Costa Rica Photo Expedition

Bottler-Neufert Family

February 10 - 23, 2024

Last updated: Feb 8, 2024

Expedition overview

Hello Vita, Eva & Ingo!

Welcome to your tailor-made photography adventure with us here at Physis, right in the vibrant heart of Costa Rica!

I am beyond excited to guide you through a journey filled with lush landscapes, captivating wildlife, and the exotic flora that this tropical paradise has to offer. As photographers, I know you have a discerning eye for beauty and a deep passion for capturing the very essence of nature. Costa Rica, with its unparalleled biodiversity and stunning vistas, is the perfect canvas for your photographic pursuits.

From the lush greenery of Sarapiqui to the tranquil waterways of Boca Tapada, every moment of this trip is a golden opportunity to capture the extraordinary. Be it the intricate patterns of tropical plants, the vivid hues of exotic flowers, or the dynamic wildlife in their natural habitats, I can assure you, your cameras will be busy framing the unique and breathtaking sights of Costa Rica.

I’ve meticulously planned a series of photography tours and activities to ensure you make the most out of your time here, including private sessions and exclusive night tours to enhance your experience. Your passion for photography and love for nature are about to embark on a journey of a lifetime.

So, dive into the itinerary we’ve prepared just for you, and let’s get ready for an unforgettable photography adventure with Physis!

Expedition details

Gallery

Day by day itinerary

Physis |

February 10

Andy will be waiting for you at the airport and we will take you to the hotel.

  • Arrival: Air Canada AC 959 at 21:20
  • Pick-up is at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO).
  • Transfer to the hotel
  • Lodging at Hotel Holiday Inn Express (2 rooms)

February 11

Note: On the day of arrival, we will confirm the time we will leave for Cartago province, one of the most beautiful areas of Costa Rica.

We want you to rest after your flight!

You can have breakfast at the hotel between 8:00 – 9:00 am.

On the way, we will visit Cartago, the ancient capital of the country.

We will visit Lankester Orchid & Botanical Gardens. Lankester Gardens are celebrated for their vast collection of orchids, bromeliads, and other tropical plants. The gardens span over 27 acres and are managed by the University of Costa Rica. We can explore the diverse flora, including rare and endemic species, as well as enjoy the serene environment surrounded by lush greenery.

In the afternoon, we will have visit Cachi and Orosi town

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Transfer to Cartago. 2 hours driving
  • Lunch at the hotel or at a local restaurant
  • Photo session in the afternoon
  • Dinner at the hotel
  • Lodging at Hotel Quelitales (2 rooms)

February 12

Today we have two different sessions.

In the morning, we have a hummingbird photo session. These little birds are truly a sight to behold. With their brightly colored feathers, they can be seen flitting from flower to flower, drinking nectar and foraging for food. They are so small and delicate that it almost looks like they could disappear in an instant. That is why a photo session with these incredible birds is so special.

After lunch, we will look for the Resplendent Quetzal. The Resplendent Quetzal is one of the most iconic birds of Costa Rica and the world. It is a species of trogon and is famous for its impressively colored plumage and long tail feathers. A bird photo shoot with this magnificent creature is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Hummingbird photo session in the hotel
  • Transfer to Los Santos Area
  • Lunch at the Gema del Bosque (12:30, approximately)
  • Resplendent quetzal and bird photo tour (14:00)
  • Transfer to Cachi area
  • Dinner at the hotel
  • Lodging at Hotel Quelitales (2 rooms)

February 13

After breakfast and check-out, we’ll be traversing through Braulio Carrillo, an awe-inspiring national park.

The Tropical Rainforest Biome’s predominant characteristic is its importance within the planet; it holds two-thirds of all the world’s flora and fauna. In Costa Rica, this biome presents an overwhelming abundance of springs and rivers of clear, crystalline waters, as well as a great quantity of insects and microorganisms just waiting to be discovered.

All this vegetation takes over the cleaning of the air we breathe

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Transfer to the Braulio Carrillo area. 2.5 hours of driving.
  • If you wish, we can take a short hike in Braulio Carrillo National Park, one of the most biodiverse places in Costa Rica (optional).
  • Lunch at the hotel or at a local restaurant
  • Free afternoon. Optional: Rainforest Aerial Tram and Canopy tour are available at the hotel (Not included)
  • Dinner at the hotel (18:00)
  • Night tour at the hotel (19:00, approximately)
  • Lodging at Tapirus Lodge (2 rooms)

February 14

Today we have two different sessions.

Morning: Bird photo session. (8:30)

During this session, we’ll have the opportunity to capture images of the vibrant emerald toucan, the stunning motmot, and various other species. The lush, verdant scenery of the region is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.

Afternoon: Snakes and Frogs photo session (14:00)

During our Snakes and Frogs macro session, you’ll have the opportunity for close-up encounters and photography with over five exotic and venomous species. This experience, conducted in a safe and controlled environment, allows you to capture the allure and danger of these enigmatic creatures. It’s an adventure designed for the daring and curious, keen to explore and document the wild’s mystique in vivid detail.

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Transfer to Guapiles area
  • Bird Photo session in Guapiles
  • Lunch at local restaurant
  • Snakes and Frogs
  • Transfer to the hotel
  • Lodging a Tapirus lodge (2 rooms)

February 15

After breakfast and check-out, we will be visiting the Pierella Ecological Garden: Butterflies, hummingbirds, toucans, bats, frogs, wildlife, culture, and chocolate—all in one location.

Then we will drive for about 2.5 hours to the beautiful and wild region of Boca Tapada, near the border with Nicaragua.

In the afternoon, you will do some photography at the hotel and in the surrounding area.

At 5:30 p.m. and for about 2 hours, we will have one of the most exciting and unique sessions. We will photograph flying bats at night.

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Pierella Ecological Garden.
  • Lunch at Pierella Ecological Garden (Included)
  • Transfer to the hotel
  • Free time
  • Bat photo session at night (5:30, approximately)
  • Dinner at the hotel (20:o0, approximately)
  • Lodging at Boca Tapa lodge

February 16

Morning: King Vulture
After breakfast, we dedicate this photo session to the King Vulture. The King Vulture, notable for its vibrant coloration, is one of the largest New World vultures, growing up to 2.5 feet tall and weighing around 8 pounds. This bird possesses one of the strongest beaks among American vultures, enabling it to open carcasses that others can’t, often eating first at a feeding site.

Afternoon: Green Macaw photo session

In the afternoon, we will take a light hike to see and photograph the green macaw in its natural environment. The green macaw is one of the largest macaws in the world (second only to the hyacinth macaw).

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • King Vulture Photo Session. (9:00 approximately)
  • Lunch at a local restaurant or at the hotel. (12:30)
  • Green Macaw photo session. (14:00 approximately)
  • Free night
  • Dinner at the hotel
  • Lodging at Boca Tapada Lodge (2 rooms)
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February 17

On our San Carlos River boat tour, we’ll encounter crocodiles, howler monkeys, and various birds such as the tiger heron, great blue, and kingfisher. This expedition offers a unique chance to capture nature’s untouched beauty as we glide through diverse ecosystems.

The peaceful river reveals an array of wildlife, ranging from majestic birds in the sky to elusive creatures hidden in the lush foliage along the banks.

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Check-out
  • San Carlos River Boat Tour (9:00 approximately)
  • Lunch in Pital area
  • Transfer to La Fortuna town. 2.5 hours driving
  • Check-in at Arenal Observatory Lodge
  • A free afternoon to explore or relax
  • Dinner at the hotel
  • Lodging at Arenal Observatory Lodge (2 rooms)

February 18

Morning

Nature and bird photography session. Half of the birds in Costa Rica, more than 500 species have been recorded in hotel’s forest, such as: cute cotinga, black-crested flirt, yellow-eared toucanet, parasol bird, black-eared tanager, great peacock curassow, cinnamon-bellied tororoy, golden eagle, tiger heron, etc.

Afternoon

The visit takes you to the Danta Waterfall, one of the most popular attractions in our 350 ha nature reserve at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Trails. The waterfall is surrounded by primary tropical forest and a cool mist; The thunderous sound caused by the fall of water creates a magical and relaxing atmosphere in the place. The waterfall of the Danta waterfall, approximately 6 meters high, creates a small pool that invites you to cool off in its waters.

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Nature and bird photography session.
  • Lunch art the hotel
  • Danta Waterfall Tour
  • Dinner at the hotel
  • Lodging at Arenal Observatory Lodge (2 rooms)

February 19

The iconic Arenal Volcano is located in the northwestern part of Costa Rica, towering beautifully over the town of La Fortuna. The most well-known active volcano in Costa Rica is surrounded by Arenal Volcano National Park and Lake Arenal.

In the afternoon, we will have the pleasure of feeling the natural energy that arises from the veins of the Arenal Volcano, and heats the thermal pools of Ecotermales ranging from 32 ° C to 41 ° C (90 ° F to 106 ° F), along with the pools of cold water and waterfall, we will enjoy a relaxing hydromassage. At the same place, we will have dinner, and then we will rest at the hotel.

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Transfer to Arenal
  • Hiking tour in Arenal National Park
  • Visit Arenal Lake
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Hot springs tour in arenal area (15:00 – 18:00)
  • Dinner at the hot springs (Included)
  • Lodging at Arenal Observatory Lodge (2 rooms)

February 20

Today, we will continue our trip to Central Pacific Coast.

A wet and rainy climate allows for greater biodiversity in the beaches and hills next to the coast; thus, there is a transition from tropical wet forest to tropical forest to tropical dry forest. These ecosystems provide habitat for numerous plant and animal species that are protected in several wilderness areas

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Transfer to the Central Pacific Coast and Quepos Town. 4.5 hours driving
  • Different stops in Jaco Beach and Tarcoles River
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Dinner in Quepos or at the hotel
  • Lodging at Hotel Si Como No (Family room)

February 21

Family day at the beach. I will take you to the national park and you can enjoy a family day exploring the national park. At the end of the afternoon, I will pick you up and take you back to the hotel.

The park encompasses rugged rainforest, white-sand beaches, and coral reefs. It’s renowned for its vast diversity of tropical plants and wildlife, from three-toed sloths and endangered white-faced capuchin monkeys to hundreds of bird species. The park’s roughly 680 hectares are crossed with hiking trails, which meander from the coast up into the mountains.

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Transfer to Manuel Antonio entrance
  • Family day at Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Lunch at local restaurant
  • Dinner at the hotel or local restaurant
  • Lodging at Hotel Si Como No (Family room)

February 22

During the morning, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful facilities of the hotel (especially its swimming pools). After check-out, we will drive to San Jose (approximately 3.5 hours).

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Relax at the pool in the morning
  • Lunch at the hotel or local restaurant
  • Transfer to San Jose City.
  • Farewell dinner at local restaurant
  • Lodging at Hotel Holiday Inn Express (2 rooms)

February 23

After having shared this trip together and having lived through so many unique moments and experiences, we will take you to the airport. It’s time to go home!

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Check-out
  • Transfer to the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) at 7:00 a.m. (shuttle service)
  • End of services
  • Departure flight: Air Canada AC 958

Stunning destinations

Emerald Enchantment: Capture Stunning Green Macaw Photos in Costa Rica with Physis

Cachi, Cartago

Orosi is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, including lush green mountains, coffee plantations, and hot springs. The area offers opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and exploring Costa Rica's rich biodiversity.
Physis |

Los Santos area

One of the most popular attractions in the Los Santos area is the town of Santa María de Dota, known for its coffee plantations and beautiful scenery. Additionally, Los Santos is home to several national parks and reserves, including Los Quetzales National Park and Cerro de la Muerte.
Physis |

Sarapiqui & Braulio Carrillo

Sarapiqui and Braulio Carrillo are fantastic destinations for nature photography, including bird photography, wildlife photography, and landscape photography. The region is known for its incredible biodiversity, lush rainforests, and stunning flora and fauna.
Physis |

Boca Tapada

Boca Tapada, located in the lush northern region of Costa Rica, is a natural paradise for nature enthusiasts, photographers, and anyone seeking a peaceful retreat in the heart of nature.
Physis |

Arenal Volcano National Park

The grandeur of the volcano is undeniable and this is the first thing you think when visiting La Fortuna de San Carlos, where this natural wonder is located.
Physis |

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio contains a charming combination of the rain forest, beaches, and coral reefs. These beaches are the most beautiful in the country, lined with lush forest, and the snorkeling is excellent, too

Expedition leader

I, Andy, will be right there with you as your expedition leader and tour guide. With years of experience and a profound love for the nature of Costa Rica, I am eager to share my knowledge, photography tips, and fascinating stories to enrich your adventure. Together, we will make sure that your time here is not just a trip, but a journey filled with learning, discovery, and moments that will stay with you forever.

Services, photo activities and accommodations

What’s included

  • Exclusive and private travel itinerary
  • 13 nights of lodging
  • Physis’s certified hotels and lodges
  • 1 standard, superior or deluxe room (single)
  • 1 standard, superior or deluxe room (double: one or two beds)
  • In Manuel Antonio, 1 family room
  • 1 standard room for the guide (single)
  • Private bathroom
  • Daily breakfasts at the hotels (Buffet)
  • Farewell dinner (Last night)
  • Local professional photographer and expedition leader with years of experience
  • Experienced, certified, and area-specific guides for birds, wildlife and nature photography
  • +15 photography tours and activities.
  • In a comfortable car, you will enjoy private ground transportation
  • All entrance fees (National parks, reserves, refuges, etc)
  • All local insurances
  • All local taxes

What’s not included

  • Airfare to/from Costa Rica
  • Lunches
  • Dinners
  • Visa (If it’s required)
  • Medical insurance
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips and gratuities (local guides, driver, and expedition leader)
  • Alcoholic beverages (wine, beer, cocktails, etc) and beverages not included on the menu.
  • Hotel services (laundry, room service, etc)
  • Personal services (spa, massage, etc)

All these photo activities and tours are included.

  • Visit to Cachi area
  • Hummingbird photo session at Hotel Quelitales
  • Quetzal photo session in Los Santos area
  • A night tour at Tapirus Lodge
  • Nature trails at Tapirus Lodge
  • Bird Photo session in Guapiles
  • Macro session: Snakes and Frogs
  • Pierella Ecological Garden
  • Bat photo session at night 
  • King vulture photo session
  • Green Macaw photo session
  • San Carlos River Boat Tour
  • Hot springs at La Fortuna
  • Nature and wildlife photo session at Arenal Observatory Lodge at Arenal Observatory Lodge
  • Danta Waterfall Tour
  • Visit to Arenal Volcano National Park
  • Visit to Arenal Lake
  • A visit to Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Other stops and activities


While all these activities are confirmed, they may be subject to change depending on the weather and other conditions. We consult with our local guides daily to pinpoint the most favorable situations and prime photography opportunities.

Hotels & lodges

  • Hotel Holiday Inn Express. Due to the arrival and departure time of your flight, we select a hotel near the airport for your convenience.
  • Hotel Quelitales
  • Hotel Tapirus Lodge
  • Hotel Boca Tapada Lodge
  • Hotel Arenal Observatory Lodge
  • Hotel Si Como No

Price per person based on 3 persons

  • US$3.855


Dates

  • February 10 to 23, 2024 (Confirmed)

First payment (Paid)

  • US$5,700
  • November 29, 2023


Second payment

  • US$5.700
  • January 8, 2024

Physis – 2023