Costa Rica: Tropical Landscapes and Wildlife

Join us for a wild experience in Costa Rica, as we search for and photograph dozens of spectacular animal species and take in the breathtaking beauty of this country's rainforests, mountains, and beaches. Veteran MW Pro Juan Pons is joined by local pro and guide Greg Basco. Together they will guide you and instruct you while you capture the wildlife and landscape photos you've been dreaming about.

As the capital of eco-tourism in Central America, Costa Rica boasts the world's largest percentage of protected habitat in land area—a staggering 23.4%. This well-established system of national parks and protected areas are the primary reason why Costa Rica is home to a rich variety of plants and animals. While the country only has about 0.03% of the world's landmass it contains a staggering 6% of the world's biodiversity.

This tiny country is home to an immense number of animals, including an amazing 894 species of birds, 250 species of mammals, 1,251 species of butterflies, and at least 8,000 species of moths, not to mention the scores of reptiles and amphibians.

During this workshop we will visit a number of different habitats in our search for a plethora of wildlife including, but not limited to, Scarlet and Great Green Macaws, tree frogs, poison dart frogs, toucans, white-faced capuchin monkeys, sloths, leafcutter and acacia ants, many kinds of hummingbirds, and best of all, the famed Resplendent Quetzal. 

Come and experience a wildlife photo workshop like no other.


Costa Rica




April 28–May 8, 2019

Fitness Level:


Your Pros:

Limited to 8 guests

Juan was a great teacher, always supportive, very knowledgeable, funny and talented. He paid close attention to all students and met our various experience levels. As one of the less experienced people in the group, I never once felt out of place or disregarded. Thanks for a great experience.
— Kathy Martin, Acadia ’15, Yukon Northern Lights ’16, Norway ’17, Greenland ’17, Antarctica ’17 Patagonia, ‘17

Itinerary and General Information

April 28, 2019: Arrive at Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose Costa Rica (SJO). Our hotel is surrounded by a beautiful tropical garden filled with great subjects for macro photography, including orchids, bromeliads, and passionflowers. Our kick-off dinner will be a chance for everyone to meet, and for us to talk about the days ahead.

April 29, 2019: After breakfast, we depart for the lowland rainforests of the Sarapiqui region. We stop en route for photography of tree frogs, poison frogs, and lizards at the house of a local naturalist. In addition to the photography, we'll also enjoy a delicious home-cooked Costa Rican lunch. We arrive to our rainforest hotel this evening with time to check in and enjoy a relaxing dinner.

April 30, 2019: This morning we head to a nearby destination for some bird photography We'll be setting up great perches for colorful tanagers and honeycreepers and, with a bit of luck, we may be able to photograph aracaris, toucans, and motmots too! We also hope to photograph a few different species of lowland hummingbirds. We then head to a nearby farm for a delicious homecooked lunch and then an afternoon photographing wild Scarlet and Great Green Macaws both in flight and in the trees—an unparalleled opportunity! We return to our lodge in the evening with time to relax and enjoy dinner after this busy day of photography.

May 1, 2019: After breakfast this morning we depart and head to Costa Rica's Central Pacific Coast and the famed rainforests surrounding the Carara National Park. We arrive to our hotel for lunch, and then take the afternoon to photograph spiny iguanas, birds, and leafcutter and acacia ants right on the hotel grounds. In the late afternoon, we head to a nearby river bridge to photograph large American crocodiles.

May 2, 2019: After an early breakfast this morning we have a boat tour on the Tarcoles River where we will photograph egrets, herons, kingfishers, and crocodiles. We return to our lodge and take the rest of the morning to download photos and have a quick image review. After lunch, we again head out in our private boat to photograph magnificent frigatebirds, pelicans, and bare-throated tiger heron in another section of the river.

May 3, 2019: We head down the coast toward one of the most beautiful coastal rainforest areas in the country. We stop en route to photograph in the famed Manuel Antonio National Park, a great place to photograph white-faced capuchin monkeys as well as iguanas, crab-eating raccoons, and three-toed sloths. We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and the arrive to our nearby hotel in late afternoon with time to check in and relax before dinner.

May 4, 2019: First, we'll visit a fantastic set of waterfalls tucked away in the hills above the coast. We enjoy a great traditional lunch on a farm that is near the waterfalls. In the later afternoon we visit a beautiful beach for sunset photography. This beach offers a number of different compositional options that include striated rocks, palm trees, and breaking waves. It's true tropical paradise for a landscape photographer! We return to our hotel for a late dinner this evening and time to relax after this busy day.

May 5, 2019: We head up into Costa Rica's highest mountain range, a misty, enchanted habitat that is home to hummingbirds and the famed Resplendent Quetzal. We arrive to our lodge for lunch and check-in, and then spend the afternoon photographing the colorful fiery-throated hummingbird, one of the most beautiful hummingbirds in Central America. Before dinner this evening, we can relax around the fire in the dining room and work on some image processing.

May 6, 2019: We are up very early today to head out to photograph the Resplendent quetzal. Our lodge has developed a network of local farmers who aid in protecting habitat for this mystical bird, and we will know the best place to find one for our photos. After our photo session, we grab a quick breakfast and then head to a nearby valley, where we will spend the afternoon photographing birds. Our target birds are flame-colored tanagers, acorn woodpeckers, silver-throated tanager, and the beautiful little scintillant hummingbird. We return to our lodge in the evening to relax around the fire and dinner.

May 7, 2019: We head out early again this morning for another chance at the quetzal. We then grab breakfast before packing up and checking out. On the way back to San Jose we'll stop for a light lunch and arrive to our capital city by early afternoon. We'll have time to relax and work on images and have a final image review at the hotel before enjoying our farewell dinner as a group.

May 8, 2019: We will arrange transfer to the Juan Santamaría International Airport for your flights home.

What’s Included

  • Double occupancy lodging (single available, just ask)
  • All transportation and meals during the workshop
  • Tips for drivers and guides
  • Photographic guiding and instruction from two pros
  • Image reviews, post-processing instruction
  • Fun, inspiration and a great time!

Whats Not Included?

International flights to and from San José, Costa Rica. Passport and visa fees. Mandatory Travel Medical Insurance and Medical Evacuation InsuranceOptional Trip Cancellation Insurance. Alcoholic beverages, laundry, and any items of a personal nature. Anything not specifically listed as included.

Payment Terms

Your deposit of $4,000 will hold your place in this workshop. The balance of $5,995 will be due not later than January 1, 2019. All of our Terms and Conditions apply.

Additional Information

Our workshops fill up fast and well in advance. If this workshop has your name on it, click the "Sign Me Up! button now to secure your spot, and we'll see you in Costa Rica!