we work on building our portfolios in terms of both species and also image styles. We will once again look to use a mixture of flash setups and natural lighting.

Day 9: After a last look at the feeders we will head north to our base for the next four nights close to the Nicaraguan border where an array of hides and open air photography opportunities await. It will be a 4 hour or so drive to get there so we’ll be grateful to settle in for an evening meal and make our choices for the next few days although if there are toucans to greet us on arrival the cameras will almost certainly get an immediate airing too.

Days 10 – 12: Over the course of our 3 full days here we will have the opportunity to work in a number of different settings created specifically for photography. Tower hides set in the canopy utilise the glass-fronted style pioneered in central Europe to great effect and allow superb opportunities for an array of colourful species including Keel-billed Toucan, Brown- hooded Parrot, and Baltimore Oriole. A Vulture focussed hide attracts not just Black and Turkey Vultures but also the stunning King Vulture. There are further hides in the gardens around the lodge as well as banana feeders adjacent to the balcony which is frequented by toucans, tanagers, parrots, oropendola and aracari amongst others. Mammals. Reptiles and amphibians await in the surrounding rainforest if you can find a spare moment too, and our nights will be spent using high-speed flash for bat photography in the rainforest as well: it’ll be a busy few days to end the trip.

Day 13: After a final morning session on the balcony areas we’ll begin the 4 – 5 hour drive back to San Jose in time for our early evening flights back to the UK/Europe.

Day 14: Arrive back in Europe in the morning.

 

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What our customers say

“I especially enjoyed the fact that Mark & Paul were constantly on the lookout to create new opportunities for us all”

“It was brilliant! We got more than we expected by way of macro subjects and the bats were an unexpected bonus (and probably the highlight of the trip!)”

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What our customers say

“I especially enjoyed the fact that Mark & Paul were constantly on the lookout to create new opportunities for us all”

“It was brilliant! We got more than we expected by way of macro subjects and the bats were an unexpected bonus (and probably the highlight of the trip!)”

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