Canopy Family Panama

The Birds of the Canopy B&B

Relaxed birding tour in Gamboa

Blue-gray Tanager Panama
Blue-gray Tanager, photo by David Tipling


7-night all-inclusive birding package
Minimum 4 participants

Welcome to Gamboa! This Panama bird trip is especially designed for those looking for a relaxing birding vacation in one of the best towns in Central America—Gamboa, PanamaOn the banks of the Panama Canal, surrounded by Soberania National Park, the historic Canal town of Gamboa is a birder’s paradise, and the Canopy B&B is the perfect base for an enjoyable, relaxed birding tour in Panama. This 7-night tour features Gamboa’s exquisite wildlife—birds, mammals, butterflies, all in our own backyard and beyond. Enjoy morning birding tours with our bilingual, professional guides, delicious meals at the Canopy B&B and free afternoons to explore the area, watch the birds at our table feeders or take a restful siesta. This Panama bird trip also offers an exciting Panama Canal partial transit (optional), a spectacular way to experience the Panama Canal!

Day 1

Arrival at Canopy B&B & B&B feeders

Welcome to Panama! You will be met at Tocumen International Airport and transferred one hour to the Canopy B&B in the picturesque Canal town of Gamboa. Upon arrival, you will feel the rich history that this area boasts, from the century-old one-way bridge entering town to the restored Canal Zone houses, circa 1937. This afternoon is yours to settle in; there are no guided activities planned for today. With the beautiful backdrop of Cerro Pelado, we highly recommend spending some time in the backyard watching the active platform feeders, well-stocked with bananas and fresh fruit, where Crimson-backed, Golden-headed, Blue-gray and Palm tanagers, Red-legged and Green honeycreepers, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Clay-colored Thrush, Orange-chinned Parakeet and Whooping Motmot come in to feed a few times a day. Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds and White-necked Jacobins frequent the hummingbird feeders. Feel free to browse our B&B library, or take a leisurely stroll around town at dusk and watch for Red-lored Parrots as they fly in to their evening roosts. Dinner at CANOPY B&B.

Whooping Motmot Panama Rafael Lau
Whooping Motmot by Rafael Lau

Day 2
Introductory birding walk – Gamboa Resort Grounds

This morning we will be up with the birds! Your guide will meet you at 6:30 am and point out the various species of birds and mammals in the garden of the B&B. Following a delicious breakfast, we will start our leisurely morning walk to the grounds of the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. This area boasts open roads, forest trails, marshy wetlands and riverside habitat to explore, and a multitude of birds! On this morning's bird trip, we'll scan the open fields for Southern Lapwing, Variable and Yellow-bellied Seedeaters and several species of open area flycatchers including Great Kiskadee and Streaked Flycatcher. We also hope to see Keel-billed and Yellow-throated toucans, Social Flycatcher, Cinnamon Becard, Scrub Greenlet, Blue-headed Parrot, Black-throated Mango, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Black-headed Saltator, Gartered Trogon and White-bellied Antbird. Along the riverbanks we hope to see Wattled Jacana, Little Blue Heron and Purple Gallinule, among others! We are sure to have a fantastic morning of birding in Gamboa. In addition to all the wonderful birds, we will also watch for Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth, Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth, Central American Agouti, Variegated Squirrel and Giant Whiptail Lizard during our morning walk. We return to the Canopy B&B in time for lunch. Lunch at CANOPY B&B.

Enjoy the afternoon to yourselves—whether you prefer to explore the Gamboa area on your own, indulge in a siesta during the heat of the afternoon or curl up and read a book, it is up to you! Dinner at CANOPY B&B.

Day 3
World-famous Pipeline Road

We have an exciting bird trip ahead of us! After breakfast, we head to the world-famous Pipeline Road, just 2 km from the B&B! Pipeline Road is well-known as one of the best birding destinations in the Americas, with over 500 species of birds recorded here! This was the access road to service a pipeline installed across the isthmus during World War II as a precautionary measure, in the event that the Panama Canal was shut down or attacked. However, it was never used, and now has been engulfed by the extensive lowland rainforest of Soberania National Park. Along the way, we can make a quick stop to scan the Ammo Ponds—Snail Kite, Rufescent Tiger-Heron and Ringed Kingfisher are commonly seen here. Carrying on to Pipeline Road, we slowly walk to first part of the road in search of some of Panama’s forest birds. It is a great place to see Broad-billed Motmot, Black-crowned Antshrike, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Cinnamon Woodpecker, White-necked Puffbird, as well as some non-avian animals including Mantled Howler and White-nosed Coati. We hope to find an army ant swarm, where Spotted, Bicolored and Ocellated antbirds, along with Gray-headed Tanagers and Song Wrens tend to the swarm. Mixed flocks offer sightings of White-shouldered Tanagers, Fasciated Antshrikes, Dot-winged Antwrens and several species of wrens. It will surely be a memorable morning! We will return to the Canopy B&B by mid-day. Lunch at CANOPY B&B.

Once again this afternoon you have the time to yourselves. Dinner will be served this evening at the CANOPY B&B.

Day 4
Canopy Tower & Semaphore Hill & lunch at Canopy Tower

This morning you can enjoy a delicious breakfast at the Canopy B&B. After breakfast, your guide will pick you up and bring you to the Canopy Tower, Canopy Family’s signature eco-lodge, for today's bird trip, just 15 minutes from Gamboa. The best place to start is on the observation deck, overlooking miles of rainforest in every direction! From the deck, you can also see the Panama Canal to the west and Panama City in the distance. Masked Tityra, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Black-breasted Puffbird, several species of tanagers, Thick-billed Euphonia, Blue Cotinga, Keel-billed Toucan, Scaled Pigeon and several raptors including Gray-headed Kite and Black Hawk-Eagle! Then, we will spend most of the morning taking a short walk down Semaphore Hill Road, the windind, mile-long access road to Canopy Tower. Surrounded by jungle, we seek out White-whiskered Puffbird, Black-throated Trogon, Squirrel Cuckoo, Rufous Motmot, mixed flocks and other forest species. At the bottom of the hill we can check for Lesser White-lined Bats under the bridge. At the end of our bird trip, we take a short ride back up to the Tower for lunch. Lunch at CANOPY TOWER.

Enjoy a relaxing afternoon in Gamboa. Dinner at CANOPY B&B.

Day 5
Boat Tour on Gatun Lake and Chagres River

Today enjoy a leisurely breakfast with the birds. Today your guide will meet you after breakfast and head out on a full morning boat tour of the Chagres River and Gatun Lake! Exploring this area by boat is one of the most enjoyable tours we offer. Today's bird trip provides a great opportunity to see many species of water birds including Tricolored Heron, Snowy Egret, Common Gallinule, Amazon Kingfisher, Limpkin, as well as Snail Kite, Keel-billed Toucan, and others. Magnificent Frigatebird, Brown Pelican and Royal Tern fly above us over the Panama Canal while we pass enormous container ships and tankers transiting the historic waterway. Mantled Howlers, White-faced Capuchins and Geoffroy’s Tamarins are commonly seen along the banks of Gatun Lake, and if lucky, we may see some rarer mammals, such as Neotropical River Otter or West Indian Manatee! Keep an eye open for Green Iguana, American Crocodile and Spectacled Caiman, both of these fascinating crocodilians are common in these waters. It will no doubt be a delightful morning full of wildlife! Lunch at CANOPY B&B.

This afternoon be sure to enjoy the feeders again, you never know who may show up! There are no scheduled activities for this afternoon, just relax and enjoy! Dinner at CANOPY B&B.

Day 6
Panama Rainforest Discovery Center
** optional Panama Canal Partial Transit

This morning after an enjoyable breakfast at the B&B we will visit the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, located at Pipeline Road. This center is run by the Avifauna Foundation, an organization striving to protect Panama’s bird life and their crucial habitats. The center features a 100-ft tower overlooking the vast rainforest of Soberania National Park, a great place to see Blue Cotinga, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Yellow-throated Toucan and raptors perching in the canopy. At ground level, a series of trails through lush rainforest hosts endless opportunities to see Blue-crowned and Red-capped manakins, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, White-whiskered Puffbird and many understory species. Finally, a veranda with several hummingbird feeders attracts Long-billed Hermit, White-necked Jacobin, Crowned Woodnymph among others. We return back to the CANOPY B&B for lunch.

*An optional activity for today's bird trip is a partial transit on the Panama Canal. This exciting activity strays a little away from a guided birding tour; rather, we will transfer you to the drop-off point to meet the boat, either at the dredging division in Gamboa or at the Flamenco Marina in Panama City. During the partial transit, you will pass through both sets of locks, Miraflores and Pedro Miguel, of the Pacific side of the Panama Canal. A local guide on board will explain the process and tell you all about the history of the Panama Canal, one of the wonders of the modern world. Lunch will be served on board. It will be a memorable day!

After the morning walk or the transit, you will return back to the Canopy B&B to enjoy the rest of the afternoon in Gamboa on your own. Dinner will be served in the CANOPY B&B.

Panama Canal Transit
Photo by Jenn Sinasac

Day 7
Ammo Ponds & Pipeline Road

Our final day of birding in Gamboa! This morning after breakfast, we head out back toward Pipeline Road, with a stop prior at the Ammo Ponds, just on the outskirts of town, for our last bird trip. It is the best place to see the elusive White-throated Crake, as well as a host of other waterbirds. Least Grebes and Purple Gallinules are common, and Rufescent Tiger-Heron and American Pygmy-Kingfisher are also resident. Here, we often find Greater Ani, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Whooping Motmot (recent split from Blue-crowned), Yellow-tailed Oriole, Southern Lapwing, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Tropical Kingbird, Scrub Greenlet, Lesser Kiskadee, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck and Panama, Social & Rusty-margined flycatchers and even Snail Kites can be seen hunting here! The forest bordering the pond is excellent for woodcreepers and woodpeckers, as well as many other forest edge species. As it definitely merits a second visit, we will then carry on further into Pipeline Road, where we search of trogons, antbirds, forest raptors, mixed flocks and army ant swarms. The possibilities seem endless here, so we are in for a great morning of birding! Lunch at CANOPY B&B.

Enjoy your final afternoon in Gamboa on your own, perhaps on a walk around town to pick up any bird species we may have missed, or take advantage of another afternoon at the backyard bird feeders, boasting great photography opportunities. Dinner will be served at the CANOPY B&B.

Day 8

Once again this morning is yours to enjoy. Breakfast will be served in the dining room, and you can enjoy the fruit feeders in the backyard, as well as everything Gamboa has to offer on your last morning prior to your departure. We hope you have enjoyed this laid-back bird trip in Gamboa!

Please note that the itinerary for this bird trip may change without prior notice due to weather, alterations in habitat or other conditions.

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