Canopy Family Panama

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Mantled Howler Monkey by David Tipling
Mantled Howler Monkey by David Tipling



Pipeline Road: 1/2 day $100; full-day adventure $160 (box lunch)

Considered by many to be one of the top birding spots in the world. We use the Birdmobile to go deep into the forest; this trip will remain high in your list of "birding stories" for a long time. Pipeline Road is the focus of many of our environmental tours, as it is the best place in central Panamá to find forest birds. Eight species of wrens, five trogons, four puffbirds, three motmots, many antbirds and even more flycatchers have been reported from the road. And if the main is not enough, there's plenty of side trails plus eleven creeks and rivers that can be followed into the forest. Army ant swarms are found frequently, attended rarely by Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, and there are many Manakin leks right beside the road. Pipeline Road is also a great place for raptors: all three Forest-Falcons are heard if not seen with ease, and Tiny and Plumbeous Hawks and Ornate Hawk-Eagles have been reported a few times. The Peregrine Fund released three Harpy Eagles at the end of Pipeline Road, and they are seen occasionally in this area. Come experience this one-of-a-kind birding destination on your ecotourism holiday!


Metropolitan Natural Park: $115

Located right next to Panamá City, only 25 minutes from the Canopy Tower, the forests of the Metropolitan Natural Park are much drier than those around Pipeline or Plantation Roads. When you take on of our environmental tours through here, you should expect to see species of birds that are normally rare or absent in those areas. The beautiful Rosy Thrush-Tanager is common, as is the striking Lance-tailed Manakin. It's also a good place to look for Sepia-capped Flycatcher and the endemic Yellow-green Tyrannulet! And if the resident birds are not enough, each September the birdlist of the park grows substantially with the arrival of two dozen species of warblers and other migratory birds. Finally, the lookout at the end of Mono Tití Road is one of the best places to witness the rivers of migrating Turkey Vultures, Swainson's & Broad-winged Hawks that fly en masse right over downtown Panamá City in October/November and again in April/May!


Panama Rainforest Discovery Center: $115

This is an ecotourism and environmental education facility created and administered by Fundacion Avifauna Eugene Eisenmann. Located off Pipeline Road within Soberanía National Park, the center contains several attractions, the best of which is a 100-foot-tall observation tower, with 4 rest platforms—each stopping at a different layer of the rainforest. The view from the top is incredible! Here, we scan for hawks like Double-toothed Kite and Semiplumbeous Hawk. Also, we explore the 1.1 kilometer circuit of well-maintained forest trails, one ending at a pond, which is excellent for Snail Kite, Wattled Jacana, Little Blue Heron. Sungrebes are also resident at the pond! Along the well-maintained trails we look for White-necked Puffbird, motmots, trogons, manakins, antbirds, wrens, tanagers, flycatchers and many others. The covered Visitor Center has several hummingbird feeders (attracting species that may be photographed easily), bathrooms, lunch tables and a small gift shop with drinks and snacks. Come spend part of your ecotourism holiday at the Discovery Center!


Barro Colorado Island (BCI): $100

BCI is a 1,500-hectare island, and together with five adjacent peninsulas, forms a very biodiverse 5400-hectare Natural Monument. BCI has been administrated by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute since 1923. This Natural Monument located in the middle of the Panama Canal is home to more than 200 Researchers from all around the world. This island is considered the most studied area in the Neotropics. It houses a field station and modern labs, only open to researchers and tourists with a reservation. A great trail system is also available. BCI offers a great opportunity to see many mammals in a short period of time, including Brown-headed Spider Monkey, Tayra, Central American Agouti, Northern Tamandua, Mantled Howler, both species of Sloths, Geoffroy's Tamarins & White nosed Coatis. On these environmental tours, we leave the island around 3 pm, and we will be back to Canopy Tower by 4 pm.

Note: due to its popularity and limited space, this tour must be booked well in advance.


Boat Trip in the Panama Canal and Gatun Lake: $160

On these environmental tours, we board a 20 ft. boat with a 75 hp outboard motor, for a spectacular tour on the Panama Canal. Most of the Panama Canal is actually an artificial lake, Lake Gatun, and this tour will depart from Gamboa, just 15 minutes from the Canopy Tower. Along the way we will pass huge cargo ships and ocean liners and will also visit hidden coves and beautiful inlets with fascinating fauna and flora. From the boat, we will explore the small islands throughout the lake to look for primates including Mantled Howlers, White-faced Capuchins and the tiny Geoffroy’s Tamarins. There is also a chance to see some interesting reptiles, including American Crocodile (some reach 14 or more feet in length) and its smaller relative, the Spectacled Caiman, Green Iguana, Basilisk Lizard (Jesus Lizard) and Black River Turtle. A little scarcer, but not impossible, is the Neotropical River Otter and, if we are really lucky, a Manatee.  There is also a Tiny Proboscis Bat roost here we will probably see!  Birds we will look for include Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Muscovy Ducks, Great Black-Hawk, Snail Kite, Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Limpkin and 3 species of kingfishers, Amazon, Green & Ringed. Make this very enjoyable tour a part of your upcoming ecotourism holiday!


The following full-day environmental tours require a minimum of four persons:

Achiote Road and San Lorenzo: $195

This is the site of the famous Atlantic Christmas Bird Count held by the Panamá Audubon Society every year. The number of species in this area consistently exceeds 340 in a 24-hour period, the No. 1 or 2 spot worldwide. Habitats are a bit more open, but the birding nonetheless can be wonderful. White Hawk, Mealy Parrot, Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, Black-throated Trogon, Black-breasted & Pied Puffbirds, Spot-crowned Barbet, Montezuma Oropendola, Fasciated Antshrike, Bare-crowned & Bicolored Antbirds, White-headed Wren, Red-breasted Blackbird, Sulphur-rumped Tanager and Black-headed Saltator are all regularly seen here. There is also the added benefit of visiting the old Spanish fortress of San Lorenzo, a World Heritage Site, built on a promontory at the entrance of the Chagres River. In addition, to get to this area we have to cross the Panamá Canal which gives us a unique view of the locks from below. Our return to Panamá City is by train, (optional $25 fee) on the historic Panamá Railroad, the first intercontinental railroad on the American Continent. Come experience this unique birding site on your ecotourism holiday!

Cerro Azul & Cerro Jefe: $195

Located in the hills above Tocumen International Airport where a completely different climate and, more importantly, a different suite of birds awaits you on your ecotourism holiday! The weather will be much cooler & breezier as we ascend the foothills of the San Blas Mountains toward Cerro Azul (2,500 ft.) and Cerro Jefe (3,300 ft.), named after the two tall peaks in the area. Major targets in these cloud-forested hills with peaks of elfin forest will include Yellow-eared Toucanet, Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Spot-crowned Barbet, Black-eared Wood-Quail, and a nice mix of tanagers, including Silver-throated, Emerald, Speckled, Rufous-winged, Bay-headed, Black-and-yellow, Golden-hooded and Hepatic. We can also search for the specialty hummers, including Rufous-crested Coquette, White-tipped Sicklebill, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Green Thorntail, as well as Violet-capped, Violet-headed & Snowy-bellied Hummingbirds! We should also find the endemic Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker, along with Lineated Woodpecker, Black-striped & Spotted Woodcreepers, Red-capped & White-ruffed Manakins, Russet Antshrike, and White-vented & Tawny-capped Euphonias. We have lunch at a picturesque residence overlooking miles of Chagres National Park's impressive rainforest!

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