Great bird photography destinations in Costa Rica, the Lowlands

Great bird photography destinations in Costa Rica, the Lowlands

  |   Birds, Photography Destinations, Reptiles & Amphibians, Setups   |   15 Comments

I’m frequently asked if I can recommend any bird photography destination in Costa Rica.

I don’t always have the opportunity to give an answer as precise as I would like, so I thought a series of post describing some places that have work for me would be helpful for all you guys.

Let me start by saying that I always do my best to support the local families from the area, the small business and the people that needs it, I try to stay very far away from big hotel chains or big hotel companies.

 

Maybe I wont have Wi-Fi if I stay with the local families but I gain so much more, like amazing food, amazing people with great stories to share and great local tips of where to get some of the best birds and wildlife opportunities of the area.

 

The first post in the list is about a new place that a friend of mine just open targeted exclusively to bird and wildlife photographers.

 

Cope Wildlife is located in Guapiles, just about 1 hour from San Jose at the base of the Braulio Carrillo National Park. Jose Alberto or “Cope”, like everyone knows him, has been feeding and caring for birds for many many years and the house gardens are always full of tanagers, honey-creepers, toucans, woodpeckers, hummingbirds,etc.

 

He has built photography hides around the garden strategically positioned to get great lighting and background.

Fruit and water hide

Fruit and water hide

Garden paths

Garden paths

Pond view of the hide

Pond view of the hide

 

The hides are very comfortable,you can charge your batteries or drink a cup of coffee while photographing all great the tanagers, honey-creepers and toucans that visit it daily.

Shining Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes lucidus) perched on a branch

Shining Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes lucidus) perched on a branch

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus)

Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus)

Collared Aracari(Pteroglossus torquatus)

Collared Aracari(Pteroglossus torquatus)

Green Honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza)

Green Honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza)

The hide is also overlooking a small pond where some very cool birds can be seen, the star of the show is the Grey-necked Wood Rail (Aramides cajaneus) that can be seen daily at the pond.

Grey-necked Wood Rail (Aramides cajaneus)

Grey-necked Wood Rail (Aramides cajaneus)

Grey-necked Wood Rail (Aramides cajaneus)

Grey-necked Wood Rail (Aramides cajaneus)

Around the pond and the property other reptiles and amphibian can be also photograph

Glass Frog in bromelia

Glass Frog in Bromelia

Helmeted iguana (Corytophanes cristatus) under the rain

Helmeted iguana (Corytophanes cristatus) under the rain

Savage's Thin-toed Frog (Leptodactylus savagei) feeding at night

Savage’s Thin-toed Frog (Leptodactylus savagei) feeding at night

Hognosed pitviper on fallen tree

Hognosed pitviper on a fallen tree

Oh, and the hummingbirds, the hummingbirds are great, they visit the local flora and feeders around the garden. Its a great place to see some lowland  species that are not easy to get, like 4 species of hermits, Violet Headed Hummingbird, Snowcap, etc

 Long-billed Hermit (Phaethornis longirostris)

Long-billed Hermit (Phaethornis longirostris)

Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti) in the rain

Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti) in the rain

Stripe-throated Hermit (Phaethornis striigularis) feeding from flowers

Stripe-throated Hermit (Phaethornis striigularis) feeding from flowers

Snowcap (Microchera albocoronata) feeding from flowers in flight

Snowcap (Microchera albocoronata) feeding from flowers in flight

Stripe-throated Hermit (Phaethornis striigularis)

Stripe-throated Hermit (Phaethornis striigularis)

What more can I say? O yeah, did I mention that Cope is a great artist as well?

Spectacled Owl drawing by Cope

Spectacled Owl drawing by Cope

 

King Vulture Drawing by Cope

King Vulture Drawing by Cope

 

Bronzy Hermit drawing by Cope

Bronzy Hermit drawing by Cope

 

Cope mural work

Cope mural work

 

So there you have it, if you are looking for a great photography destination close to San Jose, want to check some nice birds of your list or just want to get some great authentic Costarican Art, Cope Wildlife is the place to be!.

Maybe you will be welcome by an amazing sight, like a Laughing Falcon catching a snake, like the last time I was there!

Laughing Falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans) with snake

Laughing Falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans) with snake

Great bird photography destination in Costa Rica

Cope Wildlife

La Union, Guapiles

Phone: 7136.5472

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15 Comments
  • Helena | Jan 14, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Hello, Thank you for sharing this, in 2015 i want to come to Costa Rica and i will keep this in mind.

    • Chris | Jan 15, 2014 at 11:18 am

      Thanks Helena, let me know if you have any questions!

  • Aracelly Rodríguez | Jan 14, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Chris Jiménez, thanks you and Pablo for sharing this. Your photos are amazing.

    • Chris | Jan 15, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Thanks Aracelly

  • Liz | Mar 27, 2014 at 8:09 am

    It looks like a great place. How do you get there from Heredia? We will be there next month.

    • Chris | Mar 30, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      Hi Liz, you can call Cope for specific directions.
      The number is on the post. 🙂

  • Bird Photography Destinations in Costa Rica, Cloud Forest | Apr 4, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    […] I mention in my other posts about Costa Rica Bird Photography Destinations , I always try to support local families from the area, and this is no […]

  • David Christy | Nov 9, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Caryl and I will be in Costa Rica the month of Feb. 2015. Thanks to you will try and hook-up with Cope for sure. Thanks
    Dave Christy Homer , Alaska

    • Chris | Nov 25, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Great to hear that, let me know if I can help.
      Regards
      Chris

  • Tyohar | Feb 1, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Thank you very much Chris. I visited Cope after reading this post and enjoyed the visit very much. Got some great shots. We’ll be heading here again in 2 weeks. Looking forward for more blogs. Your photos are excellent!

    • Chris | Feb 1, 2015 at 7:32 pm

      Glad to hear that. Let me know if I can help with anything 🙂

  • Robert Moore | Oct 25, 2015 at 4:31 am

    Hoping we visit here with you next week!

  • carlosdgzglez | Feb 16, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Chris Jiménez, te escribi hace un par de semanas acerca de la posibilidad de visitar Cope Wildlife a finales de Marzo. Se que probablemente estes muy ocupado pero queria confirmar que si hubieras recibido el mensaje.

  • Shashi B Bhatt | Nov 7, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Chris, Is this place still active? How can I get in touch with Cope? Are there other bird feeders and hides for photography in Costa Rica?

    • Chris | Nov 7, 2017 at 6:49 am

      Yeah, you can contact Cope to his Cellphone using WhatsApp or a Call as well. The numbers it’s in the post.

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