Costa Rica – Cloud Forest 2024

StartsMar 13th 2024
EndsMar 24th 2024
LeaderSteve Gettle & Nicole Sudduth
Participants8 (FULL- Registration Open for 2025)

Costa Rica – The nature photographers’ paradise! There is so much wildlife here, that you won’t want to sleep for fear of missing an incredible photo opportunity. Costa Rica is home to more than 800 bird species including a huge variety of Hummingbirds, the amazing Resplendent Quetzal, Toucans, Macaws, and the vibrant Honey Creepers and Tanagers.

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During our visit, we will be staying at some of the top rated, friendliest and most accommodating eco-lodges in all of Costa Rica. We have personally selected each location based on the photographic opportunities available, comfort, cleanliness and safety.

We will also take at least one “all day field trip” away from each lodge that we stay at to visit other locations where we will experience even more amazing and unique photographic opportunities.


Day 1

March 13 – Travel day and Photography around Hotel Bougainvillea
Arrive San Jose airport. Transfer to Hotel Bougainvillea Bougan

You will immediately want to unpack your cameras and start enjoying as you explore and photograph beautiful birds that live in and around the 10 acres of picturesque gardens on the hotel property. These gardens are simply overflowing with impressive numbers and varieties of native plants, flowers, and colorful birds.

Day 2

March 14 – Talamanca Mountain Range
As we start our adventure, we will be staying at a unique lodge that resides within a pristine highland rain forest. We will spend 3 nights here. The grounds have numerous hummingbird feeders scattered among the meticulously manicured gardens, offering incredible opportunities to photograph these precious little jewels, as well as other gardens filled with trees and other plants that birds of all colors and species come in to feed on.

Day 3

March 15 – Talamanca Mountain Range

Today will be another day filled with special experiences. To start off, we will go on a special field trip to try to find and photograph Resplendent Quetzals – a species on everyone’s bucket list! Seeing the male with his incredibly long tail or a female with her beautiful colors, fly in to a gorgeous moss and lichen covered tree or try to tuck himself into a nest cavity is an incredible thing to see and photograph.

Following this, we will set up for a great experience the high speed hummingbird flash photography. We bring and set up our own equipment that you connect into and photograph hummingbirds in flight. Specialties of this area include the incredibly colorful Fiery Throated hummingbird!

Day 4

March 16 – Talamanca Mountain Range

Today, we will spend a full day at a very special property set up specifically for bird photography.

With gorgeous mountains providing buttery backgrounds, you will have the chance to photograph a wide range of species that include tanagers, honeycreepers, woodpeckers, parrots, silky flycatchers and more that come in to feed.

In addition, there are birds and bird activity all around the property. Take a walk around the grounds and you may find quail pecking through the leaf litter or woodpeckers nesting.

Day 5 and 6

March 17 and 18 – Arenal
After breakfast, we will travel to Arenal Observatory Lodge, right at the base of the volcano. We will spend 3 nights here.
This uniquely situated lodge sits perched on a ridge that is less than 2 miles from the most active volcano in Costa Rica, the Arenal volcano. wide-1000-

Enjoy breathtaking views of the iconic volcano as well as seven wildlife packed miles of well-maintained hiking trails which are home to over 370 exotic species of birds, as well as an abundance of other varieties of wildlife and flowers to photograph.

Because the grounds are so lush and filled great trails and fruiting trees, we will spend a full day here working the situations around the lodge.

Day 7

March 19 – Arenal

Today we will take a field trip to do some macro photography. Get ready for red-eyed tree frogs, poison dart frogs, snakes and more. You will have a wonderful chance to photograph an array of species and subjects.

Following our field trip we will return to the lodge and explore more of the great photographic situations there. From coatis to toucans, you just never know what may come in!

Days 8, 9 and 10

March 20, 21 and 22 – Boca Tapada Area
After breakfast, we will transfer for 3 nights to a lodge in the wildlife rich area of Boca Tapada in northern Costa Rica.

Located in the lowland tropical rain forest, this legendary ecolodge is known for incredible encounters with King Vultures, Toucans, and other amazing bird species. Here you may wake up to Howler monkey antics right outside your window! We will also see red-eyed tree frogs, poison dart frogs, mot mots, keel-billed toucans, kinkajous, and too many more animal and plant species to list! This is paradise and we will be in the right spot for wonderful photography!

We will be pulling out all the stops here – setting up the high speed flash equipment for more hummingbirds in flight, setting up for bat photography at night, visiting special blinds for both songbird and raptor/vulture photography, pulling out our macro gear for frog photography, and enjoying time on the deck where Toucans, Aracari, parrots, tanagers, honey creepers and an array of woodpeckers come in.

You will burn through a lot of memory cards on these last few days so be ready – this is what we have been building up to!

Day 11

March 23 – Return to San Jose
After final a morning of photography, we will return to San Jose for our last night together.

Day 12

March 24 – Travel Day
Following our farewells, you will transfer to the airport for flights home


Payment schedule

Deposit of $1,000 due with your registration
Payment #2 of $2,350 due November 15, 2023
Final Payment of $2000 due January 5, 2024

* Pricing based on double occupancy
*** Single supplement (if available) add $775

* Non-Photographer spouse/partner discount of $600

– All lodging while in Costa Rica
– All meals except the 1st and last nights dinner
– All ground transportation
– Field trips to Photo Locations
– Comprehensive Pre-trip Booklet that includes all the photo gear and other packing information for the trip as well as all other pertinent details to help you make the most of this adventure

Not included

– Air travel to and from San Jose
– Gratuities
– First and last night’s dinner while in San Jose
– Travel insurance
– Any alcoholic beverages

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Along with those beautiful birds, we will get up close and personal to photograph a wide variety of insects, lizards, snakes, and those brightly colored poison dart frogs.
As if that weren’t enough to keep those shutters clicking, we will see monkeys, sloths, and other mammals too!

A trip to Costa Rica certainly wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the exotic orchids and other unique flora of Costa Rica, along with the beautiful jungle scenery and picturesque landscapes.

As a nature photographer, it should not come as a surprise that Costa Rica is one of our favorite places in the world to photograph wildlife. We will take you to the best and most iconic locations for nature photography in all of Costa Rica!

Also for your enjoyment, we will be bringing our high-speed flash system for our participants to use while photographing hummingbirds in flight when we visit the cloud forest. You will walk away with breathtaking photographs of hummingbirds in flight that without this specialized equipment, would be impossible to do.

One important piece of advice should you decide to join us on this trip… Bring lots of memory cards, charged batteries, and a very large hard drive for all your images, because you will need it!