The Wildlife of Costa Rica

Rainforest and Tropical Birds


If you’ve ever read anything about Costa Rica, then you’ve heard about the stunning wildlife that calls this country home. To this day there are mysterious creatures that live undiscovered in the forests of Costa Rica.

Our tour sets off from San Jose and journeys into the lowland areas of the country’s Caribbean side).  We will be stalking toucans, king vultures and multiple species of honeycreepers, parrots, tanagers, etc.  During this tour we will also photograph bats in flight using multi-flash setups. On the way to every destination we will have planned stops to take landscape photos, and sample the famous local coffee.

We then visit the Sarapiqui area where rainforest frog species, such as red-eyed tree frogs, poison dart frogs and glass frogs, will be our focus. We will also find a great variety of bird species including gray-necked wood rails, boat-billed herons and owls, and get the opportunity for night shots of bats that are easily found near the lodge and also in the forest.  We will have multi-flash setups to photograph hummingbirds in flight, including some ten different species that frequent the location we will be using.

Our last stop is the highland area of Talamanca.  The resplendent quetzal is our main focus here.  A full day will be designated for exploring the different locations where these magnificent birds live and nest.  We’re talking about three different highland hummingbird species here in Talamanca.  We have a chance to use natural light, as well as high-speed multi-flash to capture these magnificent birds.

Tour Highlights

  • Discover one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world
  • Extraordinary photographic encounters with wild birds, reptiles and mammals, sometimes at close range
  • Natural encounters and Set-Up Photography
  • Macro subjects and night walks providing even more diversity
  • Species include the resplendent quetzal, toucans, honeycreepers, hummingbirds, frogs, snakes, lizards and many more
  • Custom-designed itinerary
  • Top quality naturalist and guide
  • Count on assistance from SouthQuest’s naturalist guides who have vast experience with the local wildlife and photography excursions
  • Optional hands-on photography assistance from NatGeo photographer

Suggested itinerary

DAY 1 - San Jose (-, -, -)

Arrival and meeting with our staff at the airport. Private transportation will take you to the Hotel in San Jose. Overnight in San Jose. If you have time, explore the historic neighborhoods such as Barrio Amón, where colonial mansions have been converted into contemporary art galleries, and Barrio Escalante, the city’s gastronomic epicenter. Stroll with Saturday shoppers at the farmers market, join the Sunday crowds in Parque La Sabana, dance the night away to live music at one of the city’s vibrant clubs, or visit the museums of gold, jade, art and natural history, and you’ll begin to understand the multidimensional appeal of Costa Rica’s largest city and culture capital.

DAY 2 - San Jose - Lowlands of the Caribbean Side (B, L, D)

The lowlands of the Caribbean side of Costa Rica are unique destination over the world to see these endemic birds. Our day will start with an early breakfast at our hotel; followed by a private transport ride to the lowlands of the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. On the way we will drive through the countryside area, and we will have opportunities for landscape photography. Upon our arrival we will get ready to start shooting and becoming familiar with the photography conditions of the tropics. Our Biologist/Photographer guides will be with the group all times helping you with this. Overnight.

DAY 3 - Lowlands of the Caribbean side (B, L, D)

We will dedicate the day shooting in different sites and looking for small, medium and large sizes birds due the constant birding activity all day. By the night, we can photograph bats in flight using multi-flash setups. Overnight at the same lodge.

DAY 4 - Lowlands of the Caribbean side - Sarapiquí (B, L, D)

Early breakfast and we will have more photo activities around the lodge before departure to our next destination, Sarapiquí. On the way we will have some stops in case of any photo opportunity. After our arrival we will enjoy a delicious lunch and will get ready for shooting hummingbirds in flight. There are around 10 different species of hummingbirds including the Violet Sabrewing, Rufous tailed, Black bellied, Green Hermit, and other species. We will have two multi-flash stations for participants to use. Overnight at Sarapiquí area hotel.

DAY 5 - Sarapiquí (B, L, D)

Our morning location is dedicated for macro photo session of frogs in their natural habitat. There will be many species of frogs with a controlled environment for photography. You will see the famous “Red-eyed tree frog” to the little “Glass frogs” whose bodies are transparent. Many species of poison dart frogs will be also available for photography. Our team will manage to create different sceneries and composition using the flowers and different elements that we will find at this amazing place. After lunch we will spend the afternoon shooting Gray-necked Wood rails, Boat-billed Herons, Owls and many more birds. These birds will be easy to find and photograph. For the remainder of the day we will explore the surrounding area looking for the endemic birds. Overnight at the same lodge.

DAY 6 - Sarapiquí - Talamanca Area (B, L, D)

Today we will move to the Cloud Forest of Costa Rica. On the way we can have some stops in case of any photo opportunity. Arrival around lunchtime. This area has an entirely new variety of species and photo opportunities. Here we will photograph beautiful hummingbirds to the amazing Quetzal. After a delicious lunch, we will start shooting hummingbirds in natural light using perched setups. Overnight at the lodge in Talamanca area.

DAY 7 - Talamanca Area (B, L, D)

This morning we will start the day visiting the Famous Quetzal Quest. We will spend the whole day looking for and shooting the amazing Resplendent Quetzal. Overnight at the lodge in Talamanca area.

DAY 8 - Talamanca Area - San Jose (B, L, D)

This morning there will be our finals shots in Costa Rica. We will have opportunity to photograph hummingbirds in flight and highland bird photography. We will photograph using multi-flash set ups and natural light set ups. After lunch we depart back to San Jose. We will have our last and farewell dinner at the San Jose hotel. Overnight in San Jose.

DAY 9 - San Jose - Departure (B, -, -)

After breakfast, a private transfer will take you to the international airport. End of our services.

Quick Facts

  • Caribbean portion of Costa Rica
  • December to September
  • Nature Photography
  • Birdwatching
  • Natural History
  • Individuals & Groups
  • Moderate physical level

Contact Us

If you want to book this tour, customize the itinerary or take any questions, please fill out the form below and our team will get in touch with you as soon as possible.