About Burbayar Nature Reserve
Burbayar Nature Reserve is located on the San Blas mountain range at an average elevation of 375 meters above sea level and it is composed of premontane humid tropical rainforest. The 60-hectare (148-acre) private reserve borders the Nargana Wilderness Area encompassed within the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, extending from southern Mexico to the Darien National Park in eastern Panama.
Burbayar (buɾ.βa.ˈʝaɾ) means the Spirit of the Mountain in the language spoken by the Guna, our neighbors.
Burbayar’s habitat is rich in plant and animal life and it is home to representative species such as Jaguar, Tapir and Harpy eagle, animals that require extensive and healthy environments to thrive. Since 1998, when the reserve was established, the increase in wildlife abundance and diversity has been noticeable and recorded. Troops of Geoffroy’s tamarin monkeys, a species endemic to Panama, are common findings as well as families of Collared peccaries, Tamandua and Pacca. Rivers and creeks that traverse the reserve, as well as bromeliad leaves and other humid crevices in tree trunks are teeming with frogs and other amphibians. The bountiful flowering plants attract butterflies and trees are used by dozens of species of birds to nest, feed and rest.
The Burbayar bird list exceeds 300 species including specialties such as Sapayoa, Xenornis, Yellow-eared toucanet, Rufous-winged and Sulphur-rumped tanagers and Plumbeous hawk. The network of trails within the reserve is extensive and provides access to spotting birds and wildlife in general as well as natural river pools, waterfalls and exuberant tropical landscapes.
Burbayar Nature Reserve is a well-known birding destination for eastern Panama, Pacific and Caribbean slope and foothill species. It is situated in a low saddle on the Continental Divide where species of different ranges congregate. The reserve is in the middle of the narrowest section of the Isthmus of Panama which is used by literally millions of birds during their migration from the north and from the south of the American continent.
For over 20 years Burbayar has served the scientific community as a prime location for their work thanks to its accessibility, protection status and life abundance. Organizations such as the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), Gorgas Institute for Health Research and Yaguará carry out field research within the reserve on a permanent or regular basis.
Only 90 minutes away from Panama City (70 minutes from Tocumen International Airport) Burbayar is the most accessible private nature reserve in Panama. And from Burbayar, northbound, one can reach the San Blas islands in 30 minutes. It takes the same time to reach Bayano Lake on the opposite direction. This unique advantage offers more possibilities to explore different habitats and to encounter new cultures.
At Burbayar we are committed to the protection of the rainforest and the wildlife found within the reserve, to provide the opportunity to visitors to explore, learn and enjoy its natural attributes, to offer support to science in favor of conservation. We are also working with our neighbors to guarantee the area’s long term conservation status and sustainable economy through ecotourism. The best way to accomplish this is by educating the future generations. Burbayar supports the local school by providing workshop on environmental education and guide training.
Burbayar Lodge reopened its doors in 2019 under new management maintaining the same tradition of homestay hospitality. The lodge underwent important renovations and it now offers inviting cabins with private bathrooms, comfortable orthopedic mattresses, ceiling fans and 24-hour electricity. Other creature comforts include reading lamps and charging stations for cameras, smart phones and other electronic equipment. The cabins are strategically located within a short distance of each other and of the main house, but with the necessary privacy. The screened windows have shutters which may be opened or closed as desired.
The main house offers a common living room, a reference library, hammocks and hummingbird feeders. The dining hall is located in the main house’s front terrace where all meals are served family style. Meals are well balanced following Panamanian traditional cooking. The kitchen is prepared to accommodate special menus as long as they are requested in advance.
A drinking water dispenser is located at the main house which is accessible at all times. Guest are expected to bring their own reusable bottles.
The pathways between the cabins and main house are exceptional for bird and butterfly watching and visits by Geoffroy’s tamarins and other small mammals are not uncommon. The gardens are natural and host a variety of tropical plants including unique orchids.
Accessibility: 90 kilometers away from Panama City
Accommodations: 6 private cabins
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner (family style). Wine and beer available (honor bar)
Communication: Basic internet access via wifi. Cellular signal is available and most providers offer roaming service.
Reservations Phone: +(507) 269-9415 or toll free from the USA & Canada: 1-888-760-3426
Address: Llano Carti, Km 15, Burbayar Nature Reserve, Panama