Costa Rica Photo Expedition

Rahn and Hodgson Families' Private Tour

February 14 - 27, 2025

Status: Confirmed!

Last updated: July 8, 2024

Expedition overview

Hello Doug and Kim!

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 Photo Tours - Costa Rica |

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

  • Pick-up is at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO)
  • Private transfer
  • Lodging in Heredia city


Rahn family’s arrival information

  • Day: February 14
  • Airline: American Airlines
  • Flight AA 1593
  • Time: 12:19


Hodgson family’s arrival information

  • Day: February 14
  • Airline: United Airlines
  • Flight UA 1469
  • Time: 18:19

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.

  • After breakfast today, we’ll embark on a journey of about 3 hours from the Central Valley to the foothills of the Talamanca Mountains and the picturesque town of San Gerardo de Dota, with the exact travel time depending on the number of birding stops you make along the way.
  • As you travel, you’ll pass through farmlands and rolling green hills, gradually gaining elevation. Keep a sweater or fleece handy, as the temperature will drop as you ascend above the paramo and into the mountains.
  • San Gerardo de Dota is a serene mountain village located in a lush valley along the Savegre River. Known for its stunning natural beauty and rich biodiversity, it is a haven for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. The area is particularly famous for the Resplendent Quetzal, which can often be spotted in the nearby cloud forests. With its cool, crisp mountain air and tranquil ambiance, San Gerardo de Dota offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
  • Upon our arrival, we’ll begin our first bird photography session in the beautiful gardens of the hotel.
  • Lodging in San Gerardo de Dota

Today, we have two exciting sessions planned.

  • Morning Hummingbird photo session: In the morning, we’ll have a hummingbird photo session. These small birds are truly a sight to behold with their brightly colored feathers. You’ll see them flitting from flower to flower, drinking nectar and foraging for food. Their delicate nature makes it seem like they could vanish in an instant, which is why capturing them in a photo session is such a special experience. In San Gerardo de Dota, you can photograph a variety of hummingbird species, including the Lesser Violetear, the Green-crowned Brilliant, the Magnificent Hummingbird, and the Volcano Hummingbird.
  • Afternoon Resplendent Quetzal Tour: After lunch, we’ll search for the Resplendent Quetzal. This bird is one of the most iconic species in Costa Rica and the world. A member of the trogon family, the Resplendent Quetzal is renowned for its vividly colored plumage and long tail feathers. Males are especially striking, with their iridescent green and red feathers and tail streamers that can be up to three feet long. The quetzal inhabits cloud forests and is considered a symbol of freedom and wealth in various Mesoamerican cultures. Their diet primarily consists of fruits, particularly wild avocados, supplemented by insects and small vertebrates. Photographing the Resplendent Quetzal is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. These birds are elusive and require patience and a bit of luck to spot. The experience of capturing their beauty on camera amidst the lush, green backdrop of the cloud forest makes this afternoon session truly unforgettable.
  • Lodging in San Gerardo de Dota

Today, we have two exciting sessions planned.

  • Bird photo session at Feather Gardens: In the morning, we will visit Feathers Gardens, a meticulously designed bird garden that attracts some of the most beautiful birds native to and migrating through the Cordillera de Talamanca. Here, you can photograph a variety of species, such as tanagers, orioles, woodpeckers, and hummingbirds. Notable birds you might encounter include the Talamanca Hummingbird, Green Violetear, Scintillant Hummingbird, Volcano Hummingbird, White-throated Mountain Gem, Gray Tanager, and Blue-gray Tanager.
  • Bird photo session at Gema del Bosque: This charming hotel offers a tranquil retreat amidst lush cloud forests, providing an ideal backdrop for capturing the region’s rich avian diversity. We will photograph various bird species, including the fiery-throated hummingbird, collared trogon, golden-browed chlorophonia, and acorn woodpecker.
  • Lodging in San Gerardo de Dota

Today we have 2 different photo shoots.

  • After breakfast and check-out, we will drive to the Caribbean Lowlands.
  • Along the way, we will pass through authentic and beautiful Costa Rican towns such as Turrialba and Juan Viñas.
  • Sarapiqui area, located in the heart of Costa Rica, is a captivating destination for photographers from around the world who have an affinity for nature, bird, landscape, and wildlife photography. With its remarkable biodiversity, breathtaking landscapes, abundant wildlife, and favorable weather conditions, Sarapiqui offers unparalleled opportunities for photographers to capture stunning images that showcase the wonders of nature
  • Afternoon: Bird photoshoot in Guapiles and lunch
  • Night: Rainforest night tour in the hotel
  • Lodging in Sarapiqui area

Today we have 2 different sessions.

  • Morning:  Pierella Ecological Garden: After breakfast, we will be visiting the Pierella Ecological Garden: butterflies, hummingbirds, amazing insects, 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.
  • Free night
  • Lodging in Sarapiqui area
  • Breakfast is at the hotel at 8:00 a.m. Check-out
  • Bird photography session: Today, we’ll visit a venture run by a delightful Costa Rican family. On their property, you can photograph over 20 bird species, including woodpeckers, red-legged honeycreepers, toucans, tanagers, hummingbirds, and more.
  • 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
  • Lodging in Caño Negro

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.
  • Lodging in Caño Negro
  • Breakfast is at the hotel at 8:00 a.m. Check-out
  • After that, we will drive for more than 3 hours to the impressive and remote area of Boca Tapada.
  • We will have lunch on the road.
  • Bats photo shoot at night: 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.
  • Lodging in Boca Tapada area

Today we have 2 different photo shoots.

  • 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. Hummingbird Multiflash Photo Session
  • Free night
  • Lodging in Boca Tapada area
  • Breakfast at the hotel at 7:00 am approximately.
  • We will drive for around 3 hours to San Ramon area.
  • Canopy zipline tour: The canopy zipline tour is an exhilarating adventure that allows you to soar through the lush rainforest canopy, offering a bird’s-eye view of the stunning natural beauty. A stunning view of over 500 acres of forest as you zip through the canopy on the 7 cables and 5 platforms. the tour also includes 3 trails, and a thrilling Tarzan swing, for a total of 845 meters.
  • Then, we will drive to the beautiful central Pacific coast.
  • Lunch on the road
  • Dinner at the hotel
  • Lodging in Manzanillo area, Puntarenas province

Today, we have two exciting sessions planned.

  • Breakfast is at the hotel at 8:00 am.
  • Palo Verde Boat Tour: The tour leaves from the lodge. The tour is through the Bebedero River where you can observe many varieties of birds such us: Crested Caracara, Common Black Hawk, Peregrin Falcon, Osprey, Laughing Falcon, Mangrove Swallow and many others. You will also see monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas and raccoons.
  • Lunch at the hotel
  • Tractor ride: This is a very unusual and creative way to enjoy the sights. We build a long cart, pulled by a tractor, which will enable you to enjoy the Dry Forest and the pastures, with visits to the salt pans, the natural pond, and a spectacular view of the Gulf of Nicoya at sunset. Along the way, you will see birds, howler monkeys, and crocodiles
  • Free night
  • Lodging in Manzanillo area, Puntarenas province
  • Breakfast is at the hotel at 8:30 a.m. Check-out.
  • After that, we will drive for over 4 hours to San Jose city.
  • Farewell dinner at the hotel
  • Lodging in Heredia city
  • Check-out
  • Transfer to Juan Santamaria International Airport
  • End of the services


Departure information

  • Day: February 27
  • Airline: American Airlines
  • Flight AA 1080
  • Time: 3:30

Wildlife, nature, and bird photography shoots

+ 15 Wildlife, nature, and bird photography shoots

All these photo activities and tours are included

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.

  • Quetzal tour in La Zona de Los Santos
  • Humminbird photo session in San Gerardo
  • Bird photo session in San Gerardo
  • A night tour in Sarapiqui area
  • Nature trails in the Sarapiqui area.
  • Wildlife and bird photo session in Sarapiqui
  • Bird Photo session in Sarapiqui
  • Bat photo session at night 
  • King Vulture photo session
  • Boat Trip on the San Carlos River
  • Caño Negro Boat Tours
  • Canopy Zipline Tour in San Ramon
  • Palo Verde Boat Tour
  • Tractor ride tour
  • Other stops and activities at the hotels and surrounding areas

Stunning destinations

Physis Photo Tours - Costa Rica |

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 Photo Tours - Costa Rica |

La Ensenada Sanctuary

The area covers three types of wet environments: mangles, sweet water, and a line on the Golfo de Nicoya shore. The area is very important because it has one of the last primary and secondary forests of the northern Puntarenas province
Costa Rica Photography Tours by Physis Photo Tours

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 Photo Tours - Costa Rica |

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’ certified hotels and lodges
  • 2 Standard, superior, or deluxe rooms (double occupancy)
  • Private bathroom
  • Daily breakfasts at the hotel
  • Farewell dinner
  • Professional photographer and expedition leader with years of experience
  • Private van
  • Experienced driver
  • Experienced, certified, and area-specific guides for birds, wildlife, bird and nature photography
  • +15 photography shoots, tours, and activities.
  • Private ground transportation for 12 days
  • Transfer-in
  • Transfer-out
  • All entrance fees (National parks, reserves, refuges, etc)
  • 1 room for the guide
  • 1 room for the driver 
  • Daily meals for the guide
  • Daily meals for the driver
  • 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, prices and payments

Hotels and lodges

  • Hotel Bougainvillea
    • 2 nights
    • First and last night
  • Hotel Gema del Bosque. 3 nights
  • Hotel Ara Ambigua. 2 nights
  • Boca Tapada Lodge. 2 nights
  • Hotel de Campo Caño Negro. 2 nights 
  • La Ensenada Lodge. 2 nights

Price per person based on 2 persons

  • US$5802 per person based on a double occupancy room.


Dates

  • February 14 – 27, 2025

Payment method and dates

Payment link

  • Deposit: 20% per person. Paid


International wire transfer

  • First payment: 30% on September 1, 2024
  • Final payment: 50% on December 14, 2024

Physis Photo Tours – 2024