Wildlife of Costa Rica

Costa Rica has long been a destination as one of the most exotic and unique locales on the planet. In regards to Wildlife Costa Rica is known for its abundant diversity and home to a rich variety of plants and animals. This small intriguing country lies sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and thr e Caribbean and has a generally tropical climate – depending upon the elevation. It is home to a bewildering mix of wildlife and although it only encompasses less than .01% of the world’s land mass it contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Flora and Fauna from both North and South America can be found in Costa Rica as well as species native only to Costa Rica and the Central American Isthmus.

Costa Rica as a country has one of the most progressive environmental policies and has successfully managed to diminish deforestation from some of the worst rates in the world from 1973 to 1989 to almost zero by 2005. Adopting and a national stand for conservation – Costa Rica is a country with about 25% of its land mass protected as National Parks and various protected areas – the highest percentage in the world.

This excursion takes us to the remote and less visited Osa Peninsula. The Osa peninsula is regarded as one of the best places in the world to photograph of wildlife and although it is a seven hour drive from Costa Rica’s capital city of San Jose – our trip takes advantage of a short plane ride to maximum our time with the wildlife! National Geographic has called it “the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity”.

The Osa is the only place in Costa Rica where you can photograph all four Costa Rican monkey species including the white-headed Capuchin, the Mantled Howler, the endangered Jeffries Spider Monkey and the Central American Squirrel Monkey. Aside from monkeys we will also have the opportunity to photograph an amazing variety of wildlife including Coatis, Two and Three-Toed Sloths, Dart Frogs, Hummingbirds, Tapirs, Crocodiles and possibly jungle cats such as Pumas and ocelots. There is a possibility to photograph rare bird species such as Toucans, Scarlet Macaws and the Resplendent Quetzal.

Costa Rica is an ever-changing landscape and you never know what you might see or what might be around the next corner. During our stay we will be staying in two beautiful solar powered eco-lodges on the Osa Peninsula. The lodges are perched in the jungle on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. They put you and your camera at eye level with a variety of Costa Rican wildlife that come to visit.

We will learn how to shoot macro subjects, spot and photograph wildlife in low-light jungle conditions and use both on and off-camera flash techniques to capture the moment. You will walk away from this Costa Rica experience with a wealth of new skills and experiences and be in the best hands possible to maximize your time photographing Central American wildlife. There is absolutely no experience equal to photographing the strange and beautiful creatures found in the steamy jungles of Costa Rica.

This trip was designed to take us to Costa Rica during their dry season when wildlife is easier to spot and the relentless rains of the summer monsoon are not as intrusive to our experience. Coincidentally it also happens to be a great time to escape the frozen winter climates of the northern hemisphere -wherever you may live! Join us in Costa Rica this year for the photographic experience of a lifetime, get some fantastic wildlife shots…and spend some time kicking back in a hammock and enjoying the tropical breeze while you’re down there!

Trip Extensions

We offer two optional trip extensions immediately before and after our main Wildlife of Costa Rica trip. The extensions can be reserved with the main trip while making your online reservation or they can be booked as standalone trips.

Trip Extension #1: Resplendent Quetzals of Costa Rica

A pre-trip excursion to Costa Rica’s highlands to photograph the rare and beautiful Resplendent Quetzal.

Trip Extension #2: Costa Rica’s Tortuguero National Park

A post-trip excursion to the Caribbean coast to photograph an entirely different and unique population of wildlife.


  • Explore & Photograph the most biologically intense place on Earth
  • Stay in two different tropical eco-lodges on the remote Osa Peninsula
  • 25% of Costa Rica is protected land
  • Photography Over 5% of the world’s biodivesity in a tiny country
  • Small Groups
  • Lead by a professional wildlife photographer
  • Sloths, Four species of Monkey, Hummingbirds, Macaws, Parakeets, Toucans, Coatis, Snakes, Dart Frogs, Butterflies, Tapirs and more!

Wildlife of Costa Rica

7 Days

Price: from $4295 double occupancy

+$800 single occupancy

Deposit: $1500

Fitness Level: Hiker 2-3 – “One of our Eco-Lodges is built like a tree-house so climbing wooden stairs is a necessity and there are some hikes along dirt trails through the forest.”

Meals: Most meals included (see itinerary)

Lodging: 6 nights lodging

Fly In/Out: San Jose, Costa Rica

Hours: Mon-Fri 8am to 4pm Mountain Time


*trip difficulty ratings

Trip Extensions

Resplendent Quetzals of Costa Rica

4 Days

from $1295

Learn More

Costa Rica’s Tortuguero National Park

6 Days

from $2995

Learn More

Trip Details

Physical Requirements
All participants must be in good physical condition and have the ability to do some light walking with their camera gear and tripod.

Group Size
We keep groups small to maximize your one on one time with the guide / instructor.

Our first and last nights will be at a nice hotel in San Jose and we will be spending four nights in two different solar powered, open air Eco-Lodges overlooking the Pacific Ocean and right on one of the most awe inspiring black sand beaches in the world – you can walk it for miles!

Most meals are included during the trip dates. Lunches will often be in the field. Breakfasts and Dinner will be at our lodges which serve incredible locally inspired meals.

We will be on the tropical Pacific Coast of Costa Rica during the dry season. It is typically hot & humid near the coast and slightly cooler in the hills. You won’t need much in the way of layering on this trip!

Price Includes
Meals, transportation while in Costa Rica, accommodation during the trip dates, professional photography instruction, medically certified wilderness guide.

Price Does Not Include
Airfare to and from Costa Rica, Departure tax, alcoholic beverages, accommodations before or after the trip dates, guide & staff gratuities


Most meals included – (B,L,D) denotes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 1 (Travel Day) (D)

Arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica. Tonight, we will be staying at the Courtyard by Marriott in Alajuela, Costa Rica (right by the San Jose airport – SJO). We will have a welcome dinner for everyone and a pre-trip orientation.

Day 2 (B,L,D)

Hiking mileage: 2-4 miles/day. Minimal elevation gain

Today we will hop on a small plane which will take us down to the remote Osa Peninsula. The plane ride is less than an hour and it will save us seven hours of driving over bumpy, jungle roads! Tonight we check into our first Eco-Lodge.

Day 3 (B,L,D)

Hiking mileage: 2-4 miles/day. Minimal elevation gain

We will explore the rainforests of the Osa Peninsula on foot. Each day we will have an opportunity to photograph different species of wildlife be it monkeys, birds, sloths or doing some interesting night-time photography with Dart Frogs and other nocturnal species. Each night we will return to the comfort of our beautiful eco-lodge for some excellent local cuisine, cocktails and some rest and relaxation in your private bungalow!

Day 4 (B,L,D)

This morning we depart early for a safari vehicle ride along the Osa Peninsula photographing a plethora of wildlife as we head towards our next eco-lodge. We will stop along the way & spend some time photographing colorful dart frogs, amphibians, reptiles, birds and snakes at a private wildlife refuge. Tonight we check into our second Eco-Lodge in Drake Bay.

Day 5 (B,L,D)

Today we will head out by boat to Sirena Station in Corcovado National Park to photograph wildlife – sloth, capuchin monkeys & tayra can all be seen here. This evening retire to our beatiful eco-lodge and un-wind to the rhythm of the tropics!

Day 6 (B,L,D)

We will spend our last morning on the Osa Peninsula photographing wildlife &  exploring the mangrove forests of the Rio Sierpe from our private jungle boat.  This afternoon we’ll board a flight back to San Jose. Enjoy your final night’s accommodation and celebrate the conclusion of a fantastic journey with dinner at a great local restaurant in San Jose!

Day 7

Enjoy your last morning in Costa Rica with a leisurely breakfast by the pool and some Costa Rican coffee if you want! After all it is vacation. Flights home can be booked for anytime today and there is a complimentary 24 hour airport shuttle at the hotel – make sure you are at the airport three hours prior to your scheduled flight time.

Please note that the exact sequence of the itineraries on all photography trips will be based on weather and lighting conditions. The goal on these trips is to make sure we are at the right place at the right time for the perfect light on our subjects. Also, itineraries can change for a variety of other circumstances including floods, forest fires, national park closures, road closures and more. Due to the nature of wildlife and nature photography we do not guarantee any specific sightings or specific compositions regarding wildlife or natural phenomena. 

“This was a great week, all that we hoped for and more. Russ met us at the airport as promised and then left us at a hotel by the airport at the end. We took a local airline down to Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula from there we took a local “taxi” to the Lookout Inn on Carate Beach. This was our base for the week and what a week it was! As promised we saw Scarlet Macaws and other birds virtually all day everyday. We were able to photograph three species of monkeys, sloths, iguanas, coatis and incredible sunrises and sunsets. I will review the Lookout Inn separately, but suffice to say it was great, meals are incredible and staff is the best. Russ is a very active and ambitious guide, constantly checking to see if we wanted to go out more, see more do more, etc. He is a superb photo guide, has incredible patience and works hard making sure the clients are getting the shots and spotting the wildlife. I have some vision problems and Russ was really helpful to me in spotting and working my camera settings to get the shots. If you are looking for an active outdoor photo tour, you won’t do better than Russ and Backcountry Journeys.”

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