Birdwatching in Panama's National Parks: Soberania, La Amistad, Baru Volcano, Darien
8 days /
From $2,369 per person, double occupancy for 2013
Day 1: Panama Arrival
Upon arrival at Tocumen International Airport you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel in Panama City. This evening you will enjoy a welcome cocktail and briefing with your Naturalist Guide. Overnight at Hotel Executive.
Day 2: Pipeline Road – Summit Ponds – Miraflores Locks
This morning you drive to Pipeline Road in Soberania National Park. Soberania is home to some 525 species of birds. Before entering the road you bird the scrub habitat near Ammo Dump 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, Black-throated Trogons, Golden-collared Manakin, White-bellied Antbird, Semiplumbeous Hawk, Black-breasted Puffbird, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Blue Cotinga, Pheasant Cuckoo as well as army ant-swarm followers. A picnic lunch will be served at Summit Ponds. Here you will look for the Boat-billed Heron, Rosy Thrush Tanager and other Pacific woodland species. Afterwards you will visit Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal to learn about its history and marvel at this engineering accomplishment. The canal still operates pretty much as it did when it was inaugurated almost 100 years ago. The SS Ancon steamer was the first ship to officially transit the Panama Canal, on August 15, 1914.
Overnight at Hotel Executive. (BLD)
Day 3: Metropolitan Nature Park – Old Panama Mudflats – Juan Diaz Mangroves
Today you visit the Metropolitan Nature Park (the only protected rain forest within capital city limits in Latin America). With an impressive list of 260 bird species the possibilities are great. Specialties include Lance-tailed Manakin, Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Orange-billed Sparrow, Green Honeycreeper, Rufous and White Wren and many others. You will also look for the endemic Red-napped Tamarin in the trail named after this tiny primate.
Tide level permitting 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 continue to bird at Juan Diaz scrub and mangrove area where you look 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, Southern Lapwing, Cocoi Heron, Yellowlegs, and Night-Herons. In the afternoon, you drive to Burbayar Lodge located in the pre-montane rainforest of the Kuna Yala foothills. Overight at Burbayar Lodge. (BLD)
Day 4: Burbayar
This morning 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. Also look for the endemic Striped-cheek Woodpecker, Swallow-tailed Kite and Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer. Overight at Burbayar Lodge. (BLD)
Day 5: Burbayar – Chiriqui Cloud Forest
This morning you bird the road that leads to the Nargana Forest Reserve. This road is very productive for foothill specialties that include Black and Yellow, Rufous-winged, Bay-headed, Olive and Hepatic Tanagers. Depart Burbayar after lunch and head for Albrook airport in Panama City to board your flight to David, capital of 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. Overnight at Hotel Dos Rios. (BLD)
Day 6: La Amistad International Park and 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 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 drive to Baru Volcano National Park located in the Talamanca mountain range. Baru is the highest point of the country at 3,475 meters above sea level. 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, Hummingbirds and other highland species. Overnight at Hotel Dos Rios. (BLD)
Day 7: Tapir’s Canyon – Querevalo Road – Panama City
This morning you will stop at Tapir’s Canyon and Bajo Frio Road in search of Lesser Elaenia, Bay-headed Tanagers, Crested Oropendola, American Dipper, and a myriad other species. After lunch you start your descent to David and drive through some rice, corn and sugar cane fields along Querevalo Road. You will keep an eye out for Brown-throated Parakeets, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Dickcissels, and other grassland birds. You reach the airport in the late afternoon in time to board our flight back to Panama City. Upon arrival you will be transferred to the hotel. Farewell dinner. Overnight at Hotel Executive. (BLD)
Day 8: Departure or post-trip extension*
Today you are picked up at the lobby of the hotel 2.5 hours prior to your scheduled departure flight and transferred to Tocumen International Airport. (B)
*Pre- or post-trip extensions to Cana, Darien National Park and Punta Patiño Nature Reserve, the realm of the Harpy Eagle
2009/2010 Departure Dates:
2009: December 5-12. 2010: Jan 30-Feb 6, Mar 27-Apr 3, Dec 4-11. Single Supplement is $473