Photo by: Kathy Adams Clark
Location: Costa Rica
PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

COSTA RICA ~ Tropical Bird Photography Sponsored by Houston Audubon Society

  • Guided by a Costa Rican naturalist, Professional Photo Leader Kathy Adams Clark.
  • Photographic locations filled with hummingbirds, reptiles, and tropical blooms.
  • All meals included in land cost. Tour limited to twelve participants.
  • Visit the La Selva Biological Station and Eco Observatory in Sarapqui.
  • Accommodations known for their bird feeders, hummingbirds, and gardens.
  • Savegre region, renown by birders around the world in search of the Resplendent Quetzal.
Region

Destination

Costa Rica

Dates

February 18-26, 2023

Duration

8 days

$TBD

per person, double occupancy*

*U.S. dollars based upon minimum of 10 participants.

Tour Overview

Houston Audubon Society is a proud sponsor of Kathy’s photographic tours to Costa Rica. You will concentrate on unique wildlife and bird photography during your nine-day program. She invites photographers of all skill levels and anyone with a keen interest in seeking out the vast array of tropical birds in this amazing country. There are also mammals, frogs, reptiles and butterflies.

Accommodations have been chosen wisely, taking into account open space, staying away from the crowds,...

Houston Audubon Society is a proud sponsor of Kathy’s photographic tours to Costa Rica. You will concentrate on unique wildlife and bird photography during your nine-day program. She invites photographers of all skill levels and anyone with a keen interest in seeking out the vast array of tropical birds in this amazing country. There are also mammals, frogs, reptiles and butterflies.

Accommodations have been chosen wisely, taking into account open space, staying away from the crowds, your comfort, the setting and photographic opportunities at the lodges, as well as being close to amazing landscapes, waterfalls, and closeness to your daily outings.

The government has set aside thirteen national parks, eight biological reserves, three wildlife refuges, and other areas that now comprise one fourth of the country’s land area. These far-sighted efforts have placed Costa Rica at the forefront of conservation, especially among tropical countries, where deforestation is proceeding at an alarming rate.

Costa Rica has more species of birds here than in all of North America, over 800 in a country the size of West Virginia. Among its 237 species of mammals are three-toed sloths, four species of monkeys, giant anteaters, tapirs, peccaries, jaguars, and humpback whales. Reptiles and amphibians include the Strawberry Poison Dart Frog, all five genera of sea turtles, the endangered American Crocodile, and the Basilisk Lizard, which can actually run across water. There are more butterflies in Costa Rica than on the entire continent of Africa. The plant life is spectacular; there are more than 12,000 species of plants, including a dazzling variety of trees and orchids.

Photo Leader

Kathy Adams Clark

The trip was visually wonderful. The hotel in Guanacaste gave us a nice assortment and some beautiful pictures. Some of my best photos were at Tenorio lodge. Maquenque had the honeycreepers that I loved and had much more diversity. And the vultures! Visiting a friends yard certainly worth the stop and deserves more time on future trips. It was well worth the trip even with the extra precautions and difficulties and I’m glad we were able to go. Thanks to everyone for a nice, cooperative venture. – Barb

Regarding bird species we counted 122 species!!  As for hospitality, the folks at Maquenque and Tenorio have to take the prize.  Maquenque gets a prize for serving dinner with no power – and a wonderful dessert. Tenorio gets a prize for the courteous care provided us. In general, all of our locations served as very well!

As for Kathy Adams Clark, my thoughts are best reflected by the pleasure and confidence in traveling repeatedly with you!  And, there are more trips to come!!! Similar comments can be made for the local guide!

It is a pleasure to travel with you! – Will

— B & W Hamilton

Kathy is so diligent on keeping us informed prior to the trip and what we can expect, and what we need. She is the best! Enjoy traveling with her because we have so much fun. So knowledgeable on photography and birds. Your local guide is the best! Patient and kind. Knows his birds like no other!

Your pre-departure info is always great. Love my adventures with Strabo Tours. Love the small groups and first class accommodations.

— Kim Tirlia

Your local guide is great. I love his knowledge and talks about the country, the ecosystems, and the geology of Costa Rica. He is a great birder too. Kathy’s instruction was the right amount for me. The boat trip down the San Juan River was different and a good excursion to take. I would definitely go on a trip again with Kathy, especially if the focus is photographing wildlife, nature or birds.

— B Finocchio

So many good experiences, good hotels and ecolodges for birds, great food everywhere, each location had specialties that made it well worth the travel. Every trip has special moments, and this trip had many!!!

— B. Hamilton

I had a wonderful time on the trip to Costa Rica with Kathy & Gary Clark, got some amazing pictures that I never dreamed I could have done, learned so so much and thoroughly enjoyed all the places we stayed….. I would love to go on another trip at some point.

— M. Salkowski

Kathy provided lots of very helpful one-on-one attention and advice. Very knowledgeable on birds as well as photography. And very pleasant to travel with. Logistics were very smoothly handled, and your local guide was extremely knowledgeable and experienced, terrific at spotting and identifying birds and other wildlife.

— D.BREWER

I learned so much from Kathy Adams Clark that I feel I have more tools to become a better photographer. Kathy is just delightful as a person and a great teacher! The amount of knowledge your local guide knows and imparted certainly made the tour richer as I learned much about birds and plants. He was delightful. By in large the whole trip was beautiful. Every place we went opened up a world I had not seen and enjoyed.

— J. Karel

Kathy is always good, but she went the extra mile. She assisted me in getting the best hummingbird photo’s I have ever taken. I particularly appreciated all the time and effort Kathy spent in setting up lights and backgrounds to enable us to get wonderful hummingbird shots. Results were fantastic. Great trip!!!

— J. Braud

Lots of very helpful one-on-one attention and advice. Very knowledgeable on birds as well as photography. And very pleasant to travel with. Logistics of tour were smoothly handled. Kathy was a 10!!

— D. Brewer

Everywhere we went was a highlight. Every place had something special. Kathy was a 10+, she was always there to give photo suggestions, help with equipment and locating things to photograph. She is an excellent teacher!

— B & R Nelson

Excellent attention to detail, with the perfect leader and guide for the trip.

— A. Mueller

The trip was amazing and seamless!!!

— D. Pando

I love Costa Rica and your operations provide for a great trip. I never wanted for anything!

— C. Weber

Tour Itinerary

February 18: Home – San José

Your Costa Rican adventure begins today as you board your flight to San José, the country’s capital city. Everyone will be transferred from the airport to the hotel up on arrival. This will be your first opportunity to see tropical flowers and birds on the hotel grounds. Enjoy a welcome dinner and orientation meeting. Overnight San Jose (D)

February 19-20: Savegre

Make your way through the Cerro de la Muerte area, stopping along stunning mountain roads to photograph birds and local sights. Your destination today is at a charming, Costa Rican owned property hidden away in the picturesque San Gerardo de Dota Valley of Costa Rica’s southern Talamanca Mountain range. The misty and beautiful surroundings provide a unique opportunity to enjoy the views and sounds of the cloud forest, as well as discover the wonders of Costa Rica’s unspoiled ecology. This afternoon you will visit the Batsú Gardens where every detail has been intentionally designed for birding and bird photography.

You will have another day in this virtually undiscovered location, photographing the lovely tropical gardens, lush flowers, clear mountain stream, forest landscape, looking for great shots of the Resplendent Quetzals and hummingbirds. Overnight Savegre (B, L, D) both days

February 21-22: Turrialba Area

The destination for the next two evenings is the Turrialba region. The ranch lies on 125 acres in pre-mountain rain forest located in the Tuis Valley, at the northern limit of Costa Rica’s Talamanca Mountains. Surrounding areas offer an impressive 300 species of birds – many of which are difficult or impossible to see in other parts of the country.

You will be impressed with the famous hummingbird pools where Snowcap and Purple-crowned Fairy are regular bathers. The numerous hummingbird feeders offer a wonderful opportunity to photograph White-necked Jacobin, Green Violet-ear, and Green-crowned Brilliant species. The beautiful old tree off the veranda that is covered with bananas, attracts Fiery-billed Aracari, Passerini Tanager, and other topical birds. Photograph hummingbird with a stop-action studio at this location. The ranch is somewhat eclectic, with a main house and additional hotel-style rooms in separate but nearby buildings. Balanced, nutritious meals are prepared and served family-style in the cozy dining room. Overnight Turrialba (B, L, D) both days.

February 23-24: Sarapiqui

Early this morning join Kathy on one of the balconies as you enjoy additional photography as the rufous-crowned sparrows and parrots fly overhead in the beautiful gardens surrounding the hotel. Blue-gray Tanagers are easy to photograph as they feed outside the dining room and Blue-crowned Motmot occasionally perch out in the garden. On the way to the Sarapiqui region, there will be a photography stop at a local artist home where there is a fantastic photo blind in his backyard.

Sarapiqui is one of the most exuberant and luscious places in Costa Rica, especially with respect to the rainforest. It is named after a river and rests at the base of the Central Volcanic Mountain Range. The program includes your first visit this afternoon to a lovely nature park.

Sarapiqui Eco-Observatory consists of three covered open-air observation decks for world-class photography and bird watching. Enjoy a spectacular display of beautifully colored Costa Rica birds as they perch just feet away. Over 215 bird species exist here including the Keel-billed Toucan, Crimson-collard Tangaer, and the White-necked Jacobin.

The next day, visit the La Selva Biological Station, a rainforest reserve and research station. Founded in the late sixties, La Selva is perhaps the longest running and, certainly, one of the most prestigious research stations on tropical rainforest anywhere in the world. It forms part of a much larger protected area, which includes Braulio Carrillo National Park. The trails are very easy to negotiate, ranging from paved to hard-packed earth. Afterward visit the nearby Frog Haven. Overnight Sarapiqui (B, L, D both days)

February 25: San Jose

Start the day early with another photography shoot at the Sarapiqui Eco-Observatory. The program returns here this morning to capture the bird and wildlife in different light and activity levels.

There will be a photographic stop along the way back to San Jose in Cinchona. Enjoy a break while photographing hummingbirds, emerald toucanet, and black guan. Enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel. Overnight San Jose (B,L,D).

February 26: Departure for Home

After breakfast transfer to Juan Santamaria International Airport to take your flight back home. (B)