Canopy Family Panama

The Birds & Nature of Panama and Trinidad

Special Introductory Price: $1600 per person

White-bearded Manakin Trinidad
White-bearded Manakin in Trinidad, photo by Peg Abbott

 

Special 8-night nature package at Canopy Tower (Panama) and Asa Wright Nature Centre (Trinidad)

COPA Airline's daily flights to Trinidad from Panama and COPA's extensive network of direct flights to Panama from many U.S. cities make this tour possible.

This special 8-night all-inclusive birding and nature package features the amazing birding and nature of two World Famous birding eco-lodges in two different countries, the Canopy Tower in Panama and Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad & Tobago.  This tour includes birding from the observation deck at the Canopy Tower and overlooking feeders and vast forest from the verandah at Asa Wright Nature Centre, birding the World Famous Pipeline Road in Soberania National Park, Panama and visiting the enigmatic Oilbirds in Trinidad!  This tour also features breathtaking views of thousands of Scarlet Ibis preparing to roost and seeking out Bearded Bellbirds by following their loud “bonk” in Trinidad, and seeking out antbirds and colorful toucans and tanagers in the forest canopy in Panama.  It will surely be a Neotropical birding and nature experience of a lifetime!

Highlights:

• Join Canopy Tower and Asa Wright Nature Centre’s expert naturalist guides to seek out the best birding and wildlife in Panama & Trinidad, who share robust knowledge and friendly world-class guiding skills
• Savor 4 nights at the Canopy Tower in Panama and 4 nights at Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad, two world famous eco-lodges; relish morning coffee and tea from the observation deck and verandah respectively
• Search for birds and Neotropical wildlife along the world famous Pipeline Road in Soberania National Park, Panama
• Gain exclusive access to enigmatic Oilbirds in the grotto of Dunston Cave, Trinidad
• Witness skies turned to crimson with thousands of Scarlet Ibis coming in to roost in Caroni National Park, Trinidad

Rate for this special tour: $1,600.00

Special rate available June through September.  Minimum 2 participants.

Rate is in US$ per person, double occupancy.  This all-inclusive tour includes meals and lodging in the two lodges in Panama and Trinidad, all tours and outings as described in the itinerary led by professional, bilingual naturalist guides, WiFi, wine (Canopy Tower) and rum punch (Asa Wright Nature Centre) with dinner, entrance fees to National Parks, airport transfers and all taxes.  Please check with our reservations office for the times of our scheduled airport transfers to coordinate your arrival and departure times.

This tour does not include airfare (circle ticket (multi city) available from USA and Canada), private airport transfers, alcoholic beverages and gratuities.  

Regarding flights: COPA Airline's daily flights to Trinidad from Panama and COPA's extensive network of direct flights to Panama from many U.S. cities make this tour possible.

Click here for a quick guide to booking multi-city flights on COPA Airlines.

 

Green Honeycreeper Panama Rafael Lau
Green Honeycreeper in Panama, photo by Rafael Lau

Day 1
Arrival, Orientation & Canopy Tower Observation Deck

Welcome to Panama!  Upon arrival at Tocumen International Airport, you will be met by our driver who will transfer you to the Canopy Tower, an old US Air Force radar station converted into World Class eco-lodge located at the top of Semaphore Hill in the rainforest of Soberanía National Park.  A member of our staff will greet you as you arrive at the Tower, and you will be provided with an orientation on the use of the facilities.  As your luggage is being ferried to your room, you may visit the dining/bar area located at canopy level on the 3rd floor and enjoy a refreshing drink.  We highly recommend that you spend some time on the Observation Deck.  The view from the platform is incredible!  Here, you get a unique eye-level perspective of the rainforest canopy.  Many birds, including toucans, parrots, tanagers of various species, hawks, and dozens of others, as well as two species of sloths, monkeys and other mammals are commonly seen.  From this vantage point you can also see ships transiting the Panama Canal, the majestic Centennial Bridge and miles of rainforest!  You may also want to watch the hummingbird feeders at the base of the Tower for Long-billed Hermit, White-necked Jacobin, Violet-bellied & Blue-chested hummingbirds and White-vented Plumeleteer.  Occasionally, a Snowy-bellied Hummingbird is spotted!  Dinner at CANOPY TOWER.

Day 2
AM: Canopy Tower & Semaphore Hill Road

Your guide will be waiting for you at the Observation Deck for early morning birding.  While you look for birds you can enjoy hot coffee, tea and orange juice.  Some of the bird species that we are likely to see from the observation deck are Green & Red-legged honeycreepers, Green Shrike-Vireo, Blue Cotinga, Scaled Pigeon, Mealy & Red-lored parrots, Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari, flycatchers of various kinds and raptors, including King Vulture and Black Hawk-Eagle!  After breakfast, at mid-morning, you’ll start exploring Soberanía National Park by taking a pleasant walk down Semaphore Hill Road.  This winding, shady paved road, festooned on the shoulders by wildflowers of many types, is a little more than a mile long and crosses a large creek about half-way down.  The bird list here is extensive, and includes birds from the forest interior as well as edge-dwellers.  Olivaceous Flatbill, Plain Xenops, Lesser Greenlet, Black-breasted & White-whiskered puffbirds, Fasciated & Black-crowned (formerly Western Slaty) antshrikes, Slate-colored Grosbeak, White-shouldered Tanager, Black-throated Trogon, Broad-billed & Rufous motmots and Great Jacamar may be found.  Great Tinamou is often heard, but harder to find.  This road is also great for raptors—White, Tiny & Crane hawks along with others are seen regularly.  Your morning bird list will be impressive, as we catch a ride back just in time to enjoy a delicious lunch at the CANOPY TOWER.

PM: Ammo Dump Ponds

The Ammo Dump Ponds are located just past Gamboa on the way to Pipeline Road.  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 an Olivaceous Piculet!  Birding here will be excellent, as we add to our impressive list of birds!  Dinner at CANOPY TOWER.

Purple-crowned Fairy Canopy Tower Panama Rafael Lau
Purple-crowned Fairy in Panama, photo by Rafael Lau

Day 3
AM: World Famous Pipeline Road

After breakfast we board the Birdmobile or the Rainfomobile, both open-air vehicles, that take us to Pipeline Road, the best place in Central Panama to find forest birds, and one of the premier birding spots in the world!  This morning we concentrate our efforts at the beginning of Pipeline, where we will look for Greater Ani, Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Yellow-tailed Oriole, Masked Tityra, Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Plain Wren, Streaked Flycatcher, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Squirrel Cuckoo, Gray-headed Chachalaca, Southern Bentbill, Forest Elaenia, Panama Flycatcher, Blue Ground-Dove and Little Tinamou.  Other birds recorded here are Black-bellied & Buff-breasted wrens, Golden-collared Manakin, White-necked Puffbird, Gartered, Slaty-tailed, Black-throated, White-tailed & Black-tailed trogons, Purple-crowned Fairy, Yellow Tyrannulet, White-bellied & Dusky antbirds, Fasciated & Black-crowned antshrikes.  It will surely be an unforgettable morning of tropical birding at its best!  Lunch at CANOPY TOWER.

PM: Summit Gardens & Harpy Eagle Exhibit

Summit Gardens is a center for recreation, education and conservation, dedicated to reflect and enhance Panama’s tropical and cultural diversity.  The botanical gardens are great for migratory warblers and other forest-edge species, including a colony of Chestnut-headed Oropendolas, Yellow-margined Flycatcher, Laughing Falcon, Gray-lined, Crane & Great Black hawks, Collared Forest-Falcon, Tropical Pewee, Masked Tityra, Golden-fronted & Scrub greenlets, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Giant, Shiny & Bronzed cowbirds and Blue Cotinga.  This park is the best place to find Streak-headed Woodcreeper, a difficult species to get elsewhere.  The Harpy Eagle is Panama's national bird, and this park has an exhibit, including a life-size nest and interpretive panels, tracing the importance of the Harpy in Panamanian history and culture dating back to Pre-Columbian times.  Dinner at CANOPY TOWER.

Day 4
AM: Plantation Trail

After breakfast, we take a short ride to the bottom of Semaphore Hill to Plantation Trail, one of our premier birding areas.  This easy trail passes through mature rainforest and follows a small creek (Rio Chico Masambi) and is a reliable place to find Golden-crowned Spadebills.  Oftentimes at the parking area near the entrance, we find Black-chested Jays.  Other birds to look for along the trail include Ocellated, Bicolored, Chestnut-backed, White-bellied & Spotted antbirds; Broad-billed & Whooping motmots, trogons, White-whiskered Puffbird, hummingbirds (Blue-chested, White-necked Jacobin and others); Plain Brown, Northern Barred & Cocoa woodcreepers; Cinnamon, Crimson-crested & Black-cheeked woodpeckers; White-breasted Wood-Wren, Song Wren, Dot-winged, Checker-throated & White-flanked antwrens; Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Bright-rumped Attila, Gray-headed Tanager, Long-billed Gnatwren, Black-crowned & Fasciated antshrikes, Red-capped & Blue-crowned manakins, Great Tinamou, Ruddy-tailed, Royal & Yellow-margined flycatchers, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Scaly-throated Leaftosser and occasionally, a Great Jacamar or the endemic Yellow-green Tyrannulet!  Lunch at CANOPY TOWER.

PM: Chagres River & Gamboa Feeders

After lunch, we take a short drive to Chagres River and the accompanying fields & forest. First, we must stop at the Canopy Bed & Breakfast in the picturesque village of Gamboa, to look at the bird feeders!  With a beautiful backdrop of Cerro Pelado, the backyard at the Canopy B&B is teeming with bird life.  At the fruit feeders, we are likely to see Red-legged, Shining & Green Honeycreepers, Lemon-rumped, Crimson-backed & Blue-gray Tanagers, Thick-billed Euphonia, Yellow-bellied & Variable Seedeaters, Whooping Motmot and Gray-headed Chachalaca, with Central American Agoutis lurking about under the feeders. Next, we're off to Chagres River, the main tributary for the Panama Canal. The birding along the river banks and the forest edges of Gamboa Resort can be spectacular! Here, we search for Amazon, Green & American Pygmy Kingfishers, as well as, Whooping Motmot and Cinnamon Woodpecker. We could also see Gray-Necked Wood-Rail, Cocoi, Green & Striated Herons, Wattled Jacana, Pied-billed Grebe, Anhinga, Royal & Sandwich Terns, Brown Pelican, Neotropic Cormorant, Tricolored & Little Blue Herons, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Mangrove Swallow, Black-chested Jay, Lesser Kiskadee, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Cacique, Black-bellied & Buff-breasted Wrens, Fasciated & Barred Antshrikes, Cinnamon Becard, Slaty-tailed Trogon, White-bellied Antbird, and even Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon and Blue Cotinga at times! Dinner at CANOPY TOWER.

Day 5
AM: Flight to Trinidad & Arrival at Asa Wright Nature Centre

This morning you will enjoy a final morning of treetop birding at the Canopy Tower and after breakfast, head to the airport where you will board a flight to our next exciting destination: Trinidad, and particularly, the famous Asa Wright Nature Centre for another great few days of birding in the Neotropics.

Upon arrival at Piarco International Airport, you are met by an AWNC guide for a one-hour drive from the bustling metropolis of Port of Spain to the quiet seclusion of the Centre, about an hour’s trip up into the Northern Range. Lush forests of the Arima Valley offer untamed vistas and provide the perfect place to learn about Trinidad’s abundant natural heritage.

Asa Wright Nature Centre Trinidad
Verandah at Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad, photo by Bud Ferguson

Step out onto the Centre’s wide verandah to marvel at the almost tame hummingbirds, tanagers, honeycreepers, Bananaquit, and other birds that frequent the feeders.  White-chested Emerald, White-necked Jacobin, Rufous-breasted and Little hermits, Copper-rumped Hummingbird, Crested Oropendola, Silver-beaked and Turquoise tanagers, Barred Antshrike, Purple and Green honeycreepers and Violaceous Euphonia are commonly seen feeding on the fruit and nectar offered. From the verandah, the views of the valley (and the birds) are breathtaking! Double-toothed Kite, Scaled Pigeon, Black-tailed Tityra, Gray-lined, White and Zone-tailed hawks, Channel-billed Toucan, Bearded Bellbird, Yellow-breasted, Yellow-olive and Boat-billed flycatchers and Tropical Pewee may be seen from the verandah.  Beyond the verandah, an extensive trail system beckons. The entrance road is an easy walk, where under a lush canopy Trinidad Motmot and a host of other species can be found. Centre naturalists are there to help identify species. Tea time is at 4:00 PM, followed by Rum Punch at 6:00 PM and then dinner at ASA WRIGHT NATURE CENTRE.

Tufted Coquette Trinidad
Tufted Coquette in Trinidad, photo by Mukesh Ramdass

Day 6
AM: Asa Wright Nature Centre Discovery Trail

This morning begins with 6:00 AM coffee and tea served on the verandah, and a Centre naturalist on duty to help you spy as many as 40 life birds before breakfast! After breakfast, enjoy an introductory walk on the Centre’s Discovery Trail, learning more about the forest and discovering additional species. Trinidad Motmot, Cocoa, Spectacled and White-necked thrushes, Ruddy Ground-Dove, Gray-fronted Dove, Green-backed and Guianan trogons, Channel-billed Toucan, Chestnut Woodpecker, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Turquoise and Bay-headed tanagers, Yellow Oriole are just some of the birds we may encounter this morning.  The hummingbirds here are stunning – Green Hermit, Black-throated Mango and the tiny but ever elaborate Tufted Coquette are frequent here!  Many enjoy the challenge of spotting the Bearded Bellbird, as their distinctive “bonk!” echoes throughout the forest. Near a known bellbird lek in the trees are two species of manakins – White-bearded and Golden-headed – attending their leks closer to the ground. Lunch at ASA WRIGHT NATURE CENTRE.

PM: Night Bird Excursion

This afternoon after a bit of downtime to rest at the Nature Centre, we will head out for an exciting night-birding field trip to lower elevation areas, departing from the Centre between 3:00 and 4:00 PM. Don’t worry about missing out — your rum punch and hot dinner are packed to go. An unused airfield is the first birding stop (pre-sunset), then you venture to the Aripo Livestock Station where you enjoy dinner, then set off on a slow drive looking for target species including Fork-tailed Palm-Swift, Sulphury Flycatcher, White-tailed Nightjar, Common Pauraque, Tropical Screech-Owl, Barn Owl and the superb Spectacled Owl!

Day 7
Birding Trinidad’s Northern Range (full day)

Today’s scenic, day-long excursion takes us high into the Northern Range on the Blanchisseuse Road.  We will spend the day explore the area for its rich bird life!  It is a great place to search for raptors such as Swallow-tailed Kite, Common Black Hawk, Bat Falcon, Short-tailed Hawk and the impressive Ornate Hawk-Eagle.  Other hopefuls we may see today include Collared Trogon, Channel-billed Toucan, Trinidad Piping Guan, both Streaked and Euler’s Flycatchers, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Blue-headed Parrot, Lilac-tailed Parrotlet, Orange-winged Parrot, Golden-olive, Red-rumped and Chestnut woodpeckers, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Stripe-breasted Spinetail, Cocoa and Plain-Brown Woodcreepers, Dusky-capped, Slaty-capped and Rufous-breasted wrens, Long-billed Gnatwren, Golden-fronted Greenlet, Speckled and Hepatic tanagers and Yellow-rumped Cacique.  We will make frequent birding stops throughout the morning, and enjoy a picnic lunch stop en route. We then continue through the mountains to the village of Morne la Croix for afternoon tea and cakes (yum!) as we enjoy watching parrots head in to roost.

Today also offers the opportunity to examine the strange world of leaf-cutter and army ants, as well as the chance to photograph butterflies, orchids, and other tropical flora.

Oilbird Trinidad
Oilbird in Trinidad, photo by Alex Vargo


Day 8
AM: Oilbirds at Dunston Cave

This morning, enjoy coffee, tea, breakfast and the birds on the verandah, followed by a walk to see the Centre’s resident Oilbirds. We will start on a short, but steep, path to Dunston Cave, a riparian grotto at AWNC. Here we enjoy exclusive access to a breeding colony of Oilbirds — queer nocturnal, echo-locating, fruit-eating birds that congregate here at one of the world’s most accessible nesting caves.  This is truly a special moment where we will be able to see one of nature’s most unusual and special creatures!  After our morning with the Oilbirds and other fantastic wildlife of the valley, we will head back up the hill for lunch at ASA WRIGHT NATURE CENTRE.

PM: Caroni National Park

After a delicious lunch and some down time to enjoy the birds from the verandah or an afternoon siesta, we will meet again mid-afternoon and depart for Caroni Swamp, birding along the way, and then arrive at a dock in Caroni National Park. There is a Visitor Center and restrooms here, and the mangroves are good to check for new species. Long-winged Harrier, Yellow-hooded Blackbird, Bicolored Conebill, Masked (Red-capped) Cardinal, Straight-billed Woodcreeper and Green-throated Mango are all possibilities this afternoon.  From here we bird by boat (watch for Ruschenberger’s Tree Boa and Silky Anteater too!), then moor up at a quiet spot in the mangroves to let the sunset show begin. Anhinga, Striated Heron, White-cheeked Pintail, Large-billed Tern, Pied Water-Tyrant and even Common Potoo may be seen roosting along the water’s edge, and hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of Scarlet Ibis cloud the sky as they come in to roost. Tonight’s experience is one you won’t soon forget.  Dinner at ASA WRIGHT NATURE CENTRE.

Day 9
Flight to Panama City

This morning you can enjoy a final dawn of birding activity from the verandah at Asa Wright Nature Centre, and after breakfast depart for Port of Spain to catch your flight home or back to Panama City.  From here, you may carry on to enjoy more of Panama or catch your return flight home.


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

Scarlet Ibis Trinidad
Scarlet Ibis, Trinidad

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