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The Hidden Costa Rica

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!

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About the Workshop

The Hidden Costa Rica

About the Workshop

The Hidden Costa Rica


Paulo Valerio

Paulo Valerio

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.

You can see Paulo´s photography at his website.

Greg Basco

Greg Basco

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.

Follow him on Instagram @gregbascophotography

Follow him on Facebook @deepgreenphotography

Watch his YouTube channel @DeepGreenPhotography

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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.


Internet Access

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.

Camera Gear

Recommended gear

  • Tele zoom 100-400, 150-600

  • Camera body or bodies

  • Macro lens

  • Extension tubes

  • Wide angle lens

  • Cable release

  • 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.

Itinerary includes

  • 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

  • International airfare

  • Dinner the first and last nights

  • Alcoholic Drinks

  • Tips

  • Non-mealtime snacks and drinks

  • Single room supplement - $703

Sign-up Form

Name *

Are you registering for one person or more?


Please provide names of additional people signing up with you, and please indicate if the additional people are photographers or not. We offer discounts for non-photographers on some trips.

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!

  • + Will someone be there to meet me at the airport?
    Certainly! We take care of you from the moment you step off the plane until the moment you leave to return home. We'll send you all of the info you need to know regarding arrival in a final info message before the trip.
  • + I plan to arrive a day early. Can you help?
    Definitely, we'll be happy to make your reservations to ensure that you get to the same hotel that we have booked for the official first night of the tour. By the way, private transfers to and from the airport are always included in our tours, and you can use this transfer whether you arrive early or depart later than the official dates.
  • + What kind of clothes should I bring?
    In general, your best choices are lightweight garments that breathe and dry quickly, and you'll want a mix of long sleeves and short sleeves. A light polar-tec and a good rain jacket are also good to have. For meals, it's informal at the lodges and in the region in general. A pair of jeans, tennis shoes, and a clean shirt are just fine for dinner, even in the capital city hotels. Lightweight hiking boots are fine for your photography out in the field, and if you're visiting a beach area, you will want sandals or aqua shoes as well. Of course a good hat and sunscreen are important. We will send you clothing information specific to your trip after you've signed up.
  • + Can I have laundry done?
    Many of the lodges we use offer laundry service for a cost of approximately $1 per garment with same or next day service. We will indicate to you which lodges have laundry service after you've signed up for a given trip.
  • + Can I drink the water?
    This is probably the question that our clients ask us the most. And it’s the one for which we have the least definitive answer, except to say that beer is always a safe choice!. Water in and around capital cities is treated with chlorine and generally can be consumed with no worries. The lodges that we use for our photo travel often have their own well water, which is tested regularly by the Ministry of Health. Nonetheless, upset stomachs do occur as a result of change in diet or simply bacteria different from those to which Northern stomachs are accustomed. Serious disorders such as Giardia or amoebic dysentery are virtually unheard of. Bottled water is very widely available at our hotels and lodges, and a conservative strategy would be to use it as often as possible when outside the capital. As with travel to any foreign country, immodium pills are good to have along, and some of our clients also bring along Cipro or other broad-spectrum antibiotics. Some go so far as to begin taking antibiotics before arriving in-country. For antibiotic use, we suggest you consult with your physician. That said, we have very very few problems with water and food-related issues on our tours. During the tour, we will indicate to you where and when it might be better to stick to bottled water.
  • + I'd like a single room. Can that be arranged?
    Certainly. Simply indicate your rooming preference on the workshop signup form. There may be an extra for the single room supplement. This is simply the difference due to what our hotels and lodges charge us. We do not take a commission for single room supplements.
  • + I'm traveling by myself but would like a double room. Can that be arranged?
    It depends. If we can match you up with a suitable solo traveler who also wants to share, we will be happy to place you in a double room.
  • Should I bring a tripod?
    Yes, you always want to bring a tripod. We will advise your each trip of any need for specialized heads or flash brackets.
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