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Panama: Birds of (13 days)

Panama

Birding in Panama is easy and rewarding. We will connect with several major ecosystems as we travel to the western highlands, the central rainforests of the Panama Canal watershed and the jungle in the southeast.

An in-depth exploration of nature’s diversity across the isthmus. Its geographical position allows for a diversity of plants and animals that is almost unequaled. The country of Panama boasts an impressive list of over 960 bird species. 

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2017 Departure Dates & Costs

Trip 1: First two weeks of February
Trip 2: Last two weeks of March

Tour cost: $ 3,750 USD per person based on twin share from Panama City (includes 7% Panama Tax)


Itinerary

Panama birding

Day 1  Arrive to Panama
On arrival meet your guide and 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 RADISSON SUMMIT

Day 2 Pipeline Road – Rainforest Discovery Center - Summit Ponds –Plantation Loop (B,L,D)
Early morning breakfast and orientation with other trip participants and your Birds of Panama guide. 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. Next is Summit Ponds. There you will look for the Boat-billed Heron, Rosy Thrush-Tanager and other Pacific woodland species. Night at RADISSON SUMMIT

Day 3  Achiote & Escobal Roads (B,L,D)
An early morning drive will take you to the areas of Escobal and Achiote roads on the Caribbean side of Panama. 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. Late afternoon birding around the hotel grounds. Night at RADISSON SUMMIT

Day 4  Metropolitan Nature Park - Chiriqui Cloud Forest (B,L,D)
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. Specialties include Lance-tailed Manakin, Orange-billed Sparrow, Green Honeycreeper, Rufous and White Wren and many more. You will also look for the Red-napped Tamarin on the trail named after them. You will take 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. Proceed to Janson´s coffee farm for lunch and continue to the 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 and lower foothills of the western mountain range. Night at HOTEL BAMBITO

Day 5 La Amistad International Park & World Biosphere Reserve (B,L,D)
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 HOTEL BAMBITO

Day 6  Tapir's Canyon - Querevalo Road - Boquete (B,L,D)
This morning you will stop at Tapir’s Canyon to search for Lesser Elaenia, Bay-headed Tanager, Crested Oropendola, American Dipper, and a myriad other species. You will descend back to the lowlands and drive through some rice, corn and sugar cane fields where you will keep an eye out for Brown-throated Parakeets, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Dickcissels, and other grassland birds. You will continue bird watching on the Eastern side of Baru Volcano on the way to Boquete, a countryside town surrounded by flower, fruit and vegetable farms, coffee plantations and also lush tropical cloud forests. The afternoon is spent birding around the hotel grounds. Night at FINCA LERIDA LODGE

Day 7  Finca Lerida Cloud Forest & Cascada Trai (B,L,D)
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 picnic in the cloud forest you continue birding along the Cascada Trail on the hills of Boquete. Night at FINCA LERIDA LODGE

Day 8 Old Panama Mudflats - Costa del Este Mangroves - Cerro Azul (B,L,D)
Catch an early morning flight from David back to Panama City. You will visit the Old Panama Mudflats for a chance to see Collared Plovers, Short-billed Dowitchers, Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel and others. Lunch will be at a local restaurant. You will continue birding at the Costa del Este mangroves looking for Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, Northern Scrub-Flycatcher, Mangrove Black-Hawk, Mangrove Warbler, Sapphire-throated and Scaly-breasted Hummingbirds, Rufous-browed Peppershrike among others. You will also stop at Costa del Este in search of Black-necked Stilt, Least Sandpiper, Cocoi Heron, Yellowlegs and Night-Herons. Continue East on the Pan American highway to Cerro Azul and Cerro Jefe in Chagres National Park. With an elevation between 457 to 945 meters above sea level, this area is worth exploring for foothill specialties that include Black and Yellow, Olive and Hepatic Tanagers and the rare Tacarcuna Bush-Tanager. Also look for the endemic Striped-cheek Woodpecker, Swallow-tailed Kite, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Tawny-faced Gnatwren and White-tipped Sicklebill.  Night at THE NEST

Day 9 Cerro Jefe – Chagres National Park (B,L,D)
Explore more of the trails and birding opportunities around Cerro Jefe in Chagres National Park and in the afternoon continue East towards the Burbayar Nature Reserve where you settle for the next four nights. Night at BURBAYAR LODGE

Day 10 Burbayar Nature Reserve (B,L,D)
Today 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

Day 11 Nargana Forest Reserve (B,L,D)
This morning you bird the road that leads to the Nargana 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

Day 12 Bayano Lake (B,L,D)
On your last day at Burbayar, you head to Bayano Lake. Heading East on the Panamerican Highway, you reach the indigenous community of Akuayala from where you take a 45-minute boat ride across the lake to the south to the Emberá Wounaan Comunity. During the journey you can see aquatic birds, the submerged petrified forest and of course, the enormity of one of the largest artificial lakes in the world, at 35.000 hectares. The opportunity exists to purchase local handcrafts from the indigenous peoples. After lunch you will return West on the Panamerican Highway and check in the airport hotel. Farewell dinner at hotel included. Night at RIANDE AIRPORT HOTEL

Day 13 Depart Panama (B)
From the hotel you can take the free airport shuttle to Tocumen Airport 2.5 hours prior to your flight. The shuttle runs every 30 minutes and you can reserve your free spot directly with the hotel reception the night before.