Nature Photography tour Costa Rica

Day 1: arrival – Hotel Buena Vista

Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by a representative of Aratinga Tours and transferred to Hotel Buena Vista, a nice and quiet hotel at 15 minutes from the airport in the middle of the coffee plantations with spectacular views of the Central Valley…

Day 2,3 +4: Laguna de Lagarto Lodge – La Paz Waterfall Gardens – King vulture hide

On the way to the Caribbean lowlands you will pass by beautiful cloudforest on the flanks of Poas Volcano and have a stop at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. This is a theme park around the biodiversity of Costa Rica. You will have access to a spacious aviary for bird photography of toucans, motmots and colorful tanagers. There is also a hummingbird garden where some spectacular species (Violet Sabrewing, Green-crowned Brilliant, Coppery-headed Emerald,…) can be approached within one meter. Besides birds, other aspects of nature photography can be enjoyed at the butterfly garden,  frog garden with colorful Poisson Dart Frogs and Red-eyed Leaf Frogs and a trail parallel to a set spectacular waterfalls pounding down the cloudforest… the next day you will stay in the remote Laguna de Lagarto Lodge where you will have access to platforms especially designed for photographers with eye-level view of a feeding station where some of the most beautiful birds of Costa Rica can be photographed from close distance. We can almost guarantee Keel-billed Toucan, Montezuma Oropendola’s, Brown-hooded Parrots and several colorful tanagers and Woodpeckers. At night you will be invited to participate in a bat photography workshop during which you can photograph feeding bats hovering in front a white flower.  In addition you will be invited to the  unique King Vulture hide. The King Vulturecan be seen sometimes soaring high in the sky, being within a few meters of this majestic vulture is an absolute once-in-a-lifetime experience…

Day 5, 6 + 7: Arenal Observatory Lodge – Danaus Ecocenter

You will continue your Costa Rica nature photography tour to the middle elevation rainforest around the active Arenal Volcano. In the remote Arenal Observatory Lodge you will have great views of the geometrically almost perfect cone of the Arenal volcano towering above the emerald rainforest. There are several great viewpoints on the hotel grounds from where to take dramatic landscape pictures. Besides that you will be able to enjoy the bird photography at the the feeding stations near the restaurant with possibilities for Great Currasow, Montezuma Oropendola, Passerini’s Tanager and Golden-hooded Tanager. On day 6 you will visit the small private reserve of Danaus. At a small pond in the middle of the reserve there is a breeding colony of Boat-billed Herons that are easy to approach. besides that Emerald Basilisks and Spectacled Caiman might be around…

Day 8 + 9: Cerro Lodge – Tarcoles River

You will leave the Caribbean lowlands and descend to the Central Pacific Coast, where you will stay in Cerro Lodge: a small remote lodge with panoramic views of the mangroves in front of the Pacific Ocean on one side and the with rainforest covered hills of Parque Nacional Carara on the other side. Cerro Lodge is the ideal place to observe and photograph the spectacular Scarlet Macaws. They are often seen flying overhead or with some luck at eye level in noisy couples in the early morning or late afternoon. Often they can also seen feeding on trees near the lodge. On day 8 we will schedule a unique bird photography tour in Orotina in search of nocturnal birds with chances for Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Pacific Screech Owl and Barn Owl among many others…on day 9 you can enjoy two private boat tours on the Tarcoles River where you can expect to be overwhelmed by a wide variety of water-related birds: several heron species, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbills, Northern Jacana’s, Mangrove Black Hawks, Ospreys, Brown Pelicans, Magnificent Frigatbirds and up to 5 species of Kingfishers.  Besides that often large American Crocodiles can be seen and approached sunbathing on the sandy riverbanks. The boattours will be scheduled in the early morning and late afternoon with the soft light of the rising and setting sun respectively…

Day 10, 11 + 12: Quetzal Paradise Lodge – Cerro de la Muerte

You will continue up the slopes of the Cerro de la Muerte, one of Costa Rica’s highest mountain peaks. Gradually you will get into thick cloudforest. At the highest point you will be above the  tree line and at a clear day will be able to enjoy stunning landscapes all the way up to the Pacific Ocean…Your final destination is Quetzal Paradise Lodge, a small family run lodge at the edge of the cloudforest at 2500 m with great views of the surrounding dramatic mountain scene. Here you will be offered a unique multiflash photography workshop to make dramatic action pictures of hummingbirds hovering in front of a flower. up to 5 species can be expected including the spectacular Fiery-throated Hummingbird. . Besides hummingbirds you can expect the pretty Flame-colored Tanager, Yellow-thighed Finch and Acorn Woodpecker at the corn feeders. On day 11 you will go on a private tour in search of the Respldent Quetzal. The male of this trogon is iridescent red and green and has a tail of about 1 meters long. Some say this is the most beautiful birds of the American continent…

Day 13 + 14: Hotel Bougainvillea – Santo Domingo de Heredia

You will return to San José, where you will spent the last night in Hotel Bougainvillea, in a quiet neighborhood in the outskirts of San José. Here you can enjoy a beautiful botanical garden with many colorful birds and butterflies, where some interesting tropical plants are represented like gingers, heliconia’s, bromeliads and many orchids….The next day (day 14) you will be transferred to the airport. End of trip.

What is included ?:

  • All accommodations in double rooms with private bathrooms
  • 3 meals a day: from breakfast day 2 untill breakfast day 14
  • Activities / tours as described above, including all entrance fees
  • Rental car from day 2 until (and including) day 13: Geely GX3 (automatic transmission) 4×2 + full cover insurance + mobile router that generates Wi-Fi signal
  • Entrance fees
  • Detailed  information package: practical information + background information.
  • Acces to English-speaking help-desk of Aratinga Tours during your Costa Rica tour. 7 days a week, during office hours

Extra costs

  • International flight
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tips to local guides

Price (per person, with 2 persons participating,  staying in double rooms) : 

  • May 1st – June 30th 2024: 3150 usd 
  • July 1st – August 31st 2024: 3150 usd
  • September 1st – October 31st 2024: 3200 usd 
  • November 1st 2024- April 30th 2025: 3640 usd
  • May 1st – June 30th 2025: 3335 usd
  • July 1st – August 31st 2025: 3565 usd
  • September 1st – October 31st 2025: 3335 usd 

If you prefer not to drive a rental car, please ask a quote for transportation by private transfers at

For bookings and questions please contact us: or through Whatsapp