Canopy Family Panama

Canopy Camp Darien FAQs

Pied Water-Tyrant
Pied Water-Tyrant by Cindy Beckman

What to bring...

To make your stay with us the best possible, here are some essential items to consider packing for Canopy Camp Darien.  If you have any further questions about this birdwatching tourism opportunity, please let us know! 

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Canopy Camp Packing List pdf 590.00 kB Jun 02, 2015 Canopy Camp Packing List



1. Where is Canopy Camp Darien located?

The Canopy Camp is located in the Darién Province of eastern Panama, Panama's largest and least explored and inhabited province. The Canopy Camp is a 5-hour drive from Panama City, just beyond the town of Metetí along the Pan-American Highway; it borders the protected area of the Filo del Tallo Hydrological Reserve.

2. How do I get to the Canopy Camp?

In order to visit the Canopy Camp, you must book a trip with us! We will travel to the Canopy Camp from Panama City in comfortable, air-conditioned vans for some world-class birdwatching tourism.

3. Can I come for a shorter duration than the set 7-night tour?

Due to the distance from Panama City and transportation needs, our Canopy Camp Darien tour for 7 nights is set. (It's a long way to go for just a few days!) We highly recommend spending this duration of time at our camp, and it has been designed to offer you the best experience and best birdwatching tourism opportunities possible. In addition to birding around the grounds of the camp, we will also be visiting excellent birding locations to hunt down species that live further into the Darién.

Some birding tour companies offer tours and extensions to the Canopy Camp for shorter durations (4 or 5 nights). If you are looking for a shorter stay, you can browse the tours offered through these other companies, including VENT, Field Guides, TLC Birding Tours, Cheepers Birding on a Budget, Tropical Birding, and others (see more below).

4. Can I visit the Canopy Camp on my own without booking a tour?

Generally no, but exceptions can be made. Please contact us to see if we can accommodate you.

5. What is the best time of year to visit the Canopy Camp?

The best time of year to visit depends on your interests, as there are always some amazing birdwatching tourism opportunities going on in the forest. 
For example, if you visit us from early December to mid-January, you will see the forest still lush and green as the rainy season has just ended. Some northern migrants are present as well as the resident species. The days are sunny and balmy. January, February and March are our high season; there is a lot of sun and practically no rain (bring sun block); the birding is continuous from sunrise to sunset and occasionally into the evening to look for owls and potoos.

In mid-March to early May you'll find yourself in the middle of spring migration, a great time to see many different warblers and other Neotropical migratory birds in fresh breeding plumage, as well as hundreds of thousands of raptors on their way back up north.

In May and June it is the start of the rainy season, and many resident birds will be starting to nest and vocalize more. From June to August the forest is at its lushest; there is plenty of food out there and you will see immature birds being fed by their parents. There is usually a tropical shower in the early afternoon, best to enjoy a siesta at this time anyway. After the shower the sun comes out, bird activity resumes and life continues on. The nights are clear and cool. Migrants are gone, but you'll find more than enough resident species to keep you occupied. The green season is also a wonderful time of year to find frogs and other wildlife. Our prices are heavily discounted at this time of the year because of less demand, as many of our customers prefer to come to the tropics during the winter months to escape the cold.

In September we start getting the first fall migrants, and this number climbs and reaches its climax around the middle of October and extending until the first week of November. This is the fall migration, a fantastic natural phenomenon when hundreds of thousands of raptors fly over the isthmus on the way to their southern wintering grounds. This is one of the most impressive natural spectacles of Neotropical birding.

6. What should I bring for my visit?

Mid-December to May is the dry season in Panama. We receive very little rain, and the days are beautifully sunny and breezy. Outdoor clothing, preferably made of cotton and of neutral colors, is best to blend with the surroundings and facilitate wildlife observation. What, you may ask, are neutral colors? Well, think of a Hawaiian shirt, then think of the opposite! For dinner, we like to dress up a bit, nothing fancy, very informal. Bring a good hat to shade your head from the strong, near-equatorial sun.

If you come during the period of May to early January, bring rain gear, including an umbrella. Rubber boots are highly recommended throughout the year since some trails have plenty of mud and puddles (even in the dry season), and rubber boots provide great protection from ticks and chiggers. Hiking shoes can be worn on drier trails, and a pair of sandals to wear around the camp is also a good idea. Insect repellent is highly recommended for your walks in the forest. Although we have electricity in the tents and in the main hall, bring a flashlight for getting around camp after dark.

A good pair of binoculars is a must, even if you are not a birder. There are plenty of other critters to look for. We recommend Leica equipment. Our guides use this brand and it is excellent. We also have a Leica 65 mm scope available, but if you have one bring it anyway! Bringing the beautiful tropical birds in close is a treat not to be missed.

Finally, a water bottle is necessary because we do not use plastic disposable water bottles. We will provide plenty of potable water to refill your water bottles. We also sell Klean Kanteen branded stainless steel water bottles onsite.

A packing list for Canopy Camp Darien can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

7. What are the accommodations like at the Canopy Camp?

During your visit to the Canopy Camp, you will stay in an African safari-style tent, set on a wooden platform up off the ground so there will be no chance of getting your feet wet in your tents during the rainy season! Each tent has electricity (provided by solar energy), a fan, a comfortable double bed or twin beds, smooth teak floor and private bathroom facilities with flush toilets and hot water showers. It is definitely the most comfortable camping experience around!

8. Will I be able to recharge my camera batteries? Do I need a special adapter?

There is electricity in each tent to recharge your cameras, iPods, iPads, etc. No adapters are required, voltage is 110-120V (same as in the U.S.).

Electricity is provided for the tents and facilities at the Canopy Camp via solar power; we have an array of 21 panels of 250 watts each, and a battery back up system. Our electricity is plentiful from solar energy, even in the rainy season!

9. Is there a way to reach the outside world during my stay at the Canopy Camp?

Yes, most of the cellular networks operating in Panama have signal at the Canopy Camp. The camp has a 3G modem and Wi-Fi connection; however, due to the remote location and the unreliability of the internet provider, there might or might not be internet signal in the Canopy Camp during your stay. At any rate, the manager has a cell phone that can be used for emergencies.

10. Do I need a visa to enter Panama?

U.S. and Canadian citizens need only a valid passport. Other nationalities, please consult your Panamanian Consular office. Your passport must have at least 6 months validity remaining.

11. I am not all that interested in bird-watching. What else is there to do?

The abundant bird life of the Darién may change your mind! Although the Canopy Camp tour is primarily designed for birdwatching tourism, the forests surrounding the Canopy Camp are full of other animals, plants and interests to explore, even if birds are not your thing. The Darién is full of biodiversity, mammal sightings are common, and you may feel free to explore the trails for unique plants, insects and the beauty of the forest. Photo opportunities are endless, so bring your camera.

During a stay at the Canopy Camp, we will be visiting some villages where you will experience the local culture, travelling by piragua (dugout canoe) along the Tuira River, and enjoying some other beautiful sites in vast eastern Panama. We can also arrange a visit to an authentic indigenous Indian village on the shores of the Chucunaque River, or a horseback ride through the countryside. Although we will be far from the Canal Zone and other tourist attractions that Panama has to offer, a tour to our Canopy Camp will offer an experience like no other in Panama.

12. What is your policy regarding children?

Canopy Family policy is that no one under 13 years of age is allowed at the Canopy Camp.

13. What is your policy regarding smoking?

The Canopy Camp is a smoke-free facility and no smoking is permitted in or around the tents. However, there will be a smoking area near the main hall.

14. Do I need to bring reference books on plants, birds and other animals?

We have quite a collection of natural history books and field guides, including Birds of Panama, to help guests identify a species or to learn more about a particular topic related to the ecology of the Neotropics.

15. What is your suggestion regarding tipping?

You may tip as much as you want, the more the better! However, a rule of thumb is between US $5 and $10 per day for lodge staff, among whom tips are divided equally.

Likewise, our bird guides are tipped individually. How much? We recommend $10 per person per day. However, it depends entirely on you. Obviously if they show you 75 "lifers" in a week or find you the bird for which you have been looking for several years, you will be inclined to be generous. Recognizing their dedication, enthusiasm and knowledge encourages the bird guides to even greater levels of professionalism. Please give your tip directly to the guide.

16. I am a vegetarian. Will I go hungry?

No way! We serve plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, lots of salads, plenty of nuts and several veggie dishes made with tofu, soy products and other ingredients. No problem satisfying your appetite, but please tell us when you make the reservation so we'll be prepared.

Canopy Camp Darien offers family-style dining with a delightful blend of Panamanian and American fare. There is always a hearty protein option with vegetables, salads and local specialties. Don't forget to save room for dessert!

17. Do you have bird lists and trip reports from your area?

We sure do! Please check the Trip Reports, Recent Sightings and Species Lists sections of the website so you have an idea of what to expect on our birdwatching tourism opportunities.

18. What mammals will I see during my visit?

Over 70 species (and counting!) of mammals have been found here at our Canopy Camp. Here is a partial list of mammals that have been spotted in our area. Please also check the Mammals section in our Species Lists.

Kinkajou, Olingo, Central American Agouti, White-nosed Coati, Paca, Geoffroy's Tamarin, Howler Monkey, White-faced Capuchin, Panamanian Night Monkey, Forest Rabbit, Rothchild's Porcupine, Collared Peccary, Ocelot, Jaguarundi, Grison, Tayra, Two-toed and Three-toed Sloths, White-tailed Deer, Gray Fox, Central American Woolly Opossum, Common Opossum, Northern Tamandua (Anteater), Nine-banded Armadillo, Red-tailed Squirrel, Crab-eating Racoon and several species of bats and forest mice. Recently, both Pumas and Jaguars have been heard in the forests near the camp.

19. Are there snakes in your area?

Snakes are a fact of life in a healthy forest, but few are venomous. Nevertheless, if you are worried about snakes, we recommend you bring "snake gaiters" for your hikes.

20. Do I need Yellow Fever and/or Malaria vaccinations?

Please consult the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Although uncommon and outbreaks are rare, Yellow Fever and Malaria are spread by mosquitos, so insect protection measures are highly recommended, including long sleeves and pants and insect repellent.

21. Is the water potable?

The water at the Camp is not potable, however, plenty of drinkable water will be available as we have filtering system with a UV lamp at the Canopy Camp and you will be able to refill your water bottles at liberty.

We also offer bottled water to our guests when preferred. Our goal to reduce our plastic consumption targets plastic water bottles, and we encourage our guests to bring their own refillable water bottles during their stay with us (there is plenty of water!) or refill plastic water bottles.

22. What birding companies bring tours to the Canopy Camp?

All of the top birding companies from the United States and Great Britain offer tours to the Canopy Camp, including VENT, Field Guides, WINGS, Naturalist Journeys, Caligo Ventures, TLC Birding Tours, Cheepers Birding on a Budget, Tropical Birding, Ventures Birding, Oriole Birding, Talon Tours, and others.

23. What happens if my arrival flight is delayed?

Please call our office or Emergency Contact Numbers (if calling during non-office hours) and let us know your new arrival time. Remember, the departing transfer does not leave until the following morning. If you miss the departing transfer a private transfer can be arranged, but it will be expensive considering the Canopy Camp is 5 hours from Panama City. Please call the office for more information.

24. What are your payment and refund policies?

Please review our Payment and Refund Policies.

25. At what altitude is the Canopy Camp?

Canopy Camp Darien is located in the lowlands of eastern Panama, at an elevation of 140 meters (460 feet) above sea level. It is surrounded by lowland dry forest and rainforest.

26. Is there a staff person on the premises 24 hours?

Absolutely. Your guide and the staff of the Canopy Camp will be on site at all times during your visit. Please do not hesitate to approach our staff for any questions or concerns you may have.

27. What are the average high and low temperatures at the Canopy Camp?

Daytime temperatures are usually in the upper 80s and low 90s F (33-34C). Nighttime temperatures usually drop to the mid to low 70s F (21-24C). Humidity is usually very high (over 80%).

28. What is the currency in Panama?

Panama uses the US$ as its currency. No need to worry about exchanging foreign currency.

29. What about biting insects?

Biting insects are not as bad in the rainforest as most people think. Just like snakes and other creatures in the jungle, mosquitos and biting insects are an important component of tropical environments. At the Canopy Camp, mosquitos may be encountered on the forest trails, mostly at dawn and dusk. Mosquitos are not typically found around the tents or common areas at the Camp. There are very few mosquitos in the dry season; they tend to be more common in the rainy season from May to December. Overall, they are no worse than at the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge.

In addition to mosquitos and biting insects, we also have ticks and chiggers (near-microscopic type of mite) that you may get from being in the grass and walking through the bush. Sulphur powder is an excellent means to keep the chiggers away. We provide sulphur powder.

30. Does the Canopy Camp offer laundry services?

Due to our efforts in energy conservation in Darien, we are not currently offering laundry services to our guests at the Canopy Camp.

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