Canopy Family Panama

The Camp

Cuipo Tree

 

 

"I visited Darién for the first time in 1996.  I took a small plane with a group of birding friends from Panama City to El Real de Santa María La Antigua del Darién, El Real for short, then a “piragua”, a dugout canoe, with an outboard motor up the Chucunaque River to Boca de Cupe.  From there we hiked to the forest and saw my first wild Harpy Eagle up in its nest in a huge “Cuipo” tree (Cavanillesia platanifolia), one of the tallest trees in the Neotropics.  It is high up there where the most powerful bird in the world builds its nests.  I remember vividly seeing the eagle fly to its nest, it was a female, and then she noticed us, a group of primates looking at her and she would look back intensely as if she were evaluating us as potential prey.”  -- Raúl Arias de Para

 

 

 

After the opening of the Canopy Lodge in El Valle in 2005, Raúl was already thinking about another high-quality birding eco-lodge in Panama, to add to the family.  The Canopy B&B was well into its renovations in Gamboa and set to open in late 2011.  With a dream to expand the Canopy Family into the fabled Darién region, Raúl started searching for a good property in 2010.  Month after month, Raúl and his team visited various lots, met with locals and explored the area, looking for a suitable location to set up an eco-lodge.  In September 2011, they found a property perfect for the future Canopy Camp – within good road proximity for ease of access, and in the buffer zone of a protected area for optimal wildlife viewing.  By good fortune, the teak plantation that Raúl started in 1990 was ready to be harvested, and much of the teak was used in the construction of the tent platforms and flooring, bathroom details, and main lodge at the Canopy Camp. 

Canopy Camp Tent
Canopy Camp tent, photo by Alex Alba

 

Why tents?  Paul Zway, friend of the Canopy Family and owner of Exclusive Tents, visited Panama and offered Raúl a couple of tents; Paul provided good ideas and advice for establishing a tented eco-lodge, and Raúl’s ideas, ingenuity and imagination flowed from there, creating what is now, Canopy Camp Darien.

 

Canopy Camp
The lounge at the Canopy Camp, photo by Alex Alba
Aerial view of Canopy Camp Darien
Aerial view of the Canopy Camp showing extensive forest
Canopy Camp Solar Panels Panama
Solar panels provide 100% clean energy to the Canopy Camp
Ruby-topaz Hummingbird Panama Rafael Lau
Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, photo by Rafael Lau

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