camera bodies

  • Bring 2 camera bodies if you can; that way if one of them fails you’ll still be able to take pictures.
  • I also like to bring a point and shoot camera or a cell phone that I carry with me at all times for candids and other snapshots.
  • Camera plates for each of your bodies (preferably L plates)


  • Your longest lens (minimum 400mm but ideally 500mm or 600mm). The Sigma and Tamron 150-600 lenses are quite good, as is the Nikon 200-500.
  • A middle length supertelephoto zoom lens (70-200, 70-300, 80-400, or 100-400)
  • A wide angle prime or zoom lens
  • A macro lens
  • Teleconverters
  • Lens plates for your lenses that accept them (get long plates so that it's easier to balance your gear on a gimbal head)


  • A regular flash with a Better Beamer
  • A macro flash if you’ve got one


  • Plenty of memory cards (500-1000 frames or more per day is about the norm)
  • A laptop is handy for image review (make sure your image editing software is installed)
  • A backup hard drive
  • A card reader

camera support

  • A sturdy tripod with a gimbal head, flash arm, and flash extension cable
  • A ball head is also useful (for landscapes and macro), but it’s no substitute for a gimbal head; I do not recommend trying to do bird photography using a ball head!


  • Rain protection for your camera gear
  • Extra camera batteries and chargers
  • Something to clean your camera sensor
  • A cable release
  • Tools to tighten lens plates, tripods, etc.
  • Polarizing and neutral density filters for landscape work
  • Extension tubes
  • A small bag or belt system to carry a selection of gear with you during the day (although you will have access to your hotel room most of the time)
  • A small towel to clean and dry your gear
  • A flashlight
  • A headlight
  • An electrical extension cord and at least one 3-into-2 prong electrical adapter
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellent (I recommend Repel Sportsmen Max 40% DEET Pump Spray). Non-DEET spray just doesn't work very well.
  • Cipro 500 mg tablets in case of GI problems (2 pills per day for 3 days)
  • Immodium
  • Motion sickness medicine (if you’re prone to getting sick)

clothing (not including what you're wearing)

  • 1 or 2 pairs of pants (I prefer those lightweight convertible cargo pants, Greg prefers Capris)
  • 5 sets of underwear, socks, and T-shirts (you can have laundry done at the lodges)
  • 1 or 2 long-sleeved shirts
  • A lightweight rain jacket
  • A slightly warmer jacket (one of the places we’re staying at can get chilly at night (40s-50s)
  • A layer to wear underneath the warmer jacket
  • Gloves (that you can operate a camera while wearing) and a ski cap
  • A hat
  • Walking shoes, preferably waterproof (hiking boots not necessary)
  • Sandals that can get wet are nice to have but not essential
  • From the above list take 1-2 changes of clothes in a carry-on


  • A Costa Rica bird guide (although we'll also have one for you to use)
  • Binoculars
  • A good book or two