Costa Rica Sketching Tour with Christine Elder

July 15-22, 2023 / Approximately $2200


  • Get a behind-the-scenes tour at a wildlife rescue center and sketch the toucans, sloths, cats, and other sanctuary animals.
  • Explore the cloud forests on the slopes of a volcano where we’ll search for resplendent quetzal among other endemic birds of this region.
  • Visit the national botanical gardens where they specialize in showcasing native species and we’ll sketch orchids, heliconias, gingers, and many other tropical plants.
  • Our home for 5 nights of the tour will be the beautiful and tranquil Rancho Naturalista where we’ll relax on the verandas and watch the many colorful hummingbirds at the feeders, as well as see many of the bird species that live on the property (400 live here!)
  • Daily sketching and watercolor painting activities on the veranda and as we stroll the property.
  • Optional activities in your free time will include hiking the private trails, doing night hikes with Christine to search for nocturnal critters, chill out on the yoga deck,  explore the gardens, or simply take an afternoon nap and listen to the pitter-patter of rain showers.
  • NOTE: you’re not required to be a nature sketcher to enjoy this trip since there are many other activities you can partake in while the rest of the group is sketching. All nature lovers (including spouses or friends) are welcome to join us!



“There are many places to travel on an artist retreat, however, traveling with Christine Elder to Costa Rica may be among the best, especially for birders or naturalists.
Christine’s extensive experience as a naturalist, tour organizer, and field journalling instructor created a rewarding holiday/tour. I enjoyed every aspect. Starting with beautiful accommodations and grounds at Hotel Bougainvillea and Rancho Naturalista. The excellent local guides for excursions to Volcano Turrialba, Toucan Rescue Ranch, and Lankester Botanical Garden. Plus Christine arranged unique experiences including meeting a local artist, lunching with the founder of Toucan Rescue Center, hiking at waterfalls, and exploring the lowland rain forest searching for owls.
Christine’s itinerary was beautifully structured to allow exploring and learning plus quiet moments to observe and field sketch plants and animals including hummingbirds, herons, sloths, manakins, orchids, and insects.”

-Jay Leighton, 2022  tour participant

Check out the wildlife we’ll see and sketch in the videos I filmed at Rancho Naturalista; your home for 5 days on this tour.


Tamandua at the Toucan Rescue Ranch, where we’ll spend a full day sketching and learning about the wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, and release operations at this fabulous facility.


Christine (that’s me, haha) has traveled extensively in the Neotropics from Mexico to Peru so she is familiar with the native flora and fauna as your guide. She will be joined on most days by the capable guides of Rancho Naturalista; a lodge I consider a second home, who will expertly show you the wildlife of the areas we’ll visit.

Please contact me by email ( or by phone (+1 831-227-6996).
I can’t wait to see you in Costa Rica at my favorite lodge in the world!