Prices in (CAD)
Birding in Panama is easy and rewarding. 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.
Birds of Panama Itinerary (9 days)
Day 1 Arrive to Panama
Airport Meet & Greet by our land partners at the Tocumen International Airport. They will have a sign with your name on it in the arrivals area after you have cleared immigration and customs. Assist and transfer you to your hotel located in Panama City. Upon your arrival to your hotel check-in. Overnight Radisson Hotel Panama Canal. Situated within walking distance of the Panama Convention Center and minutes away from the Fuerte Amador Cruise Port, Radisson Panama Canal makes your arrival at the Crossroads of the World a breeze. If you’re visiting on vacation, you’ll appreciate their location on the Amador Causeway next to the beautiful Panama Canal, near Casco Antiguo. You can explore the local culture at the arts and crafts market in Balboa and browse for authentic artisan pieces, or take their complimentary shuttle to Albrook Mall for a shopping excursion.
Day 2 Panama Canal Transit - Gamboa Rainforest (B,L)
Shared Tour Panama Canal Partial Transit Tour (Northbound). The tour starts at Flamenco Marina. You will board the Pacific Queen and set sail towards the entrance of Panama Canal on the Pacific Ocean. Take a moment to admire the Bay of Panama and Panama City’s splendorous skyline before you pass under the Bridge of the Americas. The Panama Canal partial transit tour begins with the Pacific Queen entering the Miraflores Locks where the vessel is raised 18 meters above sea level in two distinct steps. You will then enter Miraflores Lake, which is a small artificial body of fresh water that separates Miraflores from Pedro Miguel Locks. Next, the Pacific Queen will enter Pedro Miguel Locks, which is the second set of locks on the Pacific side, and here the vessel is raised 9 meters in one step. After exiting the Pedro Miguel Locks, you will be able to view the new Centennial Bridge which crosses over the Canal. You will then enter the south end of the Gailard Cut where the Chagres River flows into the Canal. The Gailard Cut (also known as Culebra Cut because its curves resemble a snake) is one of the main points of interest for visitors because it was carved through the Continental Divide and this section of the Canal is full of history and geological value. The Pacific Queen will travel the Cut's 13.7 kilometers on the way to Gamboa Dredging Division. As you transit the Cut you will be able to appreciate the continuous maintenance that this area requires, because it is very susceptible to landslides. You will disembark at the Gamboa Dredging Division where you will transfer to Gamboa. In the afternoon birding in and around Gatun Lake, Chagres River and the trails of Gamboa. This Rainforest Resort will be the base for the next 3 nights. Tucked deep in the mystical Soberania National Park at the meeting place of the Chagres River and the Panama Canal, Gamboa Rainforest Resort is an exceptional destination. It’s where contemporary comfort and warm, fascinating adventures come together to offer the best accommodation for experiencing the unspoiled beauty of the Panamanian rainforest. Just 30 minutes from Panama City on 340 acres overlooking the Panama Canal, you can commune with nature in a pristine environment that explorers and pirates once tread. Each of the wellappointed, eco- lodge-style rooms and suites offers an authentic and relaxing escape from the bustle and distractions of everyday life. From exhilarating aerial tram rides to night safaris, Gamboa Rainforest Reserve is an exotic vacation sanctuary, where individuals, groups and families enjoy memories to last a lifetime.
Day 3 Smithsonian Institute Barro Colorado Island (B,L)
Your adventure begins with any early morning transfer through the tropical rain forest towards the small town of Gamboa where a boat will be waiting for us. We will cruise along the Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal to the Barro Colorado Natural Monument (BCNM), administered by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. BCNM consists of 5,600 hectares (13,837 acres) of land located in the heart of the Panama Canal. It was established in 1923 and has been administered by the Smithsonian since 1946. Today we will be visiting Barro Colorado Island (BCI) that makes up 1,560 hectares, it is the largest forested island in the Canal waterway. BCI is Smithsonian’s primary site for the study of lowland moist tropical forests. While visiting the Island you may come across one of the many scientist carrying out research in this amazing outdoor laboratory!
You will learn about research in progress and the rich natural history of the BCNM. After a welcoming and introduction about natural history by your guide, you will go on a 2-3hour group walk along the trail on Barro Colorado Island. Most trails are about 2 km long and include steep sections and stairs. The trails are not appropriate for people who suffer from heart and respiratory conditions, knee injuries, or are in generally poor health. Also, if you are traveling from a non-tropical country, please note that tropical weather (high humidity and heat) can stress your body. We recommend bringing water. The walk ends at the Visitor Center, where you will find an exhibition about BCNM. Lunch will be on site, cafeteria style.
Duration: All day tour. Takes 45 minutes to get to STRI pier, 45 minutes to 1-hour boat ride, and 2-3 hours the forest hike. Lunch on the island. 2 hour boat and transfer back to Gamboa.
Day 4 Achiote & Escobal Roads Atlantic side of Panama (B,L)
Early morning drive will take you to the areas of Escobal and Achiote roads on the Caribbean side of Panama. With over 300 avian species inhabiting the vicinity of the Panama Canal, this lush corner of the Isthmus is the ultimate hot spot for all avid birders. 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 WrenToday we will embark on a birding excursion accompanied by a specialist guide. After getting picked up from your hotel you will be transferred to Achiote Road on the west side of the San Lorenzo National Park via one of the most scenic roads in this part of Panama. On the way you will be able to spot the remains of the old sea-level French Canal, drive through wooded hills and pass by the Panama Canal’s impressive Gatun Locks. On arrival you will embark on a forest trail hike in search of the numerous bird species. Keep your eyes peeled for local favorites such as the white-headed and stripe-breasted wrens, as well as the Montezuma oropendolas. All the while, soak in your pristine natural surroundings and expose your senses to the sights and sounds of the tropical rainforest. Your tour concludes with a private transfer back to your hotel. Late afternoon birding around the hotel grounds.
Day 5 Pipeline Road, Soberania National Park – Rainforest Discovery Centre – David - Boquete (B,L)
Early in the morning your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby to begin your journey to the Soberania National Park. As you leave the Panama City limits, buildings will slowly be replaced by rainforest. The tour begins with an introduction about the geography and animal life of the Panama Canal areas by our guide, as you are driving into the 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 Centre 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 Centre. 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. . . Here you will enjoy an easy walk under the forest canopy. During the tour you may spot many animals and a wide range of plant and tree species. Located in the Panama Canal watershed, this former US military access road takes you into old-growth secondary forest which is ideal for the observation of flora and fauna from Pacific and Caribbean slopes. Lunch at local restaurant (Taberna del Canal). Transfer from Tour to Albrook Airport. Air Ticket Panama City to David. Flight time will be approximately 45 minutes. On arrival in David, transfer to Boquete. 2 nights Hotel Boquete Garden Inn. Visitors from all over the world come to Boquete for its unspoiled beauty and breathtaking views. Boquete Garden Inn is in the heart of it all, yet under a two-minute drive to town (or, an easy 20- minute walk), with restaurants close by. Throughout Panama, they are known for their beautiful gardens and variety of wildlife. More than 100 species of birds have been spotted there. Within this natural setting, they offer modern comforts and amenities, and a level of personalized, responsive service that is unmatched by hotels at their price range. 2 nights Hotel Boquete Garden Inn.
Day 6 Birdwatching in the Chiriqui Cloud Forest (B,L)
Learn about the riches of flora and fauna on a private birdwatching tour of this lush corner of western Panama. Boquete has an area of 350 square miles and an altitude between 800 and 3,000 meters above the sea level. Due to the volcanic origin of the area, the land is extremely lush and green, which, together with the residents tradition of planting flowers, results in marvelous scenery. Birdwatching and wildlife are superior in Boquete, featuring the elusive quetzal which was considered sacred by the Mayas. With a vibrant abundance of incredible creatures, it is impossible to say for sure what you will spot during your exploration, however, you can be certain that the wildlife will impress. With a guide by your side, venture into the depths of the cloud forest to seek out the numerous bird species that call Boquete their home. Lunch and a visit to 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.
Day 7 Chiriqui Highlands & Baru Volcano (B,D)
We will hike on one of the many scenic trails surrounding Baru Volcano National Park, home to diverse flora and fauna. Boquete and its surrounding areas offer its visitors excellent hiking options for all ages and conditions. Hike through cloud forests and lush vegetation, visit waterfalls and admire the surrounding area while looking out for animals such as howler monkeys, sloths, deer, peccaries. In the afternoon the site will be Baru Volcano. The high elevation vegetation and the paramo at the summit of the volcano are unique in Panama, and is protected by the Volcan Baru National Park. Other similar habitats are essentially inaccessible in our country. The seriously deteriorated, pot-holed and irregular road to the summit starts at the charming town of Boquete, but only highly modified vehicles can make it to the top... it is a bumpy ride, but is better than to walk the 14 km-long road to the top. But aside from witnessing awesome landscapes and experiencing the sight of both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea from the top, why else would you want to climb that high? Well, for the birds, of course! A specialized tour designed to look for unique bird species and enjoy a different trip to the highest points of the country. Enjoy a tour full of new discoveries by the hand of our specialized guide. Dinner.
Day 8 David - Panama City - Old Panama Mudflats (B,L)
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. Overnight The Crowne Plaza Panama Airport Hotel, as it has a convenient location just five minutes from the Tocumen International Airport, and offers courtesy shared shuttles to and from the airport 24 hours a day for the departure flight tomorrow.
Consider our 4 night Darien Jungle extension at Canopy Camp.
Day 9 Departure (B)
Today at the appropriate time, you will be transferred to Tocumen International Airport for your departure flight or consider our 4 night Darien Jungle extension at Canopy Camp.
Per person pricing based on twin share: $ 4,990 CAD / $ 3,990 USD