Costa Rica Lowlands Photography Workshop

Costa Rica Photo Tour: Tropical Lowlands Photography Adventure

In Upcoming Workshops, Costa Rica Photo Workshop by Matt Shetzer


February 17 - 27, 2025

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April 12 - 22, 2026

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Important Details

Locations:Tropical lowlands of Costa Rica


  • $6,995 USD per person
  • Single supplement (private room) $650 USD

Deposit: $1,000

Group Size: Max. 6 photographers

Duration: 11 days, 10 nights

Skill Level: Beginner to pro

Discount: Non-photographers get $250 off!

Trip Leader: Matt Shetzer

Costa Rica Photo WorkshopJoin us on our 11-day photographic adventure through Costa Rica’s beautiful tropical lowlands (and a few days in the highlands).

Capture beautiful images of birds, monkeys, frogs, hummingbirds, bats, sloths, snakes as well as the vibrant green landscape.

During the photo workshop, we will visit Tortuguero National Park and have custom photography boat trips to explore the fresh water canals (similar to Brazils Pantanal) that are full of diverse wildlife, as well as explore Northern Costa Rica’s rainforest as we focus on the wildlife that calls this area home.

We will also visit family farms and reserves that specialize in frogs, monkeys, colorful macaws, and the other birds that live in the forest of these properties.

We will take a journey up to the highlands to photography one of the most beautiful birds in the world, the Resplendent Quetzal, along with some stunning hummingbirds such as the fiery throated hummingbird.

During the Costa Rica Tropical Lowlands photography workshop, we will share our photographic techniques for creating images of nectar feeding bats at night with flash photography setups.

Learn how to freeze the hummingbirds and bats wings and capture tack sharp detail as they visit our flowers.

We will show you how to use flashes controlled by radio triggers to produce an effective shutter speed of 1/5,000 of a second producing amazing detail.

Topics we will cover:

  • Techniques for wildlife photography
  • Macro photography and lighting
  • Balancing fill flash and natural light
  • Natural light techniques for creating sharp and blurred wing images
  • Priority exposures vs manual exposure – Benefits of each mode
  • Getting the most out of the histogram
  • Techniques for sharp in-flight photos
  • Camera settings for auto-focus in different scenarios
  • Different metering modes
  • Techniques for sharp and high quality images
  • Remote flash techniques and flash placement
  • Image post processing with Lightroom and Photoshop
  • Best Photoshop Plug-ins to speed up post processing
Book this tour now!  See the full itinerary and details

Tortuguero National Park

Costa Rica Tropical Lowlands Photography Workshop Tortuguero National Park of Costa Rica is a remote photographer’s paradise. This tropical park hosts a diversity of wildlife due to its multiple habitats including rainforests, swamps, mangroves, beaches and fresh water lagoons.

On the Caribbean coast, Tortuguero National Park covers over 77,000 acres and we will explore this region by boat photographing the many birds, monkeys, lizards, and reptiles that call this area home.

Due to the remote nature of this park, our captain will meet and transport the group with a boat as we leave the roads behind. We will take the scenic one-hour trip as we wind down a small river until we reach the fresh water lagoons of the park reaching our luxury lodge for the next 3 nights. Each day we will explore the region by boat in the morning and evenings when the light is superior. During the mid-day hours, we will take opportunities around the lodge for some frog and lizard photography, as well as discuss photography techniques.

The chartered 24-passenger boat will only be taking 6 photographers guests to allow the best photography opportunities and provide everyone plenty of room to get that fantastic shot.

Tortuguero Charter

Private chartered 24-passenger boat to explore the wildlife of the freshwater lagoons just for our group so everyone will have a row to themselves.

Some of the species we hope to photograph while at Tortuguero National Park:

  • Spider monkeys
  • Howler monkeys
  • White-faced capuchin monkey
  • Spectacled caiman
  • Green basilisk lizard
  • Green Iguana
  • Red-webbed tree frog
  • Strawberry poison-dart frog
  • Central American river otter
  • Lesser long-nosed bats
  • Cattle egret
  • Slaty-tailed trogon
  • Snowy egret
  • American Pygmy kingfisher
  • Amazon kingfisher
  • Mangrove swallow
  • Anhinga
  • Green heron
  • Northern jacana
  • Keel-billed toucan
  • Black river turtle
  • Black-throated trogon
  • Sunbittern
  • Ringed kingfisher
  • Purple gallinule
  • Mealy parrot
  • Greater potoo
  • Bare-throated tiger heron
  • Sunbird
  • Great kiskadee
  • Red-lored amazon
  • Passerini’s tanager
  • Montezuma oropendola
  • Double-toothed kite
  • Tiny hawk
  • Black-mandibled toucan
  • Little blue heron
  • Green ibis
  • Red lore parrot
  • Yellow-crowned night heron

Northern Costa Rica Rainforest

Photograph the rainforest as we venture into Northern Costa Rica and are emersed in nature at a remote ecolodge which preserves over 1200 acres of pristine wilderness. The ecolodge has been designed with photographers in mind and provides many unique opportunities for award winning images due to the perches, feeders, photography blind and even bat night photography.

We will spend the next three days photographing at the ecolodge and surrounding areas.

At first light we will be ready on the perches for the toucans, parrots and many different tanagers that visit for the fresh fruit. After breakfast each day we will head over to the blind built for photographer to photograph the spectacular white feathered King Vulture as well as the Black and Turkey Vultures.

As the sun gets high and the quality light fades, we will look for opportunities for some macro images for subjects like the Eyelash palm pit viper and the colorful Costa Rican frogs. We will also take some time to discuss photography techniques and post processing of images.

In the late afternoon, we will turn our attention back to the perches and the feeders as the birds visit for a snack.

As the sun sets, we now look to photograph the Long-tongued bats with a multi-flash system producing 1/5,000 second exposures at night. By incorporating 7 speedlights synchronized with radio triggers, we can produce stunning images freezing the bats as they feed on the nectar of the local flowers.

Some of the species that visit the ecolodge:

  • Black-mandibled toucan
  • Broad-billed motmot
  • Great Green Macaw
  • Brown-hooded parrot
  • Black-cowled oriole
  • Great curassow
  • Central American pygmy owl
  • Blue-gray tanagers
  • Passerini’s tanager
  • Golden-hooded tanager
  • Palm tanager
  • Montezuma oropendola
  • Red-legged honeycreeper
  • Chestnut-colored woodpecker
  • Black-crowned tityra
  • Eyelash palm pit viper
  • White-nosed coati
  • Central American Agouti
  • King vulture
  • Black vulture
  • Turkey vulture
Book this tour now!  See the full itinerary and details

Sarapiqui Local Preserves

Visit two locations that offer fantastic photographic opportunities and are protecting the environment at the same time. Photograph the wildlife that surrounds these locations in the Sarapiqui lowland region of Costa Rica.

From the colorful Macaws, slow-moving sloths, mischievous monkeys, colorful iconic frogs, and bright tanagers, we will be searching for that perfect image.

As we arrive, our hosts will welcome us with a tour highlighting the wildlife that is currently in the area. We will then spend our time photographing the species of interest as we enjoy the hospitality of our hosts.

The frogs of Costa Rica are always a highlight of the trip, and we will work with these colorful creatures on interesting perches, nice backgrounds and lighting.

Each location offers very different opportunities to photograph different species and the below list is a sample of the species that visit these locations:

  • Scarlet macaws
  • Great green macaws
  • Red-eyed tree frogs
  • Blue jean frogs
  • White-headed capuchin monkeys
  • Yellow-naped parrots
  • Crimson-fronted parakeet
  • White collared manakin
  • Helmet Headed lizards
  • Blue Morpho Butterflies
  • Owl butterflies
  • Long-billed hermit hummingbird
  • Honduran white bats
  • Green Emerald Basilisk Lizards
  • Spectacled caiman
  • Blue-gray tanagers
  • American Pygmy Kingfishers
  • Long-tailed tyrants
  • Passerini’s Tanagers
  • Euphonias

Resplendent Quetzals and Hummingbirds

We head to our highest point of the trip, up in the mountains to photograph the Resplendent Quetzal, one of the most beautiful birds in the world.

Each morning we will go out with a local guide to find this colorful bird and enjoy taking photographs of it. We will then turn our focus to photograph the exotic hummingbirds in this area.

We will spend 3 days at this location to take in all this location has to offer.

A male resplendent quetzal brings food back to the nest

Some of the hummingbirds we will photograph:

  • Violet sabrewing hummingbird (Campylopterus hemileucurus)
  • Lesser violetear hummingbird (Colibri thalassinus)
  • Fiery-throated hummingbird (Panterpe insignis)
  • Purple-throated mountaingem hummingbird (Lampornis calolaemus)
  • White-throated mountaingem hummingbird (Lampornis cinereicauda) also known as Grey-tailed mountaingem
  • Green-crowned brilliant hummingbird (Heliodoxa jacula)
  • Talamanca (Magnificent) hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens)
  • Volcano hummingbird (Selasphorus flammula)

More information about the Resplendent Quetzal

Photography opportunities with maximum field time! We don’t do large groups so you are guaranteed to have lots of quality field time and great spots to photograph the wildlife and landscapes during the Costa Rica Tropical Lowlands Photography Workshop.

Book this tour now!

Extend your adventure: Combine this tour with our Highlands Costa Rica Photography Workshop to photograph hummingbirds, and spend more time with the gorgeous Resplendent Quetzals!

Upcoming Photography Workshops

Costa Rica Photo Tour: Tropical Lowlands Photography Adventure was last modified: April 4th, 2024 by Matt Shetzer