Quetzals, Toucans, Hummingbirds, and More!

Costa Rica

You will come away from this workshop with a beautiful and diverse portfolio of images as well as a wealth of new knowledge to help you to continue improving and expanding your own photography at home and on your next trip to Costa Rica!

We will take care of everything you need to get great photos from the time you step off the plane in Costa Rica's capital to your departure from the country. The lodges and casual itinerary are guaranteed to offer great photo opportunities while the meals and other details are sure to please.

By booking you will ensure photographic success and be secure in the knowledge that your tourism dollar will benefit the Costa Rican environment.

As part of this trip we will also be providing several multi strobe hummingbird set-ups for participants use, making this tour an even better value!

Copyright Greg Basco


Day 1, January 21 – San José

Arrival to Costa Rica. 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 the 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, January 22 – 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 Downing

Day 3, January 23 – 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 the 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 in your tropical bird photography.

Day 4, January 24 – Atlantic Lowland Rainforest

We take this to 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!

Day 5, January 25 – Atlantic Slope Cloud Forest

After breakfast, we have some time to shoot the toucans and parrots at our restaurant feeder before travel ing 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, however, we 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.

Copyright Greg Basco

Day 6, January 26 – 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. And you can explore the cloud forest trails for macro and landscape photography.

Day 7, January 27 – 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 the 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.

Copyright Greg Basco

Day 8, January 28 – 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'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.

Day 9, January 29 – Talamanca Cloud Forest

Before breakfast, we will head out with the lodge owner to look for the 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 the local birds (Flame-colored Tanager, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Large-footed Finch, and Black and Yellow Silky Flycatcher) at our feeder setups.

Day 10, January 30 – 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!

Day 11, January 31 – Quetzals and Back to San José

This morning we have some time for our last bird photography and then 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, February 1 – Airport

Private transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Copyright Greg Downing


  • 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

Does Not Include

  • Airfare
  • Dinner the first night (January 21)
  • Airport departure tax (US $29)
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Gratuities
  • Dinner the first night
  • Non-meal time snacks
  • Non-meal time soft drinks and bottled water

If you would like to register for this workshop, please fill out the registration form. A non-refundable deposit (listed above) is required to reserve your spot. Please refer to our workshop information section for our cancellation and refund policies.

Workshop Information
  • Dates: Jan. 21 - Feb. 1, 2020 (2 openings)
  • Cost: $6,995
  • Deposit: $1,000
  • Participants: 8

Single Supplement: $500
Non-photographer discount: $1,000

The single supplement fee reflects our actual cost and is subject to availability. If you are a single traveler and we are unable to place you with a roommate, you will be placed in a single room and charged the single supplement fee.

Greg Basco

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 Photographer of the Year Competition and the Nature's Best Windland Smith Rice Competition (most recently winning the Art in Nature category in the latter). He is co-author of the popular e-book The Guide to Tropical Nature Photography and recently finished a coffee table book titled National Parks of Costa Rica. Continue reading »

Greg Downing

Greg Downing

Greg has been traveling the world teaching professional and amateur photographers for more than 15 years hosting his instructional workshops and seminars. Instructing photographers of all experience levels Greg has earned a reputation for his gracious and generous teaching style.

Greg’s images are known for their unique style, exacting composition and strict attention to detail. Continue reading »

This was a wonderful experience! The leaders were so helpful and such good teachers. They gave us wonderful advice on settings, techniques, etc. As someone who was using a bridge camera instead of a DSLR, I greatly appreciated the fact that “the Gregs” were obviously concerned with my ability to capture good images. I learned a lot. Every detail of this workshop was planned perfectly. I can’t imagine a better photography workshop for the birds of Costa Rica. So many different opportunities were in the schedule—perched birds, birds in flight, and other wildlife. I think we were all thrilled that we saw the quetzals. Great trip!
Emily S.
Quetzals, Toucans, Hummingbirds, and More - Costa Rica
The leaders, Greg Downing and Greg Basco, were phenomenal in their teachings and cared about each participant. The individual attention they had for their participants was brilliant. Both leaders worked hard to make sure the participant got the shot! They didn't take the best spot to get the best shot; they really wanted this shoot to be fun and provided the best opportunities. All that was promised happened!

We have always had a great experience with Greg Downing and NatureScapes. He never fails to give us the best opportunities for terrific photography. He always seems to find the best co-leaders such as Greg Basco of Costa Rica. The attention to detail is important and Greg makes sure it happens. I learned more in this workshop regarding flash photography.
Barbra V.
Quetzals, Toucans, Hummingbirds, and More - Costa Rica
It was the most amazing time I've ever had. Everything was top-notch, organized, and informative. I could not have asked for more.
Lee Ann R.
Quetzals, Toucans, Hummingbirds, and More - Costa Rica