E8D8FD26-28DE-4E8F-BD04-8A03253344AD_1_105_c.jpeg

PANAMA BIRDING EXPLORATION

March 18 - April 1, 2023

Guides: Paco Madrigal & Euclides Campos

Panama is one of the world’s premier neotropical birding destinations. There are 978 birds of which 107 are endemics or near endemics.  Due to its privileged topography and geographical layout, Panama offers phenomenal and easily accessible birding. We won’t have to travel far to see an enormous diversity of species. Most of the best birding areas are within one hour of Panama City, making for wonderfully comfortable birding days. Just the Panama Canal Watershed of Central Panama which includes Chagres National Park and Soberania National Park, houses 650 species of birds-nearly 70% of Panama’s total avifauna. Central Panama alone hosts a rich variety of habitats, including wetlands, Pacific lowland rainforest and transitional-dry forest, Caribbean lowland Rainforest, and Pre-montane forest at higher elevations.

We have chosen this itinerary to include an ample representation of Panama habitats and birds, giving a comprehensive experience of Panama’s rich birding highlights.  You will visit the key hotspots on this itinerary including, the famous Pipeline Road and Discovery Center’s Canopy Observation Tower, Plantation Road, Summit Ponds, Old Gamboa Road, Semaphore Hill, Ammo Dump, Achiote Road, as well as Metropolitan Park--all a short distance from Panama City. By traveling only 2.5 hours from Panama City, we add misty cloud forests of El Valle de Anton and pick up some great specialties here.  We will also be visiting the Cerro Jefe/Cerro Azul region as well as Eastern Panama picking up some Darien and South American specialties.

Tour includes: 

  • 14 nights of lodging as specified above

  • Meals starting with dinner on Day 1, ending with Breakfast on Day 15

  • Please Note: Dinner on Day 14 is not included to allow for flexibility in dining the last night in Panama City

  • 13 days of full time Bilingual English-Spanish speaking guides specializing in birds and wildlife

  • This itinerary has 2 guides from Day 2-14: Paco will lead this group along with a local Panama guide throughout the tour

  • Private ground  transportation in a spacious air-conditioned vehicle from Day 2 - Day 14

  • One transfer for the entire group on Day 1 - If your flight does not align with the group's flights, the airport transfer cost will be the responsibility of the client

  • This means that participants must arrive at the same time

  • One transfer from Hotel Riande to the airport as provided by the hotel on Day 15 

  • All tours and entrances listed below

  • Taxes (airport taxes and tips to local staff, guide/driver not included)

  • Tipping is customary and merit based.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DETAILED ITINERARY

*Each morning we will be getting an early start to make the best of our time, and maximize our opportunities to see the most species of birds possible while maintaining a comfortable pace. As an optional outing, one night in each location, we will go owling (weather permitting and if the guide determines the outing to be productive). Each evening there will also be an optional meeting before or after dinner to go over the bird/wildlife checklist for that day.

 

*Please note that exact meal amd outing times will be announced by the guide as the tour goes along. This is to allow for flexibility in the itinerary to be able to best take advantage of time in the field and so the logistics run smoothly for the group as a whole.

*Key - B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

 

Day 1 - March 18th: Arrive to Panama City (Tocumen International airport)

Here is where you will be warmly welcomed by your local agent and escorted back to your hotel.

 

(Overnight at Rainforest Summit Resort - Dinner included)

 

Day 2 - March 19th: Pipeline Road, Panama Rainforest Discovery Center & Observation Tower

We will spend part of the day exploring Pipeline Road and the surrounding areas. This is definitely a hotspot of Panama birding where you can see an impressive variety of forest birds over a stretch of 17k of road.  Pipeline road runs through the famous Soberania National Park where we will have the opportunity to explore deeper into the forest on several side-trails.  Some of the highlights of this area include Olivaceous Flatbill, Black-tailed trogon, White-tailed Trogon, Crimson Crested Woodpecker, Western Slaty Antshrike, Checker-throated Antwren, Bicolored Antbird, Red capped Manakin, Blue crowned Manakin and of course we also hope to find some of the rarities such as Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo, Pheasant Cuckoo and Great Jacamar  to mention a few. There’s no shortage of raptors here! We will be looking for all three species of Forest Falcons, Great Black Hawk, White Hawk, Barred Hawk, Plumbeous Hawk and if we are lucky maybe even see a Harpy Eagle.

 

Today we will also visit the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center from Pipeline 

Road. Here an amazing variety of colorful hummingbirds come to their feeders, like Violet-bellied Hummingbird, White-vented Plumeleteer, Black Throated Mango, and White-Necked Jacobin. We will also enjoy the unique above-canopy vantage point offered by climbing the 32- meter tall Observation Tower here. The views of the vast forest from the tower are simply spectacular, not to mention the outstanding birding you will experience here. We will be looking out for Black Breasted Puffbird, Pied Puffbird, Great Black Hawk and the special of the day, Blue Cotinga.

(Overnight at Rainforest Summit Resort - B, L D at Rainforest Summit Resort)

 

Day 3 - March 20th: Metropolitan Nature Park

Today right after breakfast, we will visit Metropolitan Park. Despite its location right inside the city, this incredible city park offers an amazing variety of birds and other animals as well.  The forests here are considerably drier than the habitats we have seen thus far, providing a new array of species.  A few common species in the area are the Lance-tailed manakin, White-bellied Antbird, Western Slaty Antshrike, Forest Elaenia, Southern Bentbill, Rosy Thrush-Tanager, short-tailed Swift, Yellow-crowned Amazon, Common Potoo and Yellow- rumped Cacique. We will also be looking for Rufous-breasted and  Rufous-and-white Wren, Cocoa and Olivaceous Woodcreepers, White-necked puffbird, Crimson-backed Tanager, Golden-fronted Greenlet, Lineated Woodpecker, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, and the harder-to-find endemic Yellow-green Tyrannulet. This is also a great place to see some mammals as well,  including coatimundi, Three-toed Sloth, Three-toed Sloth, and Geoffroy’s Tamarin. We are sure that you will be gloating of your magnificent day over dinner.

(Overnight at Rainforest Summit Resort - B, L D at Rainforest Summit Resort)

 

Day 4 - March 21st: Cerro Azul & Cerro Jefe (around 1 hour from hotel): 

After breakfast we will travel up to the cool foothills of Cerro Azul (2500 ft in elevation) and Cerro Jefe (3,300 ft in elevation) where we will be dazzled by an array of magnificent tanagers including Emerald, Speckled, Rufous-winged, Golden-hooded, Silver-throated, Bay headed, Hepatic, Olive and Black-and-yellow Tanagers. This is part of the most important protected area vital to the health of the Panama Canal watershed, preserved within the Chagres National Park. A few other target species of the area include the majestic Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Spot-crowned Barbet, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, and even endemic Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker and if we are really lucky near endemic Tacarcuna Bush-tanager. We will head back to our hotel just outside of Panama city.

(Overnight at Rainforest Summit Resort - B & D Rainforest Summit Resort, L en route)

 

Day 5 - March 22nd: Pipeline Road

We will be spending a second day at Pipeline Road because it is such an incredible birding hotspot. 

(Overnight at Rainforest Summit Resort - B & D Rainforest Summit Resort, L en route)

Day 6 - March 23rd: Semaphore Hill & Ammo Dump

Today we will explore  Semaphore Hill and Ammo Dump. Semaphore Hill is a jungle-lined road winding down another nearby section of the Soberania National Park.  In this habitat we will be looking for more of the forest birds including Slaty Antwren, White-flanked Antwren, Fasciated Antshrike, Marbled Wood-Quail, Great Tinamou, Rufous Motmot among many others. This is a great place to look for antbirds since army ant swarms are a common occurrence. We are likely to see the gorgeous Ocellated Antbird, Spotted Antbird and Bicolored Antbird following the army ants.  There are lots of great mammals here and in the surrounding Central Panama region including brown-throated three-toed sloth, Hoffman's two-toed sloth, coati mundi, mantled howler monkey, white-faced capuchin, Geoffroy's tamarin, capybara, kinkajou, and northern tamandua.

 

Later in the day we will visit the pond at Ammo Dump, a fantastic spot to pick up some great water birds. A few of our targets will be Least Grebe, Purple Gallinule, Common Moorhen, Striated Heron, and even the hard-to-find Capped Heron. This is also the best place to find the White-throated Crake.

(Overnight at Rainforest Summit Resort - B & D Rainforest Summit Resort, L en route)

 

Day 7 - March 24th: Plantation Road, Summit Ponds and Old Gamboa Road

Today we will explore another incredible section of the Canal Corridor region.  A mix of secondary forests, open areas, gardens, and patches of dry forest, scrub, grasslands, river banks and natural ponds provide for a great day of birding. Plantation Road runs through an old growth forest and areas of secondary forest on the north side of the Continental divide.  Much of the forests here are tall and have very little forest undergrowth, making spotting forest floor species like Tinamous and Leaf Tossers unusually easy. Here we also hope to see Southern Bentbill, Golden-crowned Spadebill, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Blue-crowned Motmot, buff-rumped warbler, White-breasted Wood-wrens, a variety of antbirds, Gray-headed Tanagers, and woodpeckers (like Plain-Brown and Northern-barred) among many others.

 

Then we will head over to Summit Ponds and finally Old Gamoa Road.  As well as nesting Boat-billed Herons, we will be keeping a look out for Striated Heron, Green Heron and even possibly Capped Herons, as well as Wattled Jacana. This is also a great place to see Kingfishers…all five species belonging to the Americas have been seen here. We will finish off our rewarding day of birding along a true hot spot, Old Gamboa Road. The diversity of habitats featured here yield an incredible variety of birdlife like Jet Antbird, Great Antshrike, Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Lance-tailed & Golden-collared Manakins, Black-tailed & Royal Flycatchers, Lesser & Great Kiskadee, Buff breasted wren, Rusty Margined Flycatcher. We will return to our hotel for a wonderful meal, go over the daily check-list and enjoy a well-deserved rest with the promise of another great birding day to follow.

(Overnight at Rainforest Summit Resort - B, L & D Rainforest Summit Resort)

 

Day 8 - March 25th: Day trip to Eastern Panama and Bayano Lake: 

This is one of the best spots for Caribbean slope birding within the Canal zone. These location are near the region of Fort  San Lorenzo National Park, which protects nearly 12,000 Hectares of forests, wetlands, mangroves and open areas.  Some of the regulars to the area include Black-throated & White-tailed Trogons, White Hawk, Spot-crowned Barbet, White-winged & Cinnamon Becards, Pacific Antwren, Black-throated Mango, Montezuma & Crested Oropendolas, Bare-crowned & Bicolored Antbirds, White-headed & Song Wrens, Red-breasted Blackbird, Yellow-rumped Tanager and Black-breasted & Pied Puffbirds. We may even find the Saffron Finch around the Fort and the lekking Golden-collared Manakin to top off a wonderful day of birding! 

(Overnight at Rainforest Summit Resort - B & D Rainforest Summit Resort, L en route)

 

Day 9 - March 26th: Guides’ Day

This day’s itinerary is up to the discretion of the two guides based on what has been seen and what is still left to target.

(Overnight at Rainforest Summit Resort - B, L & D Rainforest Summit Resort)

Day 10 - March 27th:  Transfer to Valle de Anton

We will journey 2 hours from Panama city up into cloud forest country. We will enjoy cooler temperatures and stunning misty mountain vistas. This new region and habitat will bring a flurry of new birds, including a slew of unabashedly colorful tanagers…Flame-rumped Tanager, Crimson-backed Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Red-crowned Ant-tanager, white-lined Tanager, as well as the more modest Dusky-faced & Plain-colored Tanagers. A few other highlights of this area are the White-tipped sicklebill, Black-chested Jay, Snowy-bellied Hummingbird, Rufous-capped Warbler, Thick-billed Euphonia, Chestnut-headed Oropendola and if we are lucky the Rufous-crested Coquette.  We will arrive in the afternoon, birding along the way. After settling into our lodge, we will have time to explore the surrounding areas of this quaint mountain village where the easy-access birding right along the road will delight you.

After a wonderful dinner back at the Lodge, you will sleep well in this wonderful cool climate.

(Overnight at Los Mandarinos- B at Rainforest Summit Resort, L & D at Los Mandarinos)

 

Day 11 - March 28th: Valley Anton Area Birding, Macho Falls

We will spend the day exploring the exuberant forests of the Macho Falls area. This is an incredible birding spot. We hope to be dazzled by the Black-chested Jay, Red-crowned Ant-Tanager, White-throated Robin and if we are lucky the Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo. We will also be looking for Tody Motmot, White-tipped Sicklebill as well as Pale-eyed Pygmy-tyrant, and Sepia-capped Flycatcher. Besides the incredible birding, the forests itself are simply breathtaking.

(Overnight at Los Mandarinos- B, L & D at Los Mandarinos)

 

Day 12 - March 29th: Cerro Gaital & Mesa Road

In the morning we will venture further up the mountain to Cerro Gaital where we will look out for Shiny Cowbird, Southern Lapwing, Streaked Saltator, and even further up Blue-throated Toucanet, Black Guan, and Orange-bellied Trogon.  And let’s not forget the raptors! Black Hawk-Eagle, Barred Hawk, gray hawk, swallow- tailed kite, Barred Forest Falcon, Bat Falcon, and maybe even Black and White Hawk eagle inhabit the area. 

We will also spend a good portion of the day along Mesa Road which offers a wonderful mix of habitats, including pasture, secondary forests, and semi-open areas. Some of the highlights we will be looking for today include the rare Blue seeder, Bran-colored Flycatcher, Tawny-faced Antwren, Tawny-crested Tanager, White-thighed Swallow, spot-crowned antvireo, rufous-crested coquette, spotted Woodcreeper, Orange-bellied Trogon among many others. We will return to the lodge for dinner and to go over the amazing checklist for the day. 

(Overnight at Los Mandarinos- B, L & D at Los Mandarinos)

 

Day 13 - March 30th: Anton Valley Area Birding

We will spend the next two days venturing out on day trips in the area. Depending on weather conditions these days could include a visit to the highlands of Altos de Maria, or a few of the many great birding trails close-by to our lodge traversing Caribbean slope and/or Tropical dry forest coast habitats for shorebirds. These days promise to afford amazing birding where we will pick up plenty of new species. A few of our target birds for these days include White-bellied Antbird, Yellow-backed Oriole, Panama Flycatcher, Long-billed Starthroat, Jet Antbird, Rufous-breasted wren, Great Antshrike, among many others.

(Overnight at Los Mandarinos- B, L & D at Los Mandarinos)

 

Day 14 - March 31st: Tropical Dry Forests of Cocles Province

Today we will return to the Gamboa region just outside of Panama City. En route we will spend most of the day in the unique Tropical Dry forest of the Pacific coast lowlands. Here we plan to add a new medley of birds to our sightings, including the rare endemic Veraguan Mango. Other spectacular inhabitants of the area are Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Savannah Hawk, Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, Blue Ground-Dove, and even Mouse-colored Tyrannulet and Lance-tailed Manakin. We are sure to have a memorable final day in Panama before returning to our hotel near Panama City. 

(Overnight at Riande- B at Los Mandarinos, L en route & D - NOT INCLUDED)


Day 15 - April 1st: Transfer to Tocumen International airport

(B at Riande, L & D - NOT INCLUDED)

 

 

Important Notes & Conditions:

 

  • Meals are pre-arranged and prepaid so if the group wishes to make changes to the schedule that result in missing a pre-arranged meal, there will be no refund for the missed meal and guests will assume the additional cost of the missed meal elsewhere for themselves, the guide and driver.

  • We encourage guests to bring reusable water bottle and refill water bottles at filtered water dispensers in lodges and on the bus to reduce our use of plastic

  • Any additional airport transfers have an additional cost (pending) each from or to the Tocumen International Airport (PTY) to Summit Hill Rainforest Resort are not included.

    Airport exit taxes are not included and are approximately $30 per person (Most airlines are including them now, so please check with your airline for details.)

  • International airfare not included

  • Cotinga Tours will not cover any additional costs that could result from flight changes such as schedule changes, flight cancellations, airstrip closures, flight rerouting or other situations that are out of our hands, including extra costs in transfers, lodging, or costs due to missed/rerouted flights that may result from these changes.  All additional costs due to flight related changes will be covered by the client

  • No refund for any unused entrances or tours

  • Tips to guides and hotel staff not included (Tipping is customary and merit-based in Panama): group tours (10+ participants): $5-10 per day per client for guide(s) and $3-8 per day per client for the driver; $ 1 per day for hotel maid service and $2 per service for porters. What guests decide to tip within these guidelines should be based on the merits of the service provided.

  • Alcoholic beverages and costs of a personal nature are not included

  • We highly recommend purchasing comprehensive travel insurance that covers trip
    cancellation, trip interruption, and loss or damage to optics and equipment, in order to protect your investment.

  • Cancellations and respective refunds are according to the following schedule (all cancellations must be received in writing):

    • Cancellations received before 90 days prior to the arrival date, the client receives a full refund less the non-refundable deposit.

    • Cancellations received between 90 and 75 days prior to the arrival date, the client receives a 50% refund of the total less the non-refundable deposit.

    • Cancellations received between 74 and 66 days prior to arrival date, the client receives a 25% refund of the total less the non-refundable deposit.

    • Cancellations received at 65 days or less prior to the arrival date, there will be no refund available.

8B356384-B520-402B-8136-16546C930089_1_105_c.jpeg
1B9C38E9-A0BA-43EE-9C96-ADFE7742E7A8_1_105_c.jpeg
129023E7-97F5-43B7-B08D-40FAFB71B5B4_1_105_c.jpeg
CEE0C5E6-E685-47B8-8875-06BDB0D42107_1_105_c.jpeg
A60CC31E-01BF-4437-B815-0C8A6FBF5D56_1_105_c.jpeg
C27EE486-E423-4B36-B9D5-94DB12CB2935_1_105_c.jpeg
98ECD6AB-A03C-4CEA-B47C-5B892B4BC252_1_105_c.jpeg
BB0CCAC2-23CE-400F-B24B-67A1EA4C4354_1_105_c.jpeg
D44F5431-6493-4197-AF18-0E9B6E432566_1_105_c.jpeg
WhatsApp Image 2022-06-17 at 9.52.33 AM.jpeg
WhatsApp Image 2022-06-17 at 9.52.35 AM.jpeg

Panama Entry Requirement and COVID-19 Detailed Policies 

  • It is the client's responsibility to stay up-to-date and comply with the United States and Panama entry requirements and COVID-19 policies. Please visit the Panama's tourism website for updates: https://www.tourismpanama.com and the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel/index.html

  • Travelers will not have to present a negative COVID-19 test for entry as long as they can provide physical or digital proof of at least 2 (two) doses or complete vaccination scheme endorsed by the WHO, EMA and FDA, equal to or greater than 14 days after the last dose.

  • Non-vaccinated  or partially vaccinated travelers will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 hours prior to their arrival time in Panama.

    • If a test is not possible within that time frame, a COVID-19 rapid test will be mandated at the airport and the traveler will have to cover the costs of said test (USD $50).

      • If the results are positive, the traveler will be placed under a mandatory 5-day quarantine in a hotel. The cost of the stay must be fully covered by the traveler.

      • Any child or person under 17 years will not have to present a negative COVID-19 test or vaccination record if they are accompanied by an adult when entering Panama.

  • ALL travelers are required to present their completed Electronic Health Affidavit (in physical or digital form) to their airline or carrier BEFORE boarding to Panama. Register and fill out your Health Affidavit

  • It is not necessary to wear masks outdoors or in outdoor activities. The use of a mask is only mandatory indoors, regardless of vaccination status. 

  • We encourage all travelers to respect the social distance of 2 meters.

  • Some touristic activities, cultural and creative attractions, libraries, movies and theaters, casinos and others will be enforcing the safety protocols and may be operating with lower capacity.

  • Business meetings are admitted with 100% capacity, if all participants have their vaccination card complete.

  • We encourage all travelers to check travel restrictions of your destination country and airport.

  • COVID-19 testing is available for Departing Passengers from Tocumen International Airport.

  • The center is open from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

  • The cost of the COVID-19 rapid test is $50.00 USD and the result takes around 40 minutes.

  • The service is first come, first serve, so we encourage all passengers that want to get tested to arrive with enough time before their flight.

 

Cotinga Tours is NOT responsible for the following:

 

  • The traveler's compliance or the consequences of non-compliance with United States' or Panama's COVID-19 policies.

  • Costs associated with the required COVID-19 tests

  • Any delays in receiving the COVID-19 test results and any costs incurred due to delayed test results

  • If the traveler tests positive for COVID-19

  • Any costs incurred if there is delay in departure from Panama