The Rain Forest of Costa Rica with Jeff Cable


If you are looking to photograph tree frogs, monkeys, sloths, beautiful birds and learn from a 7-time Olympic photographer, then this is a great trip for you. No matter what level of photographer you are (from beginner to professional), you will love this photo tour. I have taken people who have never used a "real camera" all the way to seasoned professional photographers. And significant others are welcome too! We stay at the amazing 5-star Botanika Resort in the Osa Peninsula, which National Geographic has called one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world. You are truly in the rain forest during this whole trip, and get a chance to see so much!

One of the things I love most about this trip is that we are staying in one location the whole time and taking day trips from the resort. This makes the packing and logistics very easy.

If you would like to see many of the images captured in this area, go to my Costa Rica photo gallery. And if you think that you can't take photos like this, check out this blog post showing what my guests captured on one of my tours.

And...as a bonus to all of this. since Canon sponsors me, they will let you borrow almost any camera and lens for this trip at no cost! This is not to say that you have to be a Canon shooter to join the group. I teach people using all brands.

Of all of my photo tours, the Costa Rica trip sells out faster than any of the others, so please contact me as soon as possible to secure a spot. You can see all the photo tours on my tour page.

 

Here is what our typical itinerary looks like:

Day 1: Arrival in San Jose, CR

We will all meet in San Jose (no, not the one in California), and spend the night at the Hilton Sabana. This gives us a chance to all meet for the first time, and have a nice dinner before the adventure begins.

I will also go over our plans for the week and talk about proposed camera settings, composition and what to expect for our time in the rain forest.

 

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Day 2: Flight to Botanika / Half-Day of Photography

We will all head to the airport in the morning and fly to the resort. The small planes fly you over the rain forest and give you amazing views. You will want to have your camera in hand for this aerial excursion. We will then get situated at Botanika, have an introductory presentation, eat a nice lunch, and then go out and shoot around the property. There is a lot of plant and animal life on the property to keep us busy for days!

 

 

 

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Day 3: Full Day of Photographing Wildlife

On the third day, we will all go out for a full day of photography, looking for the four species of monkeys that live in the area, along with sloths, birds, reptiles and other wildlife in the area. Much like my safaris in Africa, you just never know what interesting animals we will encounter as our guides drive the off-road vehicles through the forest.

 

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Day 4: Tree Frogs and other reptile macro photography

When designing this photo tour, I wanted to have a good combination of photographing animals in the wild, and getting great shots in a more controlled environment. On this day, we will head into the hills to visit a snake wrangler who will have tree frogs and other reptiles for us to photograph. And don't worry, we will not be photographing any snakes in the wild. He will capture frogs for us to shoot with macro lenses.

After dinner we will meet in the conference room where I can review your images and give you suggestions for future improvements.

 

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Day 5: Sloth Area

We spend half a day in an area known for having great sloth sitings. We will photograph these slow moving creatures and also enjoy some good snacks. We return back to the resort for a relaxing afternoon.

This is a good time to go through all your images, and I will be available for one-on-one lessons / critiques.

 

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Day 6: Boat trip to photograph marine life and birds 

We will be taking boats around the bay (smooth waters - don't worry) to photograph wildlife outside the rain forest. We hope to capture photos of dolphins, flying fish, marine fowl and possibly even whales!

After dinner I'll be available in the conference room to review your images and give you suggestions for future improvements.

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Day 7: Free Day

This day is left unscheduled so that you can relax by the pool, or you may want to take off to ride horses on the beach, go zip-lining or go fishing. We have one open day and a couple of short days on the trip for relaxation and this also allows us some leeway in the schedule in case one of our other days gets rained out. I like to walk the property of the resort to shoot photos of all the wildlife on the property. The photo of the hummingbird that you see on the right was taken 10 feet from the pool. 

I will also be available for one-on-one lessons / critiques.
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Day 8: Chocolate Plantation

On our last full day on the Osa Peninsula, we will visit a small working chocolate plantation. You will have a chance to see the cocoa trees and grind your own chocolate by hand. We will also have a great lunch in this location.

It is also common to see monkeys here, so we will have our long lenses with us!

 

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Day 9: Sierpe River Tour

Today we will be going on a nice calm boat ride on the Sierpe River to photograph all the wildlife on the edges of the river. You will likely see crocodile, caiman, monkeys, snakes and birds. There is no white water on this cruise. It is a really nice relaxing experience. 


 

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Day 10: Return Home

You will fly from the Osa Peninsula back to San Jose, CR with tons of new and amazing photos to share with friends and family. You will also be taking home lots of new photography tips and tricks, as well as a bunch of new friends too.

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Schedule is subject to change


Trip Details

To find the dates of future trips, please visit the Tour page.

 

* Each trip will be limited to just 12 guests. I want to make sure to have ample time teaching everyone! This is done on a first come, first serve basis.

You will want to book your flight to be in San Jose, CR on the afternoon of the first day of the trip. We will all meet at the Hilton Garden Inn for dinner, get some sleep and then take the 1 hour flight to the rain forest the next morning.

For your return flight, you will want to book a flight home on the last day of the trip, after 1pm, allowing time for us to fly back to San Jose from the Osa Peninsula.

If you would like to arrive in Costa Rica early, or stay longer, that is an option as well. Just let me know and I will help you arrange that. 

 


Skill level

This trip is designed for photographers of all levels. You do not need to be a professional photographer to go on this trip. As a matter of fact, I have taken many novices to Costa Rica and they have come back with awesome photos. You do need to have a basic understanding of using an SLR camera, but my job is to teach you while in the rain forest.


Cost

The cost for this trip is $5950 all inclusive from San Jose, CR and back. This price includes the flights to/from the resort, lodging (both in San Jose and Botanika), all food and non-alcoholic drinks. In other words, you need to get yourself to San Jose (usually about $500 round trip from within the US) and everything else is covered.

For people wanting their own room, there is a single supplement fee of $1000. For those who have spouses or friends who want to join, but who are not photographers, there is a $350 credit for them. Those "non photographers" are still invited to join us on all excursions.


Weather

It is called the rain forest for a reason. If you look at the weather forecast for the region, you will likely see forecast of rain for every day that we will be there. But don't worry, the rains usually come in toward the end of each day, and you will enjoy it. I do suggest that you bring a rain cover for your camera, but to be honest, I have never used one. I usually grab a towel from the hotel room and hang that over my camera, if needed.

It will be warm and humid, but I have specifically chosen tour dates not in the height of the Costa Rican summer.


What We Will See

When photographing wildlife, there are never any guarantees as to which animals we will encounter. But after making many trips to the Osa Peninsula, I can pretty much guarantee that you will see the following animals more than once:

* Sloth

* All four species of monkeys: Spider monkey, White-face monkey, Howler monkey and Squirrel monkey

* Toucan

* Macaw

* Crocodile

* Tree frogs

* Lizards

* Butterflies

* Hummingbirds

You can see what I have captured in my past trips by clicking HERE


Gear and Clothing Suggestions

Costa Rica offers plentiful photographic opportunities and you will want to have the right photography gear with you to capture the best photos in this location. Here is what I recommend:

 

* Two camera bodies (one as a backup)

* A long zoom lens (to get you to a minimum of 300mm)

* A mid-range zoom lens (in the 24-150mm range)

* A tripod

* A good camera bag

* A laptop computer for downloading and editing

* An external hard drive for backing up your data

If you are reading this and thinking "I don't have two camera bodies or one of those lenses", don't worry. Canon has offered to supply any of my workshop attendees with loaner gear at no cost!!! All you have to do is let me know what gear you would like.

 

For clothing, I suggest clothing for warm weather. I usually bring the following:

 

* 3 pairs of shorts

* 2 pairs of warm weather safari pants

* 4 shirts (recommend the thin safari shirts which dry quickly)

* 2 pairs of shoes - including one pair of water shoes

* A good hat to keep you shaded

* Bathing suit if you want to swim

* A bag of detergent if you want to wash your own clothes (I do!) - Laundry service is available at the resort if that is the way you roll.


Participant abilities

There are no long hikes on this trip, since we tend to shoot very near the vehicles, but you do have to be able to easily get in and out of a vehicle and walk short distances. 


Common Questions
 

Q Are there bathroom stops on our long days out?

A: I am happy to say that we have bathrooms available to us everywhere we go. 

Q: How is the air conditioning at the resort?

A. We stay at a 5-star Hilton Curio property. The rooms have amazing air conditioning!

Q: How is the food?

A. You will be eating incredible food on this trip! And it is all "western" meals. Nothing too exotic or strange, I promise.

Q: Are we hiking through the rain forest? 

A: No. We drive on local roads and stop when we see wildlife or other photo opportunities. 

Q: How are the insects in the rain forest?

A: It is nothing like you think. I never use any bug spray or deterrents, but you can if you like.

Q: Do we need to be professional photographers to go on the trip?

A: No - I take people of all skill levels, from beginner to the pro level.


Schedule is subject to change

The itinerary listed here is the proposed agenda for the trip. Depending on the weather and other circumstances, the schedule is subject to change. But, of course, the goal is to have everyone come home with amazing photos and to learn as much as possible.


Click HERE to reserve a spot!


Testimonials from attendees on past Costa Rica photo tours

 

Jeff is super knowledgeable and meticulously plans all the details of the tour. He explains difficult concepts really well. Not a single excursion that you would regret. Highly recommend his tours for all levels of expertise. Nachiket K. (Costa Rica 2023)


Jeff’s trip was amazing from start to finish. As a photographer, he is exceptional. As an instructor, he is top notch for any skill level. His guidance is excellent even in extreme places such as the rainforest. Jeff is extremely friendly and personable. He definitely goes out of his way to make sure you’re having a great experience and getting all the shots you’re hoping to get. The outings were fun and loaded with photographic opportunities for our trip. If you’re a “foodie” then this trip won’t disappoint. The dinners we had far exceeded my expectations. Just ask the extra 5 pounds I brought back home. The honest truth is, for a first timer like myself.. Jeff really set the bar pretty high for future excursions. I couldn’t have asked for a greater trip or a better guide. Thank you Jeff, for everything. Jason B. (Costa Rica 2023)


Costa Rica was our second tour with Jeff. We hope it will not be the last as he has so many fantastic destinations. Michael G (Costa Rica 2023)


I joined the photo tour with Jeff because the dates lined up with my conference in California, that was really lucky for me as it was fabulous! I had no idea what to expect as it was my first photo tour, from start to finish the trip was amazing and it was also fun. Jeff is a great teacher, has a great sense of humor, is very approachable and generous with his time. We saw so much wildlife in such a short time, and came away with some incredible photos and memories. Everyone in the group got along well, and it was nice that there were other solo travelers as I was traveling alone. The food and accommodation were excellent, and the guides were exceptional at finding us wildlife at every turn. Emma G (Costa Rica 2023)


Jeff's organized, thorough, detailed, yet relaxed leadership made for a very fine tour. I much valued the great variety of locations and subjects for photo shoots he provided. All these were from one luxurious lodge on this particular trip, with no need to move from lodge to lodge. He is a knowledgeable and highly skilled professional. His teachings helped to hone my skills. Tony L (Costa Rica 2023)


Jeff has the patience of Job when it comes to leading a photo group. Smart, tireless, and always enthusiastic. A true pro that I can't recommend enough! Carl C. (Costa Rica 2023)


We had all different skill levels on our trip to Costa Rica and Jeff was great about catering to all of those. He was happy to take the time and help those of us who needed a little extra instruction. Our days were full of adventure, but also relaxing when we returned to the resort. This trip was a game changer for me in developing my skills as a photographer. I could even tell a difference in my pictures from day 1 to day 3 of the trip. I would definite recommend doing a tour with Jeff, in fact I've already signed up for another. Shauna I. (Costa Rica 2022)


We recently traveled to Costa Rica with Jeff and can say that if you are looking for a general all around great photographer and great guy to travel with, he’s your guy!  He also happens to be an excellent teacher and hard worker who has an excellent supporting cast of assistants at the local Crocodile Bay resort who went out of they way to make sure our stay was exceptional.  The whole team was flexible in rolling with the punches the weather can throw at you so as to maximize our photo opportunities, and the trip was jam packed with a variety of photo opportunities from macro frog shoots to rainforest excursions to cocoa farm visits to endangered sea turtle release—and Jeff was there to help anyone who was unsure of the best way to photograph what they were seeing.  Additionally, Jeff was available to do one-on-one mentoring when time was available, and scheduled periodic image review sessions, as well.  Last, but not least, through Jeff’s association with Canon, he was able to arrange for Canon loaner equipment during our trip—a definite bonus for those of us wanting to try out a special lens or body! - Catherine and Jon (Costa Rica 2020)


The trip to Costa Rica was such a great time. Jeff, the staff at the resort and our local guides were all wonderful. The accommodations at the resort were excellent, the food was delicious and the staff took great care of us the entire time. I felt especially safe traveling despite COVID-19 as all safety precautions were taken by everyone who we interacted with locally. The wildlife sightings were abundant! Seeing my progress from the first day to the end of the trip was really rewarding - Jeff was helpful in sharing a lot of good tips (both taking the pictures themselves and post-processing workflows). I really enjoyed this trip and hope to travel again with Jeff in the future. - Samantha D. (Costa Rica 2020)


We had all different skill levels on our trip to Costa Rica and Jeff was great about catering to all of those. He was happy to take the time and help those of us who needed a little extra instruction. Our days were full of adventure, but also relaxing when we returned to the resort. This trip was a game changer for me in developing my skills as a photographer. I could even tell a difference in my pictures from day 1 to day 3 of the trip. I would definite recommend doing a tour with Jeff, in fact I've already signed up for another. Shauna I (Costa Rica 2020)


2020 has been one hell of a year, so when I saw Jeff’s workshop for November 2020 I was hesitant on going cause of travel restrictions, COVID etc, but it took one phone call with Jeff to convince me to go and I was so glad I did.  This was my first time meeting Jeff and attending one of his workshops and I have to say what an amazing experience.  In the very first day Jeff showed me how to used Back Button Focus, explained how it worked and how to use it, “Game changer” my images were better than ever.  He taught me better composition, better angles, better backgrounds etc.  I’ve been to Crocodile Bay many times but this trip was unforgettable.  The daily schedules were easy, full of wildlife, and a lot of fun, even if we didn’t find what we were looking for we always found something else to photograph. Jeff is great at finding things, be it a plant, a bug, or just what was going on in our surroundings.  We had editing/critique classes which was also very informative.  Jeff pointed out what I was doing wrong and what I was doing right. This was a huge help, since I don’t see my own mistakes. His critique was very much appreciated. I used to download all my images from my memory cards when I got home. Jeff helped me download all my images to my SSD drive and edit on-site instead of bringing back all my images and downloading them at home. This made life so much easier.  I walked away from this workshop very pleased with my images, and I took back home all the things he taught me.  Jeff is a great teacher, great person and fun to be around. I will definitely, without hesitation, go on another workshop with him again. You won’t be disappointed I promise you that.  Looking forward to another adventure with Jeff in the future. - Dana P (Costa Rica 2020)


I just returned from participating in Jeff’s Costa Rica photography tour.  It was a fantastic trip, life changing in some ways. Sure, the Costa Rica Osa Peninsula and it’s wildlife, rainforests, and people were spectacular and inspiring. The photography instruction was superb - Jeff’s a world-class photographer and instructor, and an exceptional person. Crocodile Bay Resort was a comfortably, first-class resort. And the others in the group were fantastic to get to know. But for me, the highlight of the trip was the sparking of a lifetime passion for photography. Jeff, thanks for an incredible adventure. I look forward to many more. - Peter H. (Costa Rica 2018)


Besides being a superb and knowledgable photographer, Jeff Cable is an excellent teacher who wants you to have a special experience with the tour and works hard to make that happen. Because of his teaching abilities, the skill level of the participants is not that important as he will guide you and help you learn how to photograph nature. The people of Costa Rica are very friendly and helpful and the culture experienced in the tour will be remembered for a long time. If you love viewing and photographing monkeys, birds, reptiles and more,. this is the shoot for you and I HIGHLY recommend it - Dr. Larry P. (Costa Rica 2018)


My wife and I just returned from a wonderful photo tour of Costa Rica with Jeff Cable.  This was a small group tour of only 9 people.  Jeff did a great job of organizing the tour with excellent guides and comfortable accommodations at the Crocodile Bay Resort.  The weather was much better than we expected with only light showers on a couple of our outings that did not interfere with our photography.  Jeff arranged a variety of excursions that included drives through the forest searching for a variety of wildlife along with a couple of controlled shoots that provided excellent macro opportunities.  On several of the excursions, there were opportunities to interact with the local residents and culture.  The small tour group allowed for a lot of social interaction and it allowed Jeff to work with each individual providing one-on-one photo guidance as needed.  My wife is a non-photographer and she enjoyed the sighting and observation of wildlife and interaction with others in the group.  The staff at Crocodile Bay helped to make this an above-average trip. Olympia, the restaurant staff, and tour guides were outstanding and a joy to interact with.  This was a excellent tour and highly recommended for both photographers and non-photographers.  We are looking forward to our trip to Tanzania with Jeff in January 2019. - Glenn and Kathy H. (Costa Rica 2018)


I participated in Jeff’s November 2017 expedition to Costa Rica. For several years I have been following Jeff’s social media posts and presentations at B&H, I like his presentation and teaching style so much that when the opportunity to go to Costa Rica with him arose I jumped on it. That decision turned out to be the best photography-related decision I’ve made in the last ten years. The images I returned home with are outstanding. I’ve posted to photo critique websites and have gotten rave reviews. Everyone I show the images to are in awe at the quality of the images and the exotic subject matter. Jeff’s instruction during the tour made all-the-difference in the quality of my captures. He paid close attention to each of us in the field and during non-shooting discussions and critiques.

The staff at Crocodile Bay Resort were outstanding. They treated us as if we were royalty. The menu for all three meals is extensive and the quality of the food is beyond expectations.  Our guides, Dennis and Diego, had an incredible eye for spotting wildlife. As photographers themselves, they knew which sightings would offer better photographic opportunity.  

In closing, the one tour feature that places Jeff’s Costa Rica tour far ahead of other Costa Rica photography tours is his arrangement with Canon Professional Services for tour members to obtain loaner camera bodies and lenses at no cost. I received on loan an EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS and EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS lens. These are the same lenses Jeff used, which made implementing Jeff’s shooting suggestions instructions work so well. David A. (Costa Rica 2017)


Our Costa Rica trip was great. Jeff and everyone else we met were friendly and helpful. The resort was great and we saw a LOT of animals including birds, monkeys, sloths and frogs. Jeff was super enthusiastic and a good teacher. He was constantly helping us take better photos and he really gave me some good post processing tips. I would be happy to travel with him again. We were a couple with a photographer and a non-photographer and both of us had a great time. Bob P. (Costa Rica 2017)


I'm not a photographer, but still like tagging along with my photographer husband on trips. It's a wonderful opportunity to see the world and experience the adventure that goes along with capturing the photos. Jeff's trip to Cost Rica did not disappoint. It was a unique opportunity to see so many different animals, birds and insects and take time to just observe them in their habitats. I thoroughly enjoyed all the field trips as well as hiking around the resort. Jeff was even gracious enough to give me a beginners photo lesson one afternoon, and I got a few nice shots.  Our guides were excellent, helping us not only find the wildlife but also learn about the animals, environment & locale. The resort was very comfortable; we were treated like we were part of their extended family.  Tracy P. (Costa Rica 2017)


I have wanted to see a rain forest for some time and this tour exceeded my expectations.  Jeff did a great job of selecting adventures spaced with some free time.  The accommodations were very good and the food was fantastic.  The entire staff was friendly and helpful.   Each adventure yielded many animals, most of which I had not seen before.  Admittedly, some of the photo opportunities were "assisted" by the guides, but I believe I would have found it difficult to spot an inch long frog on my own.   The guides were expert in spotting the animals, and I even learned some things.  “ If you see isolated leaves falling from the trees above, and it is not windy, it is likely an animal moving about.”   The photography was a bit hard at times with the subject high in the trees, moving about and just as you located and focused on them, they would rapidly move away.   Jeff was always there to assist in your photographic efforts. All in all, this was an excellent trip!  If you are interested in the rain forest and its animals, go with Jeff to Costa Rica  and say hello to Sweetie the monkey for me. Carol C. (Costa Rica 2017)

 

For more information - email Jeff at [email protected]