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Costa Rica Information, Photos, and More

Welcome to my Costa Rica page, a hub for my Costa Rica photos and pictures, videos, and other useful Costa Rica information and links.  Hopefully the information and recommendations will help you plan your own trip to Costa Rica, one of my favorite places for wildlife adventures.  If you’d like to join me on a Costa Rica photo tour, please click here.

2023 Costa Rica Photo Tour

In early 2019 we completed another successful photo tour to Costa Rica, complete with another adventure-filled visit to Corcovado National Park. Following a couple years of COVID delays, I’ll be leading this trip again in 2023 if you’d like to join me. The 2023 Costa Rica tour currently has 3 spots left!

This popular tour takes us to some of the best places for wildlife photography in the entire country. We’ll seek out the resplendent quetzal in highland forests, colorful frogs and birds on the central Caribbean slope and aquatic birds and large crocodiles on the Pacific coast. For the truly adventurous, the optional extension may take us to Corcovado National Park, putting us in the heart of Costa Rica’s biodiversity: cats, tapirs and loads of other animals await!

I’ve been conducting this tour with one of Costa Rica’s longest-running and most respected outfitters, Costa Rica Expeditions. We are well taken care of throughout the trip, from the moment we land in San Jose to the day they drop us back off at the airport. I work with some of the best and most-trusted naturalist guides I’ve partnered with anywhere on the planet.

Learn more about the Costa Rica photo tour.

Need Help Planning Your Trip?

With several Costa Rica trips under my belt, I can help provide some suggestions to help you plan a better trip.  Even if you don’t want to join me on a photo tour, or photography is not your main goal, feel free to contact me with questions.  Several clients have extended their trips or have opted to plan an independent itinerary or family trip with the help of my partners, who are based right the Costa Rican capital of San Jose.

I partner with Costa Rica Expeditions, the country’s leading travel outfitter for over 30 years.  We can help you put together a great itinerary involving anything from photography to adventure travel to a relaxing family vacation.

You may contact me here regarding travel advice, tour questions or any other inquiries regarding Costa Rica.

Packing List

Packing for Costa Rica can be challenging. Over the years I’ve tried to be more efficient: the words “compact” and “bare bones” come to mind, especially since I’m usually toting a boatload of camera gear along (see photo section below). Knowing that I’m also likely to be traveling by small plane, boat, or trekking through the jungle on foot to reach a destination also influences my decisions.

For example, depending on when you’re visiting Costa Rica, rubber boots may be a necessity for tromping through the mud. But do you actually need to pack them with you? Several lodges have boots for their guests. You can save a lot of space (and some headaches) by doing some research about your destination and the time of year you’re visiting a certain area.

Keep in mind that this list is catered to an outdoor/wildlife enthusiast planning on doing some rainforest exploration. Plan for walking on muddy trails, bushwhacking and sweating! If you’re just going to hang out at the beach the whole time, this may not apply to you.

Featured Video

Necessary Clothing:

  • Convertible pants
  • Short sleeve shirts
  • At least one long sleeve shirt
  • Durable socks
  • Hiking boots or shoes, waterproof if possible
  • Teva type sandals
  • Hat to protect from sun and rain
  • Breathable waterproof jacket or poncho
  • Sunglasses

Optional Clothing:

  • Shorts (if you don’t have convertible pants)
  • Swim Trunks
  • Warmer fleece/sweatshirt (for traveling to CR, or mountain environments)
  • Warm hat/gloves

Other Gear:

  • Water Bottle(s)
  • Water Purification Tablets or Steripen
  • Small First Aid Kit
  • Moleskin or Tape
  • Headlamp or Flashlight
  • Multi-tool or Pocket Knife
  • Bug Repellent*
  • Sunscreen
  • Ziploc Bags
  • TP Roll (if visiting remote areas)
  • Soap/Shampoo (if visiting remote areas)
  • Travel-sized towel
  • Energy Bars
  • Compass/GPS

Costa Rica Photo Tours with Max Waugh

* – Remember not to handle frogs and amphibians if you have repellent on your hands. It can be harmful to the animals.

A great way to save room in your luggage is by using travel compressor bags for your clothing.

Have questions or want more advice for your Costa Rica trip? Feel free to contact me.

Recommended Photo Gear

Here is a list of photo equipment and accessories that I recommend for wildlife photography in Costa Rica. Due to the dense rainforest environment, light is at a premium, so I prefer bodies that perform well at high ISOs and lenses that shoot “wide open.”


  • Canon 1DX II
  • Canon 5D Mark IV
  • Canon 500mm f/4 IS
  • Canon 200-400mm f/4 IS
  • Canon 300mm f/2.8 IS
  • Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS
  • Canon 24-70mm 2.8
  • Canon 100mm 2.8 macro
  • Canon 1.4x teleconverter
  • Canon 600EX-RT flash


  • Nikon D5
  • Nikon D810 or D800
  • Nikkor 500mm f/4 VR
  • Nikkor 200-400mm VR
  • Nikkor 70-200mm VR
  • Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8
  • Nikon 1.4x teleconverter
  • Nikon SB-910 flash

Additional Recommendations

  • Induro CT314 tripod
  • Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead
  • Wimberley Sidekick
  • Nexto DI 500GB Storage Device

Also in the Bag

  • Polarizer
  • 50+ GB worth of memory cards
  • Pixel Pocket Rocket
  • 4-6 camera batteries
  • Eneloop rechargeable batteries (for flash and accessories)
  • Wonpro powerbar and cord
  • Lens cloth, pen brush
  • Rain covers
  • Sensor cleaning kit or vinyl makeup brushes


In my quest to travel as light as possible, I choose to bring my photo gear down in pouches rather than a large photo pack. My thinking behind this is that I will be taking my gear with me whereever I go, there are few places I will be toting a photo pack around and most importantly, not bringing a photo pack saves valuable space. I’m sure this may change should I ever decide to tote more big gear down for more serious or longer shoots. In the meantime, Think Tank’s Skin System works for me.

Purchase a Think Tank pouch system or other items over $50 using the links above and get a free gift (usually a pretty nice accessory).  Thanks for your support!