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Quetzals, Toucans, Hummingbirds, and More!

Costa Rica

Greg Downing
Greg Basco
Photography Workshop with Greg Downing and Greg Basco
8 people maximum
12 days
Join us on a Costa Rica bird photography workshop to discover the diversity and beauty of tropical birds and more within rain and cloud forests—while learning new techniques that you can use everywhere!

Trip Highlights

  • Return home from this workshop with a diverse portfolio and a wealth of knowledge to continue improving and expanding your own photography anywhere.
  • We will take care of everything you need to get great photos from the time you step off the plane in Costa Rica to your departure.
  • The lodges and casual itinerary are guaranteed to offer great photo opportunities while the meals and other details are sure to please.
  • By booking this photo workshop your tourism dollar will benefit the Costa Rican environment.
  • Several multi-strobe hummingbird set-ups will be provided during the trip for your use, making this workshop an even better value!

Dates

Main Trip, 8 people maximum

  • January 21–February 1, 2020 (SOLD OUT)
  • January 20–February 1, 2021 (SOLD OUT)

Cost Per Person (USD)

Price from $6,995
Full details

Want to talk first?

Call 1-888-667-0559 or 410-239-8025, Monday–Friday, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM Eastern Time. You can also send an email to editors@naturescapes.net.

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival to Costa Rica - San José

Upon arrival you will meet our representative at the Juan Santamaría International Airport and transfer to your hotel near the capital city of San José, where Foto Verde Tours’ Greg Basco will be awaiting your arrival.

Those who arrive early can take the afternoon to photograph beautiful orchids and other tropical flowers in the hotel’s expansive gardens. The hotel has free wireless Internet throughout the grounds and in the rooms.

Day 2
Atlantic Lowland Rainforest

After an early breakfast, we check out and head to our first destination, a rainforest lodge where we have worked to set up a feeder that offers unparalleled opportunities to photograph keel-billed toucans, chestnut-mandibled toucans, and brown-hooded parrots among many other birds. We arrive at the lodge for lunch and set in immediately to photograph at the feeders! This evening, we will have a presentation on fill-flash for bird and wildlife photography.

Copyright Greg Basco

Day 3
Atlantic Lowland Rainforest

Today we divide our time at the lodge among photographing toucans, honeycreepers, and hummingbirds and visiting the lodge manager’s house where we have worked with the lodge manager to set up two blinds: one for honeycreepers (including green honeycreeper, red-legged honeycreeper, shining honeycreeper, and blue dacnis) and one for a multiple-flash hummingbird setup where you will have the opportunity to photograph lowland hummingbird species including crowned woodnymph, white-necked jacobin, green-breasted mango, scaly-breasted hummingbird, and long-billed hermit. Tropical bird photography doesn’t get any better! Tonight we’ll enjoy a presentation on getting creative with your tropical bird photography.

Day 4
Atlantic Lowland Rainforest

On this day we will shoot toucans, parrots, and tanagers at the lodge, and we’ll also focus on a setup for the very handsome great curassow. We also have two special treats today: a macro session to photograph tree frogs and poison frogs as well as insects, lizards, and snakes and then in the evening, bat photography!

Copyright Greg Basco

Day 5
Atlantic Slope Cloud Forest

After breakfast, we have some time to shoot toucans and parrots at our restaurant feeder before traveling toward the higher cloud forests of the northern Central Volcanic Mountain Range and our last lodge and photography base for the rest of our trip.

Our lodge is located in one of the most biodiverse areas of the country, nestled in a picturesque valley at approximately 4,500 feet above sea level. With its rushing mountain streams, cool air, and orchid and moss-festooned trees, the area is akin to a tropical Colorado.

En route we will stop at a nearby local farm where the owner has a great population of scarlet and great green macaws. We’ll enjoy a delicious lunch at the owner’s farmhouse and then take the afternoon to photograph the macaws both in-flight and on attractive perches. This evening, we will have a presentation on the technical and artistic aspects of multiple-flash hummingbird photography.

“I have participated in several photo workshops and this one is the best of them all. Instruction was mostly one-on-one, so appropriate to individual needs based on skill level and photo equipment. Greg Basco and Greg Downing are the greatest! Big bonus: participants were excellent photographers willing to share knowledge. Wonderful group of people.”

Joy H.

Day 6
Atlantic Slope Cloud Forest

After breakfast today, we set in immediately to begin photographing hummingbirds at our multi-flash setups right on the lodge grounds. We will concentrate on the violet sabrewing (Costa Rica’s largest species), green hermit, purple-throated mountain gem, and green-crowned brilliant.

Greg and Doug will run the setups and provide attractive native flowers to ensure that you capture some fantastic hummingbird images. When not on the setups, you can relax and download images, shoot the black guan, silver-throated tanagers, agouti, and coatimundi that frequent the lodge grounds. As a bonus, you can also explore the cloud forest trails for macro and landscape photography opportunities.

Copyright Greg Downing

Day 7
Atlantic Slope Cloud Forest

After breakfast we visit a nearby waterfall, which is 110 meters high and offers beautiful photographic opportunities of the waterfall itself and surrounding cloud forest. There are some absolutely world-class landscape and lush tropical foliage images to be made here.

In addition, we have permission to set up our multiple-flash here to take advantage of some very interesting small hummingbird species such as black-bellied hummingbird, coppery-headed emerald, and green thorntail and others such as the endemic white-bellied mountain gem and the perennial favorite, the green hermit. We’ll shoot throughout the day, alternating our time between the setups, perched hummingbirds, and landscape photography.

Day 8
Talamanca Cloud Forest

After an early breakfast this morning, we head across and then up into the Talamanca Mountain Range en route to our last destination, the high cloud forests just on the Pacific side of the Continental Divide.

We arrive to our family-run lodge for lunch and then settle in working at our new private photo area. This is a new area that is a collaborative effort between the family that owns the lodge and Greg Basco’s company Foto Verde Tours. We’ll spend the afternoon photographing the amazing fiery-throated hummingbird as well as other hummingbird species such as the green violet-ear and magnificent hummingbird.

Copyright Greg Downing

Day 9
Talamanca Cloud Forest

Before breakfast, we will head out with the lodge owner to look for resplendent quetzal, the Holy Grail for neotropical bird photographers. The lodge owner and his family have started a project to work with local farmers in the area to monitor and protect the quetzal, and this network exponentially raises our probability of getting a good photographic look at this beautiful species.

After breakfast, we’ll work in our new private photo area for multi-flash hummingbird photography and also photograph local birds such as flame-colored tanager, rufous-collared sparrow, large-footed finch, and black and yellow silky flycatcher at our feeder setups.

Day 10
Talamanca Cloud Forest

We’ll take the whole day today to search for the resplendent quetzal and will also visit a local house to photograph acorn woodpeckers and the long-tailed silky flycatcher. We return to our lodge in early evening for a relaxing dinner after a busy day!

Copyright Greg Basco

Day 11
Quetzals and Back to San José

This morning we have some time for our last bird photography prior to check-out to head back to the capital city. We arrive to our city hotel for lunch. We’ll take the afternoon to go over image captioning and a bit of post-processing before enjoying a farewell dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Day 12
Airport

On this day you will take a private transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Copyright Greg Downing

Includes

  • Full-time photo instruction and setups by Greg Downing and Greg Basco.
  • Lodging as specified.
  • Meals as specified.
  • Private transfers to and from hotels on first and last days.
  • Professional driver/photo/nature guide and private transportation in spacious tour bus.
  • Multiple-flash hummingbird photography setup equipment.
  • Entrance fees for all described activities.
  • Taxes on all services listed above.

Copyright Greg Basco

Does Not Include

  • Airfare
  • Dinner the first night.
  • Airport departure tax (U.S. $29).
  • Alcoholic drinks.
  • Gratuities
  • Dinner the first night.
  • Non-mealtime snacks.
  • Non-mealtime soft drinks and bottled water.

Dates and Cost

Dates

Main Trip, 8 people maximum

  • January 21–February 1, 2020 (SOLD OUT)
  • January 20–February 1, 2021 (SOLD OUT)

Cost Per Person (USD)

  • Trip: $6,995 (2020, 2021)
  • Deposit: $1,000
  • Single Supplement: $500

Trip Details

Dates

Main Trip, 8 people maximum

  • January 21–February 1, 2020 (SOLD OUT)
  • January 20–February 1, 2021 (SOLD OUT)

Cost Per Person (USD)

  • Trip: $6,995 (2020, 2021)
  • Deposit: $1,000
  • Single Supplement: $500

Single Supplements

Single supplement fees reflect our actual cost and are subject to availability. If you're a single traveler and we're unable to place you with a roommate, we will need to place you in a single room and charge a single supplement.

Travel Ratings

Easy Activity
Intermediate Photographers
Based on Land
Non-Photographers: Yes, Limited, Save $1,000

Map

Leaders and Guides

Greg Downing

Greg has been traveling the world teaching professional and amateur photographers for more than 15 years hosting his instructional workshops and...Continue reading

Greg Basco

Greg Basco lives and works in Costa Rica where he photographs the rainforest. His photos have been awarded in both the Veolia Wildlife...Continue reading

Photo Gallery

Registration

To register for this trip fill out and submit your registration form. A non-refundable deposit (above) is required to reserve your spot. See the About Our Trips page for cancellation/refund policies and other important information.

Want to talk first?

Call 1-888-667-0559 or 410-239-8025, Monday–Friday, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM Eastern Time. You can also send an email to editors@naturescapes.net.

Planning Your Trip

What Other Photographers Are Saying
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