“Thanks to Juan Carlos for providing the best opportunity for capturing my amazing photographs. He is the snake-wrangler and bird-whisperer that made every shot possible. During 10 days of shooting I took almost 9,000 pictures, even though we lost two days of shooting because of heavy wind and rain at the Arenal Volcano. I shot 900 on the day we shot hummingbirds and 135 of the Violet Sabrewing alone. Juan Carlos said that we shouldn’t think of our photos as children and that we need to evaluate our photos with a critical eye. I had a difficult time determining which one of my Violet Sabrewing photos was the best image. Every one of them was my favorite. Juan Carlos worked tirelessly to stage the photos with perches, lighting and background. All this was done to provide a natural looking picture. The advantage of having a local award-winning photographer paid off time after time. The knowledge that I gained has made me a better photographer”.
Muchas Gracias Juan Carlos. Henry D, Basalt, CO (The Essence of Costa Rica 2017)
“Juan Carlos was our bird photography guide for three days in March, 2015. We would not have had such a wonderful experience without him. He birded with us in Arenal, drove us to Sarapiqui and birded with us there the next day. Not only is he an expert birder and is very knowledgable about birding sites all over Costa Rica but he was fabulous in helping me become a better photographer. Although I am an experienced bird photographer, the neo-tropical forests present very demanding conditions, particularly about the light. Juan Carlos deeply understands how to get the most out of any conditions. In addition, he is a lovely and responsible person. My wife and I would recommend him to everyone. If you are interested in bird photography in Costa Rica, I would call him first, create a trip plan, and then let him do the bookings. You will not only save money but you will be at the right hotels in the right areas according to your interests.”
Edward Celnicker, USA
“My tour with Juan Carlos Vindas in Costa Rica was my single most important photographic experience. Since the tour, my photography has improved tremendously, thanks to the techniques he taught me.” Thank you, Juan Carlos.
Carrie Eve Knoll, USA
“My daughter and I recently had the pleasure to employ Juan Carlos Vindas as our dedicated tour guide for a week’s vacation during Spring Break in Costa Rica. He put together a fantastic program where we visited major ecological and geological sites as well as making side trips to great adventure and resort locations all around the country. We are experienced travellers and adventurous explorers, but we were also first-time visitors to Costa Rica. We had a great week! I heartily recommend Juan Carlos for several reasons: (1) he possesses an excellent command of the English language (frankly better than many Nordamericanoes!); (2) he is a wealth of knowledge about Costa Rica: the history, government, society, architecture, flora and fauna of this beautiful country; (3) he possesses excellent judgment, conducts highly professional tours, and is extremely agile when circumstances change (weather, vehicles, unannounced closings, holidays, etc.) and he always ensures an optimum outcome; (4) his shopping recommendations are good buys and he steers you away from “rip-offs”; and, (5) he is an honourable, honest and convivial gentleman who is always focused on his customers, their well-being and their enjoyment.”
Walt Steiner, Mclean, Virginia, USA
“Bueno amigos, dedicar unos minutos para escribir mi experiencia en este viaje es lo menos que puedo hacer para agradecer a todas las personas con quienes compartí esta grandiosa experiencia. La verdad es que son varias las cosas las que me gustaría destacar: Primero que todo, agradezco el duro trabajo que hizo Juan Carlos para brindarnos las mejores oportunidades para poder ver y fotografiar las aves más bellas que he visto en mi vida, en su entorno natural. Ellos no sólo escogieron los mejores lugares y horarios para avistar la fauna de Costa Rica, sino que los hoteles contratados y las comidas fueron excelentes… creo que regresé a mi país con varios kilos de más! El grupo de personas con las que compartí este tour fotográfico fue muy agradable y, aunque fue por un corto período de tiempo, por algunos de ellos llegué a sentir y aún siento un real aprecio. Para no hacer este testimonio tan largo, solo quiero concluir diciendo que no sólo estoy feliz por las aves y animales que vi y por las fotografías que conseguí, sino que estoy muy contento porque siento que gané un gran amigo, Juan Carlos, a quien espero volver a ver pronto… en mi siguiente viaje a Costa Rica. Un abrazo! … y nos vemos pronto. Pura Vida!!!”
Christian Saavedra Santiago, Chile (The Essence of Costa Rica 2016)
“I can simply sum it up as “fabulous”. We saw everything we had hoped to see and much more, including both Motmots, three Trogons, two Owls, a Manakin lek, Crested Guan, Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Emerald Toucanet, White-throated Magpie-Jay, plus new Tanagers and Hummingbirds. Seeing the Emerald Toucanet flying food to its nest was a treat. Our time with the Macaws was well-spent, with lots of new photos of the Scarlets, Great-Greens, and assorted smaller Parrots. The top target was the Resplendent Quetzal and we saw them several times, with magnificent long tail plumes.
Also top targets were some animals, namely Monkeys and Sloths. We saw several groups of Howlers and got good photos. While we saw both Spiders and Capuchins, they did not lend themselves to photos. Both Sloths were seen well and photographed. But the star of the trip had to be the gorgeous Margay, a totally unexpected and incredible find.
Lastly, but most importantly, was being with Juan Carlos. His knowledge of the country and its history was superb, and his contacts with the local folks got us in to see things that were not available to other guides. He was very flexible and we both felt comfortable and relaxed travelling with him. We certainly will be planning another trip with him. (…and after this trip they’ve been with me on four other photo tours!) Thanks to you for giving us the best trip we have ever had.”
George and Susan Vlahakis, USA
“This workshop exceeded all my expectations ten fold. This was my third time to Costa Rica to photograph birds and I will be replacing almost every image I have with the ones I just acquired. To see so many species of birds and to capture them full frame on amazing perches with sweet backgrounds was a fantasy come true. Juan Carlos have done an excellent job finding and picking locations in Costa Rica where a wonderful variety of birds can be seen and photographer under the most favourable conditions. The technical expertise and assistance provided to me on shooting in low light conditions and the proper use of flash helped immeasurably. Getting the most amazing images was definitely the hi-light but the attentiveness Juan Carlos gave to my personal needs and comfort also greatly enhanced the whole experience. There were so many high points to this workshop but one that stands out for me was photographing the Resplendent Quetzal. This is “the bird” when I think of Costa Rica and to come home with great captures of it was the icing on the cake. I will definitely be back for another workshop and will be highly recommending your workshop to friends and others wishing to have a fantastic bird photography experience in Costa Rica.”
Rick Dobson, Canada (The Essence of Costa Rica 2015)
“This was my first photography workshop tour and what a country (Costa Rica) to experience its diversity and natural beauty. This tour opened my horizons in photography shooting. Learning experience acquired was extraordinary. Juan Carlos, my guide went beyond the call of duty to choose the perfect location to facilitate our shooting targets. Birds everywhere and in quantities. The thrill of victory: The Resplendent Quetzal and a variety of Hummingbirds. Juan Carlos have demonstrated a great deal of knowledge and care to the whole group in terms of technical and human assistance and making this trip one I would cherish for the rest of my life. Let’s do it again.”
Alix Bleus, Florida USA