12 days / 11 nights
TOUR DESCRIPTION Bird watching in Panama is easy and rewarding. The country’s geographical position allows access to two great mother lodes of avian diversity. You can see Resplendent Quetzals in the West as well as Harpy Eagles in the East. In the central part of the country, within the Panama Canal watershed, you can expect to find more than 500 bird species. In total Panama boasts an impressive list of over 960 species.
PRICE US$4,050 per person + 7% tax (double occupancy) – based on 2 travelers
Additional price for single occupancy: US$970 + 7% tax
INCLUDED Lodging, meals as specified in the itinerary (B - breakfast, L - lunch, D - dinner), all land, air and water transportation within Panama, all airport/hotel transfers on scheduled arrival and departure dates, local bilingual birding guides, guide's services and expenses, park, museum and related entrance fees, services of an in-bound land operator for airline re-confirmations and tour operations
NOT INCLUDED Meals not specified in the itinerary, international airfare, alcoholic beverages, gratuities and extras in hotels (telephone calls, laundry, room service), gratuities and tips for guides, drivers and local staff, personal equipment
**ask for extensions to Punta Patiño in the Darien Province where the harpy eagle can be spotted**
Day 1: Arrival
On arrival to Tocumen International Airport, in Panama City, an Ancon Expeditions of Panama representative will greet you outside Customs. Transfer to your hotel which is located in the boundaries of the Camino de Cruces and Soberania national parks with views over the rainforest and the Panama Canal.
Night at the CANOPY BED & BREAKFAST (Standard Room)
Day 2: Pipeline Road - Rainforest Discovery Center - Plantation Loop
This morning you drive to the nearby Pipeline Road within Soberania National Park. Soberania is home to some 525 species of birds. Before entering the road you will bird the scrub habitat near the ponds looking for Crimson-backed Tanager, Rufescent Tiger Heron, White-throated Crake as well as several Tyrannulets and Greenlets. Located within this protected area Pipeline Rd. is the site where Audubon Society held its world Christmas bird count record for 19 years straight, with 357 species of birds identified in a period of 24 hours. As one of the most accessible rain forests in the world, Pipeline Road is a great place to look for birds like Slaty-tailed and Black-throated Trogons, Golden-collared Manakin, White-bellied Antbird, Semiplumbeous Hawk, Black-breasted Puffbird, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Blue Cotinga, Pheasant Cuckoo and army antswarm followers. At the Rainforest Discovery Center where you enjoy spectacular views of Soberania's vastness and canopy bird species from the 100 feet observation tower. Standing above the canopy, we witness the morning flight of Keel-billed Toucans, Red-lored Amazons and the silent and stealthy movement of Mantled Howler Monkeys. A picnic lunch will be served at the Rainforest Discovery Center. Continue to Plantation Loop where you will walk along a low ridge where you will find some of the humid forest birds such as Royal Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Spadebill, Blue-crowned Manakin and others.
Night at CANOPY BED & BREAKFAST (BL)
Day 3: Achiote Road and San Lorenzo National Park
An early morning drive will take you to the area of Achiote road on the Caribbean side of Panama as well as the Fort San Lorenzo National Park. These spots are probably some of the best places to search for diurnal raptors. They are also excellent places to look for specialties such as the Spot-crowned Barbet, Black Hawk-Eagle, Rufous-crested Coquette, Montezuma Oropendola, Brown-hooded Parrot, Black-bellied Wren, Pied Puffbird and rarities like Gray-cheeked Nunlet and White-headed Wren.
Night at CANOPY BED & BREAKFAST (BL)
Day 4: Metropolitan Nature Park & Smithsonian Canopy Crane - Chiriqui Cloud Forest
Early today you will drive to Metropolitan Nature Park (the only protected rain forest within capital city limits in Latin America). With an impressive list of 260 species the possibilities are great. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) rainforest canopy crane is 42m tall with a 51m long arm. The gondola has a maximum lift height of 34m and a work radius (from center of tower) of 48m. The crane allows three-dimensional access to the forest and lifts nature enthusiasts above the forest in a comfortable gondola and then lowers them at the desired observation sites within the canopy. With an impressive list of 260 bird species the possibilities are great at Metropolitan Nature Park. Specialties include Lance-tailed Manakin, Orange-billed Sparrow, Green Honeycreeper, Rufous and White Wren and many more. Then you will catch a mid-morning flight to David in the Chiriqui province. Chiriqui is known as “Panama’s breadbasket” having some of the most breathtaking highland scenery in Central America. Transfer by van to the western side of the Baru Volcano to the town of Volcan. After lunch you spend your afternoon birding the Janson coffee farm grounds and lagoons which offers great birding such as Rufous-browed Peppershrike, White-winged Tanager, Fiery-billed Aracari in a transitional area between the highlands & lower foothills.
Night at CASA GRANDE BAMBITO (Standard Garden Suite) (BL)
Day 5: La Amistad International Park & World Biosphere Reserve
Shared with neighboring Costa Rica and recognized in 1982 as a Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site, La Amistad is located at a point on the Central American land bridge where flora and fauna from North and South America reach their maximum species mix, with great ranges in altitude, precipitation, soils and temperature. You will spend the morning hiking and exploring La Amistad in the area of El Retoño in search of Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Andean Pygmy-Owl, Barred Becard and many other western highland species. After lunch at a local restaurant you will drive to Baru Volcano National Park located along the Talamanca mountain range and also being the highest point of the country (3,475 meters above sea level). The Baru Volcano and La Amistad parks are part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. Here you will search for Buffy Tuftedcheek, Resplendent Quetzal, Ochraceous Pewee, Silvery-throated Jay, different hummingbirds and other highland species.
Night at CASA GRANDE BAMBITO (BL)
Day 6: Finca Ceriana - Boquete
Strategically located between the highlands and lowlands of Chiriqui, Finca Ceriana forms part of a privately protected area for the conservation of flora and fauna in the region. One of its unique characteristics is the number of bird species and other animals from the upper and lower mountain areas. Apart from being an important migration zone for birds, the biological corridor of the lagoons and Finca Ceriana is vital for the wellbeing of the protected areas of La Amistad International Park and Baru Volcano National Park. The total area counts 10 hectares of protected land and nearly 2 kilometers of nature trails, in addition to one of the most beautiful views to Costa Rica's Golfo Dulce, or sweet golf, and Osa pensinsula as well as to Punta Burica in Panama. Finca Ceriana gives you the opportunity to spot species of birds that are unique to the region. The unique location provides exceptional opportunities to observe endemic bird species as well as a true combination of species that are found in the highlands and lowlands. After a picnic lunch, you will continue birding in the area before heading to the Eastern side of Baru Volcano to the charming town of Boquete, a countryside town surrounded by flower, fruit and vegetable farms, coffee plantations and also lush tropical cloud forests.
Night at FINCA LERIDA LODGE (Deluxe Room) (BL)
Day 7: Finca Lerida Cloud Forest & La Cascada Trail
Today you will explore Finca Lerida, a privately owned preserve, just outside Baru Volcano National Park. At an elevation of 2,286 meters above sea level, you have an opportunity to see the elusive Resplendent Quetzal, Three-wattled Bellbird, Black-faced Solitaire, Volcano Hummingbird, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher and Prong-billed Barbet in their cool habitat of orchids, bromeliads and wild avocados. After a light lunch at Finca Lerida, your private guide picks you up for an afternoon birding outing in other preferred areas of Boquete.
Night at FINCA LERIDA LODGE
Day 8: Fortuna Nature Reserve
This full day birding tour takes you to the Oleoducto Road, passing over the continental divide to the Caribbean Slope where there is a large unbroken tract of forest with a good road passing through it. You may spend most of our time birding from the little-traveled side roads. The reserve protects the watershed of the Fortuna hydroelectric project, and there are many birds to be seen here that are hard to see on the Pacific Slope. You will look for Lattice-tailed Trogon, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, and Black-bellied Hummingbird. Unlikely put possible to see here is the Bare-necked Umbrellabird. En route to the Oleoducto Road, you will spend some time birding the riparian gallery forest near the village of Chiriquicito. Return back to your hotel.
Night at FINCA LERIDA LODGE (BL)
Day 9: Burbayar Nature Reserve **currently closed**
Catch an early morning flight from David back to Panama City. You will be picked up at Albrook Airport by your Burbayar driver for approximately 2.5 – 3 hours transfer to Burbayar Lodge near the Nusagandi Reserve. Upon arrival you will bird the network of trails surrounding Burbayar Lodge. The avifauna here is very rich and includes foothill and Eastern Panama species such as Sapayoa, Speckled Antshrike, Black-headed Anthrush and many more. Here you will have more opportunities of spotting Striped-cheek Woodpecker, Swallow-tailed Kite and Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Barred Hawk, Stripe-throated Wren and Red-throated Caracara.
Night at BURBAYAR LODGE (BLD) **currently closed**
Day 10: Nusagandi Forest Reserve
This morning you bird the road that leads to the Nusagandi Forest Reserve. This road is very productive for foothill specialties, including the Rufous-winged, Bay-headed tanagers and others such as the Plumbeous Hawk, Tawny-faced Quail, Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Purplish-backed and Olive-backed quail-doves, Blue-fronted Parrotlet, Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker, Black-crowned Antpitta, Dull-mantled Antbird, Black-headed Antthrush, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher and Stripe-throated Wren. This afternoon enjoy birding around the lodge looking for several hummingbird species such as the Little Hermit, Garden Emerald, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Black Throated Mango or parrots including the Mealy Amazon, Brown-hooded Parrot and Blue-headed Parrot; toucans such as the Keel-billed Toucan and the Collared Aracari or tanagers like the Golden-hooded Tanager, Sulphur-rumped Tanager, Summer Tanager and Flame-rumped Tanager.
Night at BURBAYAR LODGE (BLD) **currently closed**
Day 11: Burbayar - Panama City
Continue birding all morning around the Burbayar Nature Reserve, and after lunch you will be transferred back to your hotel in Panama City where you will arrive mid afternoon.
Night at TOSCANA INN (BL)
Day 12: Depart Panama
This morning you will be transferred to Tocumen Airport for your departure flight back home. (B)
Moderate/long hiking 3-5 hours per day over variable terrain, slippery, muddy Accommodations vary from hotel, comfortable lodges, field stations to rustic nature lodges.
**available on any dates / on request basis**
DISCLAIMER & NOTE
- Prices and itineraries are correct at the time of printing, however they are subject to change due to tidal/weather or local conditions, availabilities or factors beyond our control.
- This program includes a local bilingual birding guide in the different regions visited
- For domestic flights each passenger is allowed 1 bag of up to 30 lbs (14 kg). On the route to David, each passenger is allowed 1 bag of up to 44 lbs (20 kg). Carry-on luggage is limited to 8.8 lbs passenger (4 kg).
- Passengers are responsible for excess baggage fees and are subject to US$3.00 per extra kilo and only allowed depending on flight occupancy.
- Name or date changes on flight tickets are subject to a penalty of US$25 plus 7% tax (per change, per route)
- Ticket cancellations with more than 30 days before your trip are subject to a service fee of US$25 per ticket (taxes included). Within 30 days from your arrival our regular cancellation policies apply.
- Penalty for no show is 100% of all applicable fares, taxes and surcharges.
- Surcharge for transportation of a pet or a surf board is US$30 per item per route.
WHAT TO BRING
- Binoculars (preferably 7x35 or bigger, also available for rent at Ancon Expeditions of Panama)
- Water bottle
- Lightweight/quick dry cotton clothes
- Birds of Panama book
- Bathing suit
- Camera with extra batteries & film
- Sandals, sneakers, hiking boots
- Flashlight with extra bulb & batteries
- Rain gear, Windbreaker
- Insect repellant, Sunscreen
- Money in small denominations
- Hat, Day pack / dry sack
- Toiletries & personal medications
- The Naturalist Guide carries a spotting scope
Ancon Expeditions is Panama’s top eco-tourism operator. Our Natural & Cultural History Guides are the country's finest. Due to frequently asked questions from our clients about suggested guide & staff gratuities, we would like to provide you with the following universal tipping guidelines:
- Birding guide: US$10.00-US$20.00 per person/day
- Transfer driver: US$2.00 per person
- Tour driver: US$5.00 per person/day
- Tour boat driver: US$5.00 per person/day
- Hotel bellman: US$1.00 per person per suitcase
- International airport bellmen (red caps): US$1.00 per piece of suitcase
Enjoy this trip report by Elise Faike who participated in the Birds of Panama a few years back:
“A very good bird trip indeed.
Roberto did a very good job indeed and his knowledge of the birds of Panama and other wildlife is first class. I hope to be able to join Ancon Expeditions of Panama on a future expedition.”
Glenn Michael Duggan, UK
“Ancon Expeditions have helped me as a photographer to see and photograph birds, animals, landscapes, and other wildlife in urban, and remote and wild areas of Panama. Their logistics are excellent. Ancon Expeditions have excellent naturalist guides with broad knowledge beyond only the nature of Panama; in addition they have very high level of ethics.”
Øyvind Martinsen, Norway
CANOPY BED & BREAKFAST
The Canopy Bed and Breakfast is located in the sleepy, forested town of Gamboa. During the construction of the Canal, Gamboa was vibrant and especially important to the Canal's planning and development. Today, Gamboa is a quiet and pastoral village, making it an attractive destination for nature lovers, or for people wanting to get away from busy city life or just to have a relaxing vacation. Yes, Gamboa, once a thriving center of Canal activity is now a safe haven for tropical birds, such as Keel-billed Toucans and parrots, where rainforest agoutis roam the gardens with impunity, iguanas lounge lazily on branches and where capybaras and crocodiles may be found by the river. The main residents now are scientists who work at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) facilities on adjacent Barro Colorado Island. There are five unique bedrooms located within the Canopy Bed and Breakfast. All are located in the restored canal house dating back to 1937. The bottom floor is home to our two standard rooms. Room #1, the Agouti Room (below), has one queen size bed and room #2, the Tanager Room (above), has two twin size beds. Both are equipped with A/C units, standing fans and private bathrooms! These bedrooms have direct access and have beautiful views to our back yard, where many bird species can be spotted all day long! If you are looking for more spacious rooms, with high ceilings and large windows, our deluxe rooms are for you! All three of our deluxe rooms are located on the third floor with spectacular views of the Soberania National Park. Room # 5, the Soberania Room (below), and room # 3, the Don Goyo Room (below), both have queen sized beds. Room #4, the Las Terrazas Room (above), has two twin size beds. All three bedrooms are equipped with A/C units, fans, ample storage space and private bathrooms. These are the perfect rooms to be eye level with the many birds that perch in the surrounding trees of the Bed and Breakfast!
Address: Gamboa Town, Soberania National Park, Panamá
Phone: (+507) 264-5720
CASA GRANDE BAMBITO
This small mountain boutique hotel is located approximately 90 minutes driving from David Airport, and about 15 minutes after the small town of Volcán enroute to Cerro Punta, at an elevation of 1,900 meters. The fresh mountain air and temperatures are a nice change from the hot and humid Panama City and low lands. Nestled in the Chiriqui highland´s cloud forest along the small river and near mountain road, Casa Grande Bambito a great place to relax, explore the outdoors and enjoy the bird watching around the area. The nicely appointed hotel suites offer a comfortable overnight stay with local ambience and wood works. The property also features a small outdoor swimming pool, a Spa with hot springs and different relaxation and beauty treatments, the “Blue Garden” restaurant, and a lush green outdoor garden area.
Address: Volcán, vía Cerro Punta, Chiriqui, Panama
Phone: +(507) 771-5126
Check in: 2:00 p.m.
Check out: 1:00 p.m.
This unique and beautiful privately owned preserve in Boquete, in the buffer zone of Baru Volcano National Park, is an idyllic lodging escape in the middle of the cloud forest and shade-grown coffee plantations. Finca Lerida has 13 comfortable rooms, a living room area for game nights or relaxation in front of the open fire place, a restaurant and many beautiful trails. The eco lodge is located just 20 minutes outside the charming town of Boquete.
Address: Alto Quiel, Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama
Phone: +(507) 720-2285
Check in: 3:00 p.m.
Check out: 12:00 p.m.
Burbayar ('Spirit of the mountain' in the Kuna language) is a family owned and operated lodge following the principles of sustainable tourism. The lodge is perched on a mountain summit, 375 meters above sea level. The climate is humid yet the lodge catches a breeze. You are able to sleep in open air cabins without screens or benefit of electricity, enjoying tropical nature without mosquitoes. Burbayar provides all the basic comforts and is totally natural. It is the place for those interested in quiet immersion in nature. You can spend the night in the forest, eat delicious food, relax in hammocks, hike trails, dream and truly get away. Cabins accommodate a maximum group size of 14 people. Each rustic cabin has fully-equipped bathrooms with cold water. Power comes from a small generator and through solar lamps. At night candles and lanterns are lit, giving the lodge an old-fashioned atmosphere.
Address: Llano Carti, Burbayar Reserve, Panama
Phone: +(507) 390-6674
Check in: 3:00 p.m.
Check out: 1:00 p.m
This small local hotel is located right in the heart of the Panama City in El Cangrejo and within walking distance from stores, restaurants, supermarkets. Its 91 rooms comes with private bathrooms, flatscreen LCD, cable television, safe, ironing board, air conditioning and a mini refrigerator. Guests enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi Internet, a small business center and traditional Panamanian breakfast in the Café Los Girasoles (the “Sunflower Café”) as courtesy of the hotel. Laundry service available.
Address: Vía España, Calle D, El Cangrejo, Panama City, Panama
Phone: (+507) 265-0018
Check in: 3:00 p.m.
Check out: 1:00 p.m.