Costa Rica Photo Expedition

Paterson Family

April 28 to May 10, 2024

Status: Confirmed

Last updated: April 24

Expedition overview

Hello Eva and Ian!

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 |

April 28

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

  • Arrival. UA1222 at 20:19
  • Pick-up is at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO)
  • Private transfer
  • Lodging in Heredia city

April 29

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.

Lunch in at local restaurant

Throughout the afternoon, we will do a photo session in the gardens and trails of the hotel. This will be a good time to take pictures of hummingbirds.

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Transfer to San Gerardo de Dota
  • Lunch at the hotel or at a local restaurant (Not included)
  • Hummingbird and bird photo session at the hotel
  • Dinner at the hotel (Not included)
  • Lodging in San Gerardo de Dota

April 30

Today we have two different sessions.

Morning

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.

Afternoon

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
  • Lunch at local restaurant (Not included)
  • Resplendent quetzal and bird photo tour (14:00)
  • Free night
  • Dinner at the hotel (Not included)
  • Lodging in San Gerardo de Dota

May 1

After breakfast, we will cross the central mountain range of Costa Rica. On our way, we will visit beautiful and authentic Costa Rican towns.

After a journey of approximately 4 hours by car, we will arrive at the Caribbean lowlands.

We will make a stop in the town of Guapiles to have lunch typical of that area. In the same place, we will do a bird photography session.

We will continue our journey towards the Sarapiqui area.

We will have the afternoon free!

At 6:00 p.m., we will have dinner at the hotel and at 7:00 p.m. (approximately), we will take a night tour in the rainforest, in both the primary and secondary forest. It is a tour to do macro photography

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Transfer to Guapiles. (4 hours of driving)
  • Lunch at a local restaurant (Not included)
  • Bird photography session
  • Transfer to Guapiles
  • Free afternoon.
  • Dinner at the hotel (18:00). (Not included)
  • Night tour at the hotel (19:00, approximately)
  • Lodging in Sarapiqui area

May 2

Today we have two different sessions.

Morning:  Pierella Ecological Garden

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

Afternoon: Snakes and Frogs photo session 

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 the Sarapiqui area
  • Pierella Ecological Garden. Lunch is included
  • Snakes and Frogs photo session
  • Transfer to the hotel
  • Free night
  • Dinner at the hotel (Not included)
  • Lodging in Sarapiqui

May 3

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.

Check-out.

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

Lunch is on the way.

Free afternoon. You will do some photography at the hotel and in the surrounding area.

Bats photo session (Night session)

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)
  • Bird photo session
  • Transfer to the hotel
  • Transfer to Boca Tapada area
  • Lunch at a local restaurant (Not included)
  • Free afternoon
  • Bat photo session at night (5:30, approximately)
  • Dinner at a local restaurant (20:00, approximately). (Not included)
  • Lodging at Boca Tapa area

May 4

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: Hummingbird Multiflash session

In the afternoon, hummingbird Multiflash Photo Session

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • King Vulture Photo Session. (9:00, approximately)
  • Lunch is at a local restaurant or hotel. (Not included)
  • Humminbird Multiflash Photo Session (14:00)
  • Free night
  • Dinner at the hotel (Not included)
  • Lodging in Boca Tapada area

May 5

Breakfast is at the hotel at 8:00 a.m. Check-out

Sunbittern, Royal Flight Flycatcher, or Boat Trip on the San Carlos River (to be confirmed depending on the behavior of the animals or weather conditions).

After that, we will drive for more than 3 hours to the impressive and remote area of Caño Negro.

We will have lunch on the road.

Free night. Dinner at the hotel

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Check-out
  • Sun heron, Royal Flight Catcher San Carlos River boat tour
  • Transfer to Caño Negro area
  • Lunch at a local restaurant (Not included)
  • Free night
  • Dinner at the hotel (Included)
  • Lodging in the Caño Negro area

May 6

Today we will have two boat tours

In the morning, we will be able to take advantage of the dawn light and the activity of many birds, crocodiles, monkeys, and lizards, among others.

This tour starts at 6:00 am.

We will return to the hotel to rest and have breakfast.

Lunch at the hotel or a local restaurant.

At 3:00 p.m. we begin the afternoon tour. We will visit the observation tower and navigate the river again to take advantage of the afternoon light and watch the sunset.

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • 2 Boat tours in Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge
  • Lunch at the hotel or local restaurant (Not included)
  • Free afternoon
  • Dinner at the hotel (Included)
  • Lodging in the Caño Negro area

May 7

After breakfast (8:00 am), we will drive to Celeste River. Celeste River is a river in Tenorio Volcano National Park of Costa Rica. It is notable for its distinctive turquoise coloration. The Celeste River also borders several hot springs and has one large waterfall.

After that, we will drive to Arenal Volcano National Park

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Transfer to Tenorio Volcano National Park
  • Hiking tour in Celeste River (10:00 am, approximately)
  • Transfer to Arenal Area
  • Lunch at a local restaurant (Not Included)
  • Self-guided photo hike on hotel trails
  • Dinner at the hotel (Not Included)
  • Free night
  • Lodging in Arenal Area

May 8

Breakfast is at the hotel at 8:00 am.

Morning

We will visit one of the trails of Arenal Volcano. Arenal is Costa Rica’s best-known volcano. It’s a stratovolcano – a large, symmetrical volcano that’s built upon layers of ash, rock and lava – and at 5,437 feet (1,657 meters), it stands high above the rest of the countryside.

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 a 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 Danta waterfall, approximately 6 meters high, creates a small pool that invites you to cool off in its waters.

Free night. Dinner at the hotel

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Transfer to Arenal National Park
  • Visit to Arenal National Park. (8:30, approximately)
  • Lunch at the hotel (Not included)
  • Danta Waterfall Tour (14:00, approximately)
  • Free night
  • Dinner at the hotel (Not included)
  • Lodging in Arenal area

May 9

Breakfast is at the hotel at 8:30 a.m. Check-out

After that, we will drive for over 3 hours to the Cinchona area, near the Poas Volcano.

We will stop at a famous restaurant to have lunch and take lots of pictures:  birds, 2 beautiful waterfalls: La Paz and San Fernando as well as beautiful landscapes of that zone.

Then, we will drive one more hour to the city of Alajuela. Stop at the International Airport to rent a car

  • Breakfast at the hotel (Included)
  • Transfer Cinchona area
  • Lunch at a local restaurant (Not included)
  • Stop at the International Airport to rent a car
  • Transfer to Heredia City
  • Lodging in Heredia City

May 10

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Check-out
  • End of services

Stunning destinations

Physis |

Cartago

Located near the foothills of the Irazu Volcano in the Central Valley of Cartago, the namesake capital city is one of the oldest towns in the country
Capturing Costa Rica's Avian Beauty: 5 Exotic Birds Every Photographer Dreams Of

San Gerardo de Dota

San Gerardo is renowned for its lush cloud forests and is a prime spot for birdwatching, particularly for the resplendent quetzal, a beautiful and colorful bird native to Central America.
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 |

Sarapiqui

Sarapiqui in Costa Rica is a fantastic destination 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.
Costa Rica Photography Workshops by 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 |

Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge is a protected area located in northern Costa Rica, near the border with Nicaragua. It is known for its rich biodiversity and is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers

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.

Andy is a proud member of NANPA, PPA, PSA and SINWP photography associations

Services

  • Exclusive and private travel itinerary for you
  • 13 nights of lodging
  • Physis’s certified hotels and lodges
  • 1 standard, superior, or deluxe room (double occupancy)
  • Private bathroom
  • Daily breakfasts at the hotel
  • Professional photographer and expedition leader with years of experience
  • Experienced, certified, and area-specific guides for birds, wildlife and nature photography
  • +17 photography tours and activities.
  • Private ground transportation for 13 days
  • Transfer-in
  • All entrance fees (National parks, reserves, refuges, etc)
  • 1 standard room for the guide (single room)
  • Daily meals for the guide
  • All local insurances
  • All local taxes
  • 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)

Hotels, dates, pricesand payments

All these photo activities and tours are included

  • Lankaster Gardens
  • Quetzal tour in La Zona de Los Santos
  • Bird photo session in San Gerardo
  • A night tour in Sarapiqui area
  • Nature trails in the Sarapiqui area.
  • Photo session in Pierella Ecological Garden
  • Bird Photo session in Sarapiqui
  • Bat photo session at night 
  • King vulture photo session
  • Macro session: Snakes and Frogs in Sarapiqui
  • Sunbittern, Royal Flight Flycatcher, or Boat Trip on the San Carlos River
  • Caño Negro Boat Tours
  • Visit Celeste River
  • Visit Arenal Volcano National Park
  • Danta Waterfall Tour
  • Visit Cinchona area
  • Other stops and activities at the hotels and surrounding areas


While all these activities are included, 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 and lodges

  • Hotel Bougainvillea
    • 2 nights
    • First and last night
  • Hotel Savegre Lodge
  • Selva Verde Lodge
  • Maquenque Lodge
  • Hotel de Campo Caño Negro
  • Arenal Observatory Lodge

Price per person based on 2 persons

  • US$4767 per person based on double room.


Dates

  • April 28 to May 10, 2024

Payment method and dates

  • International wire transfer
  • First payment (Paid): 60% on February 1
  • Second payment (Paid): 40% on March 28

Physis – 2024