The Hidden Costa Rica
Aug. 16 to 27, 2020
This brand new workshop - designed by us especially for you - will be amazing! We'll be teaching you our secrets for stunning images of Costa Rica's rarely seen frogs, lizards, snakes, arachnids, flowers, and mushrooms. From tight macro shots to wide angle work to portray our subjects in the environment, we pack this workshop full of surprising and innovative techniques. Learn how to use flash for a natural look no matter what the scenario, how to simulate moonlight in the rainforest, and how to shoot macro with reflections. We're pulling out all the stops to make this an unforgettable photographic experience!
Aug. 16 to 27, 2020
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View the itinerary below, read more about the tour, or sign up now!
About the Workshop
The Hidden Costa Rica
About the Workshop
The Hidden Costa Rica
Costa Rican born and raised, Paulo Valerio is an ecologist, tourism entrepreneur, and nature photographer. Paulo graduated as a tropical ecologist from the Biology School of the National University. During his graduate studies, he specialized in the development of sampling and research methods for high-flying bats in the rainforest canopy.
Involved with ecotourism since 1992, Paulo has worked as a naturalist guide and field instructor for several companies, has developed and directed field study programs and taught tropical ecology at various universities in Costa Rica and the US.. He is also a nature photographer and birdwatcher. Paulo recently also decided to pursue a long time interest and passion and obtained his PhD in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture.
Gregory Basco is a professional nature photographer based in Costa Rica. After completing graduate degrees in political science and tropical ecology (his doctoral dissertation focused on the politics of ecotourism in Costa Rica), Greg worked in conservation before turning to photography full-time in 2006. His images have been awarded in the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Nature's Best Windland Smith Rice competitions and have appeared in numerous magazines and books around the world.
His latest major project is the second edition of the large format printed book National Parks of Costa Rica in conjunction with Zona Tropical and Cornell University Press. His popular e-books include The Guide to Tropical Nature Photography, the mega e-book Flash for the Nature Photographer, and the new Complete Video Guide to Lightroom for the Nature Photographer.
You can see more of Greg's work at his website.
You should arrive to and depart from Costa Rica's Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). Our driver will be waiting to provide your private transfer to our capital city hotel.
Electrical outlets are US-style. Those coming from Europe or Asia may need travel adapters. We will send more info after signup.
We strongly recommend you purchase trip insurance that includes trip cancellation and medical coverage while overseas.
Costa Rica does not require any vaccionations to enter the country. Please consult with your doctor regarding general travel vaccinations.
All of our hotels have free WIFI. We will also have cell data coverage throughout the trip.
All of our services are conducted by fully licensed travel, lodge, and transport operators. This is part of our commitment to providing a professional travel experience.
Tele zoom 100-400, 150-600
Camera body or bodies
Wide angle lens
Off-camera TTL flash cord
Flash x 2
Rain cover for camera
Small softbox or diffuser
Small pack or shoulder bag for daily shooting
View the full Itinerary +
Day 1, Arrival/San Jose
Arrival to Costa Rica. Meet our representative at the Juan Santamaría International Airport and transfer to our hotel near the capital city of San José, where Foto Verde Tours’ Greg Basco will be waiting for you. Our hotel is surrounded by a beautiful tropical garden filled with great subjects for macro photography, including orchids, bromeliads, and passionflowers. There is free wireless Internet throughout the property.
Day 2, San Jose
After breakfast, we spend the morning in the classroom going over the techniques that we’ll be employing during our time out in the field but with a special emphasis on using flash for natural-looking images. Throughout the day we’ll be working on these techniques in the fantastic gardens right behind the hotel. The orchids, bromeliads, heliconias, and passion flowers in the gardens are simply amazing, and there are even some cool frogs and bugs.
Day 3, Arenal Volcano
After breakfast, we travel to the Arenal Volcano area. We go directly to the EcoZoo that our friend Victor and his family have run for years. They are some of the foremost experts on herpetelogical collection, education, and handling. We'll enjoy a nice lunch right on site and then take the afternoon to start photographing some of the cool animals in their collection using the techniques we practiced the previous day. We arrive to our lodge in the early evening and then enjoy a relaxing dinner. Our lodge affords some of the area’s best photographic views of the famous Arenal volcano and offers fantastic sunset views over Lake Arenal and the surrounding hills.
Day 4, Arenal Volcano
Today we will divide the group in two. Half the group will go to Victor's place to continue photographing glass frogs, tree frogs, lizards, and snakes. We will photograph all of these animals on natural stages that we will set up on site. This half of the group will enjoy a delicious home-cooked lunch as well as refreshments and coffee throughout the day.
The other half of the group will spend the morning on the lodge grounds photographing oropendolas, honeycreepers, and tanagers at the lodges fruit feeders as well as various species of hummingbirds that visit the hedges. We'll then head to town for a bite to eat before visiting a local nature refuge that offers great photo opportunities for butterflies, caterpillars, sloths, and spectacled caimans as well as some colorful birds.
We all meet back at the lodge in late afternoon to photograph the sunset and the Arenal Volcano.
Day 5, Arenal Volcano
Today we switch groups and do it all again!
Day 6, Arenal Volcano
After breakfast today, we take a different tack for our photography this day – wide angle closeups of animals in the environment! We'll head out to a few nearby sites to photograph animals from Victor's collection at photographic sites that we've previously scouted with overlooks of Lake Arenal. We return for lunch at the lodge and then head out into the forest reserve right at our lodge for more wide angle macro photography. And in the evening, we'll all work together with flashlights to produce a moonlit look for photos of boa constrictors and lizards in the forest, an incredible experience where you'll learn an innovative technique that Greg has been perfecting over the past couple of years.
Day 7, Lowland Rainforest
After breakfast today, we have some time to process images and then pack for departure to our next area, the lowland rainforests of Sarapiqui. En route we stop for a delicious homemade lunch at a local farm and a fantastic photo session with beautiful wild, free-flying Scarlet and Great Green macaws! We arrive to our lodge in late afternoon. We'll then photograph red-eyed tree frogs at a pond right outside the lodge restaurant before enjoying a nice dinner.
Day 8, Lowland Rainforest
This morning after breakfast, we have a visit to the house of one of our friends to photograph a number of different species of colorful native frogs, lizards, snakes, birds, and hummingbirds. We'll spend all day with our friend, enjoying a delicious typical lunch prepared right on site by his wife. We return to our lodge for a cold drink and a pizza dinner!
Day 9, Cloud Forest
After breakfast this morning, we travel to the higher cloud forests of the northern Central Volcanic Mountain Range, and our next lodge, which 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. We make a lunch stop at a beautiful waterfall for some landscape photography. We then arrive to our lodge in mid-afternoon with time to get settled in and then photograph hummingbirds on attractive perches. We'll take a night hike in the forest tonight to look for subjects for our macro photography tomorrow.
Day 10, Cloud Forest
Today we take the entire day for macro photography in our lodge's beautiful cloud forest reserve, which is filled with great orchids and mushrooms. We'll work with macro and wide angle lenses.
Day 11, Cloud Forest/San Jose
After breakfast, we pack up and head back toward San Jose. En route we have a couple of special treats. First, we'll make a stop for a coffee tour at a sustainable, organic coffee farm owned by some of Greg's friends. We then enjoy a delicious traditional-style Costa Rican lunch. We arrive to our capital city hotel in late afternoon and then we'll enjoy a farewell dinner in the hotel restaurant.
Day 12, Airport
Private transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Lodging as specified in DBL occupancy
Meals as specified
Private transfers to and from airports and hotels on first and last days
Professional driver and private transportation in spacious, air-conditioned tour bus
Full-time photographic instruction
Full-time natural history/ecology info of our subjects
Entrances and fees for all described activities
Taxes on all services listed above
Itinerary does not include
Dinner the first and last nights
Non-mealtime snacks and drinks
Single room supplement - $703
Booking a tour with us is easy!
1. Register for your tour using the form at the end of each workshop page.
4. Send us your traveler info form.
2. Send us your reserve deposit.
5. We will send you your final invoice.
3. Book your international air travel.
6. We´ll send you everything you need to know before you hop on the plane!