Birding Photo Expedition Costa Rica 10 N / 11 D
Birding Photo Expedition Costa Rica 10 N / 11 D
Join Freddy Madrigal, wildlife photographer and natural history expert with 31 years’ experience leading birding, photography, and nature expeditions in his homeland of Costa Rica and in Central and South America. Travel with Freddy to secret spots away from the crowd for a more relaxing and quality experience.
- 2020 / 2021
- Premium Service
Explore through the eyes of a wildlife photographer and natural history expert our national parks’ natural beauties with their enormous variety of wildlife.
Adventure into birding, nature photography, macro photo sessions, bird photo workshops and bird photo set ups.
See why Costa Rica is believed to possess the highest density of biodiversity of any country worldwide. While encompassing just 0.03% of Earth’s landmass – approximately the size of West Virginia – Costa Rica contains 5% of all the species estimated to exist on the planet.
Our journey will take us to 2 different mountain ranges in Costa Rica – the Talamanca and Central Volcanic ranges – and 8 different life zones – Paramo, Oak forest, Cloud Forest, Rain Forest, humid forest, Pre-mountain forest, mangrove forest and wetlands.
Meals included (15)
Activities & fees included
*Water and fruits along the trip.
Night walks (2)
Boat tour (1)
Carara National parks fee (1)
Private biological Reserves fees (4)
Photo shooting places fees (5)
Arrival to Costa Rica. Meet and greet at the international airport SJO. Overnight at Airport Hotel, no meals included.
Overland to Laguna Lagarto Lodge. Overnight at Laguna Lagarto Lodge, meals included, D.
Arrival to Costa Rica. Meet and greet at the international airport SJO. Suggested arrival to Costa Rica, before noon.
If early arrival we`ll stop at Mrs. Elizabeth feeders and lookout point, photo opportunity for tanagers, Hummingbirds and others bird species. Lunch on own at her local restaurant.
4:30 pm. Estimated arrival to Laguna Lagarto Lodge.
5:00 pm. Take advantage of the last hour of light at the hotel`s shooting stations.
6:30 pm. Diner, included in price.
Laguna Lagarto Lodge
The Laguna del Lagarto Eco-Lodge in Northern Costa Rica offers you 1250 Acres (500 Hectares) of virgin tropical rainforest with an incredible variety of fauna and flora.
350 different species of birds have been counted, among them the Great Green Macaw.
The Lodge is operated in harmony with nature, under ecological guidelines. A perfect place for passionate bird-watchers and rain forest lovers. More than 10 km of well-marked rainforest trails make birding and exploring nature easy, no matter whether you prefer to explore nature and wildlife on your own or with a naturalist or birding guide.
Home of the Scarlet Macaw, Great Green Macaw, Brown Hooded Parrot, Great Curassow, Keel Billed & Yellow Throated Toucan, Collared Aracari, King Vulture, Rufous Motmot, Red Capped Manakin, Red Legged and Shinning Honeycreepers, Chesnutt Capped Woodpecker, Golden Hooded Tanager, American just to name few of the real possibilities.
Lodge shooting stations. Overnight at Laguna Lagarto Lodge, meals included, B-L-D.
Today we will have an early start exploring the hotel grounds, great birding. Work at hotel`s shooting stations specially designed for excellent photo opportunities.
By 5:30 am, we have sunlight, highly recommended to start as early as possible.
7:00 am, breakfast is served.
8:00 am, King Vulture Hide for 1 hour, for those who would like to take the opportunity to photograph such an astounding bird. $75.00 USD pp not included in tour price.
9.30 am. Back to hotel shooting station for the rest of the morning.
12:00 noon. Lunch, included.
2:00 – 5:30 pm. Adolfo`s shooting station, tanagers, Hummingbirds set ups, Parakeets, Honeycreepers and much more, included in price.
6:30 pm. Diner, included in price.
Red Capped Manakin & overland to Sarapiqui region. Overnight at Ara Ambigua Lodge, meals included, B-L.
7:00 am. Breakfast is served.
7:30 – 8:45 am. shooting stations.
9:00 am. Red-capped Manakin Lek, we must walk about a mile into Laguna Lagarto Lodge trails to get to the Manakin`s dancing floor, take in consideration that we`ll be shooting inside the forest and just 20 feet away, light conditions can be a bit dark. Manakin`s courtship season December through April.
12:00 Noon. Check out and Lunch, included in price.
1:00 pm. Overland to Sarapiqui region.
2:30 pm. Estimated arrival to Ara Ambigua lodge or similar.
3:00 – 5:00 pm. Shooting Hotel grounds, targeting White-collared Manakin.
6:00 – 7:00 pm. Night walk in search for nocturnal creatures including the amazing Red Eyed Tree Frog.
7:15 pm. Diner on your own at hotel`s restaurant.
Ara Ambigua Lodge
Set in an exuberant rain forest, the lodge is surrounded by an ecological paradise with tropical gardens, where local species are show cased. Great place to find and photo the amazing Red Eyed Tree frog.
Possible species: Violet Sabrewing, Green hermit, Stripe-throated Hermit, Long-tailed Tyrant, White Collared Manakin, Keel-billed Toucan, Mealy Parrot, Passerines Tanager, Blue-grey Tanager, Buff-throated Saltator, Black-headed Saltator, Gray-headed Chachalaca, Crimson-collared Tanager, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Great Kiskadee, Social Flycatcher, Gartered Trogon, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Grey-capped Flycatcher.
Cope´s feeders, photo hide and macro session. Overnight at Ara Ambigua Lodge, meals included, B.
6:00 am: Early breakfast today as we begin our adventuring to Cope´s feeders and photo hide. Mr. Jose Perez (Cope) is a local self-taught artist known for wildlife paintings created with unique painting techniques he himself developed over the years. He is blessed to live in a house surrounded by rainforest from which dozens of beautiful birds and other creatures come into his backyard to the delight of all guests.
7:15 am. Estimated arrival to Cope`s place.
7:15 to 12 noon. Shooting at Cope`s hide and owls at nearby locations.
As soon as we get to Cope’s place, we start our birding observation and shooting. Or, you can just watch all the beauty before you as we listen to the fascinating story of Senor Cope’s life that he will share with us.
Hummingbird photo set-ups will be displayed so you can learn how to shoot birds in movement or just look at them. Birds will be so close that you can have Hummingbird wings literally fan your face if you get too warm!
Today we will also devote few minutes to a macro photo session with the tiny and amazingly transparent Glass Frogs. We will teach you a technique for shooting in broad daylight but with night-effects in your finished pictures. (even with your cellphone).
12:30 pm. Stop at a local restaurant for lunch on your own.
2.00 – 5:00 pm: Shooting station and gardens at Tico Rainforest local project, Crimson Collared Tanager, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Dusky-faced Ant-tanager, Golden Hooded Tanager, Semi-plumbeous Hawk, Saltators, Tytiras, Toucans and many other wonderful tropical species.
Possible species at Cope’s place: Gray-cowled Wood-Rail, Green Kingfisher, Spectacled Owl, Crested Owl, Red Legged Honeycreeper, Blue Dacnis, Shinning Honeycreeper, Montezuma Oropendola, Gray Headed Chachalaca, Crimson Collared Tanager, Golden Hooded Tanager, Collared Aracari, White-necked Jacobin, Bronzed-tailed Plumeleteer, Green Hermit, Stripe-throated Hermit, Crowned Woodnymph, Long Billed Hermit, plus other jewels of the Caribbean lowlands.
6:30 pm. Diner on own at hotel`s or local restaurant, we`ll provide suggestions for diner, if required.
Overland to Highlands at Savegre River valley. Overnight Miriam`s lodge or similar. Meals: B-D.
6:00 am: Early walk at hotel grounds, followed by breakfast today as we begin our adventuring to Costa Rican highlands.
7:00 am. Check out and departure time.
7:15 am. Shooting at La Selva Biological Station road, looking for Rufous Motmot, Broad-billed Motmot, Rufous Motmot, Pale-billed Woodpecker, Red-throated Ant-tanager, Rufous Tailed Jacamar, White-necked Puffbird, Crested Guans, Collared Aracari, Southern Lapwing and many other beauties of the area.
12:00 noon. Stop at local restaurant on our way for lunch on your own.
4:00 pm: Estimated arrival time to Savegre lodge or similar. Check in, and a familiarizing stroll in the extensive hotel gardens.
6:30 pm: Dinner included.
Note: Keep warm clothes handy today because we are heading up to around 11 thousand feet. Temperatures in the mornings can drop into the 40’s Fahrenheit and nights are cold as well.
Savegre mountains will be both busy and wonderful as we get ready for some highland species including the Magnificent Quetzal, numerous Tanagers and Hummingbirds. Most of these will be new to our list, but, even more exciting, they’ll be so near to us that even cellphones will take great pictures.
Los Quetzales National Park
Has three life zones (distinct types of forests), 14 ecosystems and tremendous richness of flora and fauna. The Park also encompasses seven different altitude zones which has spawned remarkable biological diversity. We will also observe seasonal lagoons (wetlands) whose origins date to glacial times.
This national park preserves natural conditions of high-altitude woodlands such as oak forests, cloud forests and moorlands. It also helps to maintain the hydrologic functions of these forests and protects the habitats of endemic species. The park shelters the basin of the Savegre River and provides habitat and nesting sites for the beautiful Quetzal.
Possible species sightings in the highlands include: Magnificent Quetzal, Violet Sabrewing, Talamanca Hummingbird, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, White-throated Mountain Gem, Scintillant Hummingbird, Volcano Hummingbird, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, Green Violetear, Brown Violetear, Dusky Nightjar, Collared Trogon, Northern Emerald toucanet, Acorn Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Ruddy Treerunner, Mountain Elaenia, Dark Pewee, Golden Bellied Flycatcher, Barred Becard, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Sooty Thrush, Black-face Solitaire, Mountain Thrush, American Dipper, Black and Yellow Silky-flycatcher, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Brown-capped Vireo, Black-throated Warbler, Wilson`s Warbler, Slate-throated Redstart, Collared Redstart, Flame-throated Warbler, Emerald Tanager, Speckled Tanager, Spangled-cheeked Tanager, Large-footed Finch, White-eared Ground-Sparrow, Sooty-capped Chlorospingus, Black-thighed Grossbeak, Flame-colored Tanager, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, and many more highland species.
Savegre gardens and Melvin´s bird feeders. Overnight Miriam`s Lodge or similar. Meals: B-D.
6:00 am: We start early today in search of one of THE MOST beautiful birds in the world – The Resplendent Quetzal. After “mission accomplished,” it’s back to the hotel for breakfast.
8:00 am: Breakfast.
8:45 am. Get ready for a nice walk to one of the Savegre River and waterfalls, a beautiful scenic walk. Pure air, pristine river, gorgeous Oak forest, wonderful birds – Pura Vida Costa Rica!!!
12:00 noon: Lunch on your own at Savegre lodge restaurant.
2:00 – 5:00 pm: Melvin’s tanager and Hummingbird’s shooting station and gardens. There’s so much going on in this jewel of a garden that just sitting back and watching the beauty unfold is a breathtaking experience.
6:30 pm: Dinner is on your own at the hotel restaurant.
Overland to Carara National Park, Overnight at Cerro Lodge or similar. Meals included, B.
Carara National Park is known worldwide as a birding destination with an unusually great diversity of species. The Park is one of Costa Rica’s premier sites for birdwatching, with the Scarlet Macaw – second largest species of Psittacidae (and a species in danger of extinction) – one of its standout attractions.
6:30 am: Breakfast. If needed, we`ll return to the Resplendent Quetzal feeding/nesting place.
8:00 am: Departure time. Today we drive approximately 5 hours to reach the Central Pacific lowlands. We’ll pace the journey with various comfort stops along the way where we can enjoy natural scenic views and bird shooting before moving on.
12:00 noon: Lunch is on your own at Dominical Beach, and you will have time to stroll a bit to stretch your legs before we continue our journey to the Central Pacific.
3:30 – 4:00 pm: Estimated arrival time. Check in, and free time to enjoy birding the gardens.
6:30 pm: Dinner is on your own at hotel or local restaurant.
Tarcoles River Boat Tour & Carara National Park. Overnight at Cerro Lodge or similar. Meals included B.
Carara National Park
Is known worldwide as a birding destination with an unusually great diversity of species. The Park is one of Costa Rica’s premier sites for birdwatching, with the Scarlet Macaw – second largest species of Psittacidae (and a species in danger of extinction) – one of its standout attractions.
Carara offers a great variety of species such as; Orange collared Manakin, Scarlet Macaw, Baird`s Trogon, Turquoise Browed Motmot, White Whiskered Puffbird, Fiery-billed Aracari, Hoffman`s Woodpecker, Lineated Woodpecker, Pale-billed Woodpecker, Northern Barred Woodcreeper, Barred Antshrike, Black Hooded Antshrike, Chesnut-backed Antbird, Streak-Chested Antpitta, Black Faced Antthrush, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Masked Tityra, Red Capped Manakin, Three-wattled Bellbird (depends on altitudinal movements) White-Throated Magpie Jay, Cherrie`s tanager, and much more .
6:00 am: Early morning nature walk.
7:00 am: Breakfast.
7:45 am: 4 hours Jungle Crocodile Safari Tour, Crocodiles, Birds, Mangrove forest – a beautiful day for birds, wildlife observation and learning about mangrove forest habitats.
12:00 noon: Lunch is on your own at a local restaurant.
1:30 pm – 4:30 pm: Departure to Carara National Park in search of Streaked Antpitta as well as many other beauties of central Pacific region.
The Jungle Crocodile Safari
Provides an observation platform for viewing a great wealth of wildlife, birds and scenery on the river as we travel through three different ecosystems (river, mangrove and river-mouth habitats). Each separate environment offers unforgettable moments within its distinct ecological zone.
Species we’ll be watching for include: shorebirds, Yellow-headed Caracara, Crested Caracara, Mangrove Hawk, Mangrove Hummingbird (endemic), Mangrove Vireo, Roseate Spoonbill, Southern Lapwings, Whimbrel, Willet, Magnificent Frigate-bird, Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Tricolored Heron, Yellow-crowned Hight-Heron, Boat-billed heron, White Ibis, Black-necked stilt, Plovers and much more.
6:30 pm: Departure time to a local restaurant for diner on your own.
Full day at Alvaro`s Owls & Long-tailed Manakin shooting places (Manakin breeding season December to April). Overnight at Cerro Lodge or similar. Meals included B.
6:00 am: Early breakfast.
7.00 am: Arrival time at Alvaro’s secret place. Alvaro has been working for years spotting and protecting species of birds that now-a-days count him as their friend and protector. He is excited to share his beautiful feathered friends with us. You will have a rare and wonderful opportunity to see and/or photograph bird species that are otherwise very difficult to find, let alone to photograph beautifully.
6:15 pm: Finish the day shooting the enigmatic Common Potoo at a perch just 10 feet away from us.
7:30 pm. Farewell dinner at a local restaurant, included in price.
Possible species: owls in their day perch such as Black & white Owl, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Pacific Screech Owl, and Barn Owl Also, White-whiskered Puffbird, Lesser Ground Cuckoo, Black-headed Trogon and the beautiful Long Tailed Manakin at their LEK fully dancing, which make for great video as well as still shots.
Transfer out to airport, according to your flight schedule.
6:30 am: Breakfast.
We will prepare our return to international airport according to your flight schedule. I flight back home is schedule late in the afternoon, it will allow us to do some more shooting at hotel premises.