Costa Rica 17th October – 1st November 2020

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An absolutely amazing, fully packed wildlife photography tour in Costa Rica! 

At San Jose airport, we will be greeted by Jose our guide. Jose will take us to our hotel and after checkin you can relax by the pool or explore the surrounding streets of the hotel (depending on arrival time). 

The next morning, we will be picked up by a member of Laguna Lodge from the reception of our hotel and we will start our journey exploring the beautiful wildlife Costa Rica has to offer. On our way to Tortuquero we will stop for breakfast. At the back of the restaurant is a small garden where you can take pictures of poison dart frogs, small lizards and butterflies. If lucky, you might spot your 1st hummingbird. After breakfast, we will continue our journey to La Pavona, this is also where we change transport from bus to boat. The boat journey takes us through the beautiful canals to Laguna Lodge. After checkin we will enjoy a lovely lunch in the restaurant overlooking the river and you might spot one of the many large iguanas that reside at the lodge. After lunch, you have some time to yourself before we embark on a private boat journey to find basilisk, monkeys, sloth, kingfisher, heron and many more beautiful animalsTortuquero is most famous for sea turtles and October is a very good month to spot them. We will go on two beach walks to see if we can find turtles with Jose. The national park is home to three species of monkeys, around 400 species of birds, hundreds of reptiles and amphibians and a large number of mammals. Make sure to bring plenty of memory cards 🙂! 

After Tortuquero, we will take you to your next destination in SarapiquiSarapiqui is known for its rich biodiversity, and Heliconia Island, where we will be staying, is a true wildlife paradise. You are going to see some amazing frog species and gorgeous snakes at Frogs Heaven. You will also be able to see the beautiful scarlet and green macaws, owls, parrots, keel-billed toucan, many other colourful birds and maybe with a bit of luck the very cute honduran white bat during one of our excursions. In addition to what will already be a jaw dropping few days, we are thrilled to offer you a multiflash hummingbird photography session at Catarata del toro. At Catarata you also have the opportunity to spot the beautiful Trogon. When we visit the location to view the macaws make sure you bring lots of memory cards as this is an absolutely amazing experience. Scarlett, green and hybrid macaws will fly very close. You will get the opportunity to photograph the birds in flight and sitting on branches. 

After Sarapiqui we will move on to Boca Tapada. Boca Tapada is an area known for its outstanding natural beauty and tranquillity. We will be staying at Boca Tapada Lodge, another beautiful location for wildlife lovers. Boca Tapada is a primary nesting area for the endangered Great Green Macaw. You also have the opportunity to see the magnificent king vulture, collared aracari, keel-billed toucan and many other beautiful birds. We will also run a bat photography session! 

After Boca Tapada we travel to Arenal, where you can see the magnificent king vulture again, yet in different surroundings and light conditions. If luck is on our side we may also see the amazing black hawk eagle. This area is a great place for sloths and our local guide will help us finding them. 

From Arenal we move on to the Tarcoles area where we will go on a private boat tour. The Tarcoles River is home to many crocodiles and about 50 different species of birds, kingfisher, hawks, parrots, toucans, herons, egrets and many more. 

After Tarcoles we move on to Mirador de Quetzales. It is here where you will have the opportunity to see the magnificent resplendent quetzel, a beautiful bird with an amazing metallic green plumage. You will experience a morning and an afternoon photography session to give you the maximum chance to see this magnificent bird. This is also a fantastic place to photograph hummingbirds. 

Equipment we recommend: a dslr or a mirrorless camera plus a zoom (for example a Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 or a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens or similar) or/and a prime lens with a minimum focal length of 400mm. A macro lens will also come in handy, and please bring a flashgun/speedlight if you own one. If you are not in ownership of the aforementioned equipment, we highly recommend www.lensesforhire.co.uk to hire. 

This is a fully packed wildlife photography tour. Jose A Solis (biologist and certified tour guide with a specialism for wildlife photography tours) and Roy de Ruijter (professional wildlife photographer) have designed this bespoke tour.

You will not be disappointed, Pura Vida! 

 Day 1 Saturday 17th October 

  • Arrival San Jose Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). 
  • Transport to our hotel, Villa Tournon in San Jose for 1 night. 
  • City tour, depending on time of arrival. 
  • Dinner. 

Day 2 Sunday 18th October 

  • 6:00 am pick up from reception by Laguna Tortuguero Lodge. 
  • Breakfast on the way. 
  • Early afternoon arrival at the Laguna Tortuguero Lodge, for 2 nights. 
  • Lunch. 
  • Afternoon private tour by boat. 
  • Dinner. 
  • Hatching turtle beach walk. 

Day 3 Monday 19th October 

  • Tour by boat (either before or after breakfast). 
  • Time for yourself to explore the beautiful gardens or relax by the pool. 
  • Lunch. 
  • Afternoon private tour by boat. 
  • Dinner. 
  • Hatching turtle beach walk. 

Day 4 Tuesday 20th October 

  • Breakfast. 
  • 8:30 traveling to Sarapiqui. From La Pavona we will have our own transport. 
  • Lunch. 
  • Early afternoon arrival at our hotel, Heliconia Island for 4 nights. 
  • Time to explore the beautiful surroundings. 
  • Dinner. 

Day 5 Wednesday 21st October 

  • Breakfast. 
  • Frogs Heaven, snakes and frog’s photography. 
  • Lunch. 
  • Frogs Heaven, snakes and frog’s photography. 
  • Dinner. 

Day 6 Thursday 22nd October 

  • Breakfast. 
  • Visit to Cope’s Place for hummingbirds, owls and sloths. 
  • Lunch. 
  • Time to explore the beautiful surroundings at our hotel. 
  • Dinner. 

Day 7 Friday 23rd October 

  • Breakfast. 
  • Macaw photography. 
  • Lunch. 
  • Catarata del toro for hummingbird multiflash photography. 
  • Dinner at local restaurant. 

Day 8 Saturday 24th October 

  • Breakfast. 
  • Bird photography. 
  • Lunch. 
  • On our way to Boca Tapada Lodge for 2 nights. 
  • Bird photography. 
  • Dinner. 

Day 9 Sunday 25th October 

  • Breakfast. 
  • Bird photography. 
  • King vulture photography. 
  • Lunch. 
  • Hummingbirds photography. 
  • Dinner. 

Day 10 Monday 26th October 

  • Breakfast. 
  • Bird photography. 
  • On our way to Arenal Palace for 2 nights. 
  • Lunch. 
  • Sloths and beautiful surroundings for birds. 
  • Optional Hot springs. 
  • Dinner in town. 

Day 11 Tuesday 27th October 

  • Breakfast. 
  • To visit papa’s place for birds like hawks and king vultures. 
  • Lunch. 
  • Optional Hot springs. 
  • Dinner in town. 

Day 12 Wednesday 28th October 

  • Breakfast. 
  • On our way to Tarcoles Area, hotel Carara for 1 night. 
  • Meeting local guide to look for owls and long tailed manakin. 
  • Lunch. 
  • Arrival at hotel. 
  • Dinner at local restaurant. 

 Day 13 Thursday 29th October 

  • 5:45 private tour by boat on Tarcoles river. 
  • 8:00 breakfast. 
  • On our way to DotaMirador de Quetzales for 2 nights. 
  • Lunch. 
  • Arrival at hotel. 
  • Hummingbird photography. 
  • Dinner. 

Day 14 Friday 30th October 

  • Morning quetzal tour for photography. 
  • 8:00 breakfast. 
  • On our way to San Gerardo de dota for bird photography. 
  • Lunch. 
  • Afternoon quetzal photography tour. 
  • Dinner. 

Day 15 Saturday 31st October 

  • Breakfast. 
  • Morning hummingbird photography. 
  • Transfer to the airport. 

Day 16 Sunday 1st November 

  • Arrival back in the UK. 

*Costa Rica has approximately 850 different bird species, which is 10% of the world’s bird population! You will see many different birds during your stay in this beautiful country, I have named a few below you will very likely be able to photograph: 

  • Resplendent quetzal
  • Toucans (keel billed, yellow throated, collaredaracari, emerald toucanet)
  • King vulture
  • Scarlet macaw
  • Hummingbirds (white necked jacobin, scaly breasted)
  • Woodpecker (acorn, lineated, chestnut colored)
  • Tanagers (flame colored, scarlet, blue gray, palm, summer, silver throated)
  • Baltimore oriole
  • Black cowled oriole
  • Honey creepers
  • Oropendola
  • Red headed barbet 

This tour operates on a minimum of five and a maximum of eight participants. 

Please do not book your flights until advised by Chameleon Photography. 

Price: £3,689  

Deposit: £689 

What is included: 

  • All transfers and transport throughout Costa Rica.
  • Accommodation, specific hotels/lodges will be confirmed when final group size is known.
  • All meals as listed in the itinerary.
  • All photography sessions/tours as listed in the itinerary.
  • Local guides.
  • Photography tuition throughout, one or two professional photographers, Roy de Ruijter and Janette Hill, depending on group size. 

What is excluded: 

  • International flights/transport to and from Costa Rica/San Jose airport (SJO).
  • Some airlines charge airport tax. This needs to be paid in cash and will be approximately $30.
  • Drinks.
  • Personal expenses like vaccinations, travel insurance and photography insurance.
  • Items of personal nature.
  • Gratuities.
  • Optional tours. 

Please contact Roy here if you would like more information or to enquire for a booking. 

Note: as with any wildlife tours, we will be exploring the natural habitat of the wildlife we are looking to see. Wildlife in Costa Rica is extremely rich, you will be in the hands of the best local guide/s and although we cannot provide guarantees, we are extremely confident you will not be disappointed.

All images in the Costa Rica gallery copyright by Jose A Solis, Kevin Hatfield and Chameleon Photography.