Panama Birding

Birds of the Isthmus of Panama

Introduction
The program covers a variety of habitats and the most spectacular birds of Panama. We begin with the Panama Canal Rainforests, where a phenomenal congregation of species are. You will be introduced to a variety of tropical bird families, such as trogons, toucans and puffbirds. We'll explore foothills areas where an interesting mix of colorful tanagers wait for us. Visit the Western Highlands of Panama in search of eccentric species, such as Resplendent Quetzals, Blue-throated Toucanet, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher and more. These are full birding days led by a bilingual professional guide with good eyes and fully equipped. At slow pace there are opportunities to photograph birds. The extension to Darien is perfect for those looking to add Darien Lowlands specialties and there is the chance to watch the Harpy Eagle.

Central Panama

Day 1
Arrival to Panama City
You are met at the airport and driven to the hotel located at the Old Canal Zone. The place is in a nice area surrounded by nature and with easy access to the main bird spots of the Panama Canal Rainforest.
Night: Radisson Summit Hotel

Day 2
Pipeline road & Gamboa
This day your specialist leader will guide you through the famous Pipeline Road. We’ll go to a new observation tower, 100 feet’s above the Canopy, to admire the "roof" of the rainforest. From the treetops we’ll have spectacular views of some unique canopy birds, such as the Blue Cotinga. We'll walk the forests of Pipeline looking for Golden-collared Manakin and Slaty-tailed Trogon. We’ll help you to find and identify some of the tiniest ones, such as the Southern Bentbill. We’ll have lunch at the Visitor Center, surrounded by hummingbird feeders. In the afternoon we’ll explore several aquatic habitats around Gamboa, searching for Rufescent-Tiger-Heron and Yellow–tailed Oriole.
Night:Radisson Summit Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 3
Old Gamboa Road & Plantation Road
Explore another hot spot at the Canal Corridor, looking for Spectacled Owls and Blue-crowned Motmots. Scan the Summit Ponds for Amazon, Green, Ringed Kingfishers and nesting Boat-billed Herons. Bird walk under the evergreen forest of Plantation Road, there are possibilities to find army ant-swarms and many of the birds that follow these ants, such as Spotted Antbird, and Ocellated Antbird. Some other specialties of the Plantation Road include: Golden-crowned Spadebill, Olivaceous Flatbill, White-whiskered Puffbird and more. The rainforest of the Panama Canal are highly diverse, we go over the list every day!
Night:Radisson Summit Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 4
Metropolitan Nature Park & Drive to El Valle
With a list of 267 species, the Metro Park is the largest tropical forest park within the limits of a Latin American City, a good place to find birds of the Pacific forest of the Panama Canal. We’ll look for specialties like: the Panama endemic Yellow-green Tyrannulet (rare), Lance-tailed Manakin, Pheasant Cuckoo and Rosy Thrush-Tanager. After lunch in a local restaurant, we’ll be driven 1 ½ hour west to El Valle.
Night:Anton Valley Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 5
EL Valle Foothills
This morning explore the Cerro Gaital and La Mesa area. This area is at higher elevation than the town itself; here look for wet forest species typical of the Western Foothills of Panama such as Tody Motmot, Spectacled Owl, Spot-crowned Barbet, Flame-rumped Tanager, Yellow-eared Toucanet and more.
Night: Anton Valley Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 6
El Valle - Panama City – Flight to the Highlands
Morning Birding El Valle, a picturesque town, located in the crater of an extinct volcano. The town has year-round spring weather thanks to its 700meter altitude. Some other birds that could be found are; Silvery-throated Tanager, Orange Bellied Trogon and Blue-throated Toucanet. Afternoon transfer to Panama City, to take our flight (50 minutes) to David, upon arrival we will be greeted by our excellent driver to be taken to the Western Highlands (Volcan Town), where we will stay 3 nights to find Highland Birds and many endemics.
Night: Hotel Dos Rios - Chiriqui Highlands (B,L,D)

Chiriqui Highlands

Day 7
Volcan Baru National Park & Los Quetzales Trail
Find Resplendent Quetzals with the help of your specialist guide. The bird could be found eating the wild avocados and everyone will like to have the perfect photo. The Quetzal was the most sacred symbol of the Aztecs and Mayas. The name quetzal is an ancient Indian term for tail feather and the bird itself represents liberty. We should look also for Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Barred Becard, Black-faced Solitaire, Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch, Black-capped Flycatcher, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Ruddy Treerunner Blue-throated (Emerald) Toucanet and more. Continue birding around the area of Cerro Punta looking for more highland birds and endemics.
Night: Hotel Dos Rios - Chiriqui Highlands (B,L,D)

Day 8
La Amistad International Park
Visit to La Amistad International Park. This Park also known as PILA, is a World Heritage site and part of the Talamanca Mountain Range, a volcanic origin formation that congregates the highest concentration of endemic and threatened species in Panama, such as Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Yellow-thighed Finch, Collared Redstart, Flame-throated Warbler, Prong-billed Barbet and Wrenthrush (Zeledonia). Afternoon visit to Cielito Sur, a private reserve with a trail, that winds through hillside forest, passing several streams, providing an opportunity to see some of the highland bird species. Enjoy several sets of hummingbird feeders around the reserve where you can watch the White-throated Mountain Gem, Green Violet-ear, Snowy-bellied Hummingbird, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, Scintillant Hummingbird, Green-crowned Brilliant and more.
Night: Hotel Dos Rios - Chiriqui Highlands (B,L,D)

Day 9
Volcan Lakes & Flight back to Panama City
The lakes near Volcán are very good to find species not found on the higher slopes of Cerro Punta. Some species include: Masked Duck and Northern Jacanas. Interesting birds of woodland areas such as Golden-winged Warbler, Olivaceous Piculet, Spotted Wood-Quail, Pale-breasted Spinetail and Collared Trogon could be found. After lunch, the small group we’ll go back to David to take the afternoon flight to Panama City.
Night:Radisson Summit Hotel (B,L,D)

Darien - Lowlands

Day 10
Darien Lowlands
Transfer to the Tocumen airport or continue with the Darien extension. Depart in mini-bus from Panama City along the Pan-American, stop for morning birding at the Bayano Lowlands, search for Darien specialties such as Rufous-winged Antwren, Black Antshrike, Orange Crowned Oriole, White-eared Conebill and Green-and-Rufous Kingfisher; scan the edge of the Bayano Lake searching for Pied Water-Tyrant and Cocoi Heron, after lunch we’ll continue in route to Torti, afternoon birding in the Torti River, to look for Pacific Antwren and Royal Flycatcher.
Night: Portal Avicar (Torti) (B,L,D)

Day 11
San Francisco Reserve
Only 10 minutes from our hotel, this 500 hectares reserve holds many Eastern Panama and Darien specialties. We will be looking for Black-and White Hawk-Eagle, Bare-Crowned Antbird, Barred Puffbird, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Great Jacamar and more. After lunch we will be driver more deep in to the Darien to keep birding and spend one night in Meteti.
Night: Hotel (Meteti) (B,L,D)

Day 12
Darien Lowlands - Harpy Eagle
If the status of a Harpy Eagle Nest is active, we will take an hour boat ride deeper into the Darien to admire this majestic bird. Morning birding, looking for more Darien specialties such as Golden-headed Manakin, Rufous-winged Antwren, Great Antshrike, Olive-backed Quail-Dove and more.
Night: Meteti (B,L,D)

Day 13
Darien Lowlands
We'll explore several spots around the village in search of some Darién specialties, such as Black Oropendolas, Bicolored Wren, Gray-cheeked Nunlet, Red-rumped Woodpecker and more. Other typical birds of the zone are Red-throated Caracaras and Laughing Falcons. This Darien area is perfect for those looking to find species from South American origins not found in the rest of Central America. We will plan the transfers out accordingly, depending on departure flights.
Night:Radisson Summit Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 14
Departure to Tocumen Airport - International Flight
Transfer to Tocumen Airport (PTY) for international flight. (B)



TOUR DATES: January 4-17 ,2018 - 14 Days / February 2-15 ,2018 - 14 Days / March 2-15 , 2018 - 14 Days

PRICING: US$2050.00 per person for the 10 days / US$2795.00 per person for the 14 Days. Double occupancy.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: US$395.00

TOUR SIZE: 6-10 participants

WHAT'S INCLUDED: Bilingual Bird Guide, domestic flight to Chiriqui (Round trip) sale taxes, accommodations, all meals (BLD), motor boats, bottled water, all touring and airport transfers in air-conditioned bus, checklist, all logistics, storage room.

NOT INCLUDED: International flights, personal services, including laundry, telephone, alcoholic drinks, gratuities etc.

ACCOMMODATIONS:

Radisson Summit Hotel – 3 nights: A tropical getaway located just minutes from the famous Panama Canal and many attractions in Panama City. At top of a hill surrounded by rainforest. Free wifi, free shuttles to the Panama Canal, two on-site restaurants, full baths, hot water, laundry service, bar, two outdoor pools, hot breakfast buffet, nature trails.

Anton Valley Hotel (EL Valle) - 2 nights: Nice fully equipped rooms with; full baths, hot water, wifi, laundry service, bar, Excellent Restaurant.

Hotel Dos Rios – 3 nights: This nice hotel is located at Volcan at an elevation of 1500m. Amenities: Private rooms with electricity plugs, full baths, hot water, laundry service, bar, restaurant, nature garden with birds etc.

For the Darien Extension: Basic hotels with air conditioned; At all locations of the trip there are screened windows and flushing toilets. All locations have electrical plugs

Radisson Summit Hotel, or similar for the last nights in Panama City after coming back from the Chiriqui Highlands or Darien.
ABOUT THE DATES OF THE TOUR: The schedule programs we advertise on the website always go, we guarantee the dates, you can plan with confidence.

HOW TO BOOK: The complete registration form and payment terms will be sent once we start the planning process. A deposit of US$50 per person will be due to register for a trip. The balance of the trip price is payable 60 days before your trip start.

WALKING CONDITIONS: Easy to Moderate, The path and trails are wide and flat around the Canal Area and few hills on the Darien. The terrain is more broken on the Highlands but none of the bird walks will be strenuous.

EQUIPMENT: The tour leader will have a professional spotting scope; but if you have one, it's ok to bring it. The most important things to bring for the Panama birding tour are a pair of binoculars, a field guide and a camera with extra batteries. You should also bring sunglasses and sunscreen, a small flashlight or headlamp, small alarm clock, water bottle, camera, film and spare batteries and a small day-pack.

ABOUT THE TOUR: The forest walks start early morning, the program is designed to maximize the number of species and reserves to be seen. The walks are at slow pace, this allows for bird and wildlife photography. We visit several private reserves, gardens and feeders where is easier to find many of the key species. The driving and the flights are scheduled during hot hours when the activity is slower. The afternoon plans allow for those who would like to have some rest, to do that at the lodges, at least for half of the program.

RECOMMENDED FIELD GUIDE : The Birds of Panama: A Field Guide by George R. Angehr.
This book has a Checklist on the back, good to study prior to arrival.
Upon your arrival we will provide you with a Checklist Booklet of the Birds of Panama.

Testimonials

"Just a note to say thanks for the great birding tour of Panama. It was all I had expected and more. Please extend my thanks also to Mahelis and Ito--they both added much to the entire trip. I certainly will recommend your tours to my friends here in Iowa. "

DOUG HARR
Ogden, Iowa, USA