Day 1: Panama City Arrival. Upon arrival at Tocumen International Airport your Naturalist Guide will meet you. Transfer to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort near Soberania National Park. Welcome cocktail and briefing.
Day 2: Pipeline Road – Summit Ponds – Plantation Loop. This morning we drive to the nearby Pipeline Road within Soberania National Park. Soberania is home to more than 400 species of birds and 1,000 species of plants. Before entering the road we 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 Road is where the Panama Audubon Society established a world record Christmas bird count by identifying 385 species of birds in a 24-hour period. 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.
A picnic lunch will be served at Summit Ponds. Here we will look for the Boat-billed Heron, Rosy Thrush-Tanager and other Pacific woodland species. At Plantation Loop we will walk along a low ridge where we find some of the humid forest birds such as Royal Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Spadebill, Blue-crowned Manakin and others. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 3: Escobal/Achiote Road. An early morning drive will take us to the areas of Escobal and Achiote roads on the Caribbean side of Panama. This spot is probably one of the best places to search for diurnal raptors. Also an excellent place to look for specialties like 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 back in Gamboa. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 4: Metropolitan Nature Park - Chiriqui Cloudforest. Today we 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. We will also look for the Red-napped Tamarin on the trail named after them. We will take a mid-morning flight to David, capital of the Chiriqui province.
Chiriqui province 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. Lunch will be at the hotel’s restaurant. In the afternoon we proceed to a coffee farm 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. Includes: (B, L, D).
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. We 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 we 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 we will search for Buffy Tuftedcheek, Resplendent Quetzal, Ochraceous Pewee, Silvery-throated Jay, different hummingbirds and other highland species. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 6: Tapir’s Canyon - Querevalo Road - Boquete. This morning we will stop at Tapir’s Canyon in search of Lesser Elaenia, Bay-headed Tanager, Crested Oropendola, American Dipper, and a myriad other species. In route to Boquete we will descend back to the lowlands and drive through some rice, corn and sugar cane fields where we keep an eye out for Brown-throated Parakeets, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Dickcissels, and other grassland birds. We continue our exploration on the Eastern side of Baru Volcano to Boquete, a countryside town dotted with flower, fruit and vegetable farms, coffee plantations and also lush tropical cloud forests. Afternoon birding around the hotel grounds and main road. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 7: Finca Lerida Cloud Forest. We explore Finca Lerida, a privately owned preserve, just outside Baru Volcano National Park. At an elevation of 2,286 meters above sea level, we 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 we continue birding before returning to our hotel to get ready for our transfer to David for our flight back to Panama City. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 8: Darien National Park – Santa Cruz De Cana. This morning after breakfast we will proceed to Albrook domestic airport where we board our chartered plane to Santa Cruz de Cana, in Darien National Park and World Biosphere Reserve, where Ancon Expeditions manages a field station. As we fly in we can admire the vast forest cover of Panama’s largest park (1.3 million acres). Cana is located at the foothills of Pirre Mountain, which stands like an island in the most remote area of Panama. Very few places in the world rival Cana in birding potential.
From the plane be on the lookout for King Vultures and Macaws. After getting settled at the Field Station we explore the Boca de Cupe Trail and surrounding area. Specialties here include Blue and Gold, Red and Green, Great Green and Chestnut-fronted Macaws, Black tipped Cotinga, Swallow Tanager, Red-throated Caracara, Streaked Antwren, Dusky-backed Jacamar, Ornate Hawk-Eagle and others. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 9: Cana Field Station. Today is a good day to explore the Mine Trail where rusting machinery was left to be overtaken by the jungle after the British Gold Mine ventures collapsed at the beginning of the last century. Specialties of this area include Great Curassow, Crested Guan, Dusky-faced Tanager, Olivaceous Piculet. Also the Seteganti Trail with open scrub areas and mature forests are good for various Woodpeckers such as Crimson-bellied and Red-rumped, Red-billed Scythebill, Brown Violetear. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 10: Pirre Cloud Forest Camp. Today we begin our slow-paced 5-hour hike to the Pirre Cloud Forest. At 1,200 meters above sea level, the Pirre Cloud Forest is a good place to look for specialties such as Beautiful Treerunner, Tooth-billed Hummingbird, Slaty Antwren, Tody Motmot, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Rufous-breasted Ant thrush, Immaculate Antbird, Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo, Pirre Warbler, Pirre Hummingbird, Pirre Bush Tanager, Greenish Puffleg, Orange-bellied Euphonia (screened tents with sleeping mats)Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 11: Pirre Cloud Forest Camp. This morning we hike to the top of Pirre Mountain in search of the Golden-headed Quetzal, Gray and gold Tanager, Sharpbill, Chlorophonia and several Tanagers among other highland species. Late afternoon birding around the Pirre Tent Camp. Overnight at PIRRE CAMP (Screened tents with sleeping mats). Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 12: Cana Field Station. After breakfast we will start our descent to the field station. This afternoon is spent looking for birds around the main camp. Possibilities include Gray-cheeked Nunlet, Spotted Barbtail, Barred Puffbird, Yellow-green Tyrannulet, Jet Antibird, Black-crowned, Fulvous-bellied, Ochre-breasted and Scaled Antpittas, White-fronted Nunbird, Cinereous Becard, Golden-headed Manakin. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 13: Darien – Panama City – Old Panama Mudflats – Juan Diaz Mangroves. This morning our charter flight takes us back to Panama City. Upon arrival, tide level permitting, we 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. We continue to bird at Juan Diaz scrub and mangrove area where we will 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. We will also stop at Costa del Este in search of Black-necked Stilt, Least Sandpiper, Cocoi Heron, Yellowlegs, Night-Herons. Farewell dinner at a Panamanian cuisine restaurant. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 14: Departure. Today we are picked up at the lobby of the hotel 2.5 hours prior to our scheduled departure flight and transferred to Tocumen International Airport. Includes: (B).
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