Canopy Family Panama

Special Tour: 

Panama's Incredible Flora

December 15-22, 2017

Begonia glabra Panama
Begonia glabra, photo by Jerry & Linda Harrison

 

In this 7-night all-inclusive botanical adventure, we take field trips to biodiverse Pipeline Road and to the foothills of Cerro Jefe (home to many endemics and where your co-leaders have discovered/published 8 new plant species), Cerro Gaital Natural Monument, the heights of Altos del Maria & other locations of botanical interest, where you will enjoy (and learn!) a good sampling of this country’s spectacular and unique flora, some 10,000 species strong! Not only enjoy excellent opportunities to photograph stunningly beautiful—and some, extremely rare or endemic—orchids, gesners, ericads, melastomes, heliconias, gingers, begonias, bromeliads and many more fascinating groups of plants, but also see a host of Panama’s colorful birds, including parrots, trogons, motmots, tanagers & hummingbirds along with the mammals and insects (especially butterflies!) associated with these unique plants—all within a framework of learning some of their complex ecological relationships. Yes, this will be an extraordinary “field botany adventure,” replete with on-the-spot mini-lectures on the unique morphological features of many of the plants encountered -- all explained in simple terms for the beginner or for the more advanced.

Our accommodations for this botanical field experience will be two award-winning Canopy Family properties: our flagship eco-lodge, the Canopy Tower, atop 900-ft Semaphore Hill in Soberania National Park and the Canopy Lodge in El Valle de Anton (at a cooler 2100 ft.), nestled in the belly of an ancient caldera amongst tropical vegetation with a pleasant stream outside your room. Your leaders are adjunct Canopy Tower field botanists/biologists Jerry and Linda Harrison, a dynamic couple who have studied tropical nature and especially plants and birds for the past 35 years together. Their passion for tropical nature has extended beyond North America to many Caribbean Islands, Central & South America, Africa, New Guinea and Australia, but they have permanently settled in their favorite country, Panama, where they have lived since 2011.

Special Introductory Price: $2,455.00

Rate is US$ per person, double occupancy. This all-inclusive tour includes lodging and meals at the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge, professional biologist guides, WiFi, wine with dinner, all taxes, airport transfers to and from Panama City and all tours as per the itinerary.  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 flights to and from Panama City, private airport transfers, tips and alcoholic beverages. 
This tour is limited to 10 participants.

To book this special nature package, please contact us.  Spaces are limited so book your spot now!

Columnea dissimilis Cerro Jefe Panama
Columnea dissimilis by Jerry & Linda Harrison

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - December 15, 2017
Arrival to Canopy Tower

After an introduction regarding the operation of the Tower, you are shown to your room.  But then go immediately to the Tower's observation deck for a spectacular view of Soberania National Park!   The tour officially begins with a welcome-to-Panama dinner at the Canopy Tower. 

Day 2 - December 16, 2017  
Pipeline Road & Semaphore Hill

This morning we are off to world famous Pipeline Road, an area of acute interest to botanists and other researchers for its diversity and ease of access.  After quick stops by the Ammo Ponds and its brushy borders, we explore the forest edges along level Pipeline Road; here, you will get your first taste of a mature tropical rainforest, and our pace will be slow, with all eyes out for unusual wildflowers, shrubs and trees, as well as butterflies and birds.  Back to CANOPY TOWER for lunch.

After a respite, we take a leisurely walk down Semaphore Hill, passing through good forest, where a myriad of plants, especially palms, create a tapestry of color and layers of green -- but always with a watchful eye out for avian and insect visitors which feed on and call these plants "home." Dinner at CANOPY TOWER.

Day 3 - December 17, 2017
Full day Cerro Jefe & Cerro Azul  

The cloud forests associated with Cerro Jefe have been a mecca for botanists since the 1960s because it is renowned as being an area of high endemism. Of the approximately 10,000 plant species recorded for Panama, 1,300 are endemic.  Roughly 230 of these are found on Cerro Jefe --and more than 70 found ONLY on Cerro Jefe!  And though the flora here is generally well-known, surprises are yet to be discovered. Here, the orchid, gesner, bromeliad & aroid diversity is astounding!  One of the highlights will be lunch at the Harrison house, where 12 hummingbird feeders and 3 tray feeders will be swarming with hummingbirds, tanagers, euphonias, woodpeckers, motmots and, possibly, a small troop of Geoffroy's Tamarins, Panama's smallest monkey. During our lunch stop, we will also explore the bromeliad and orchid garden at the Harrison house. Dinner at CANOPY TOWER.
 

 

Day 4 - December 18, 2017
Transfer to Canopy Lodge/Valle Chiquito

After a good breakfast at the Canopy Tower we travel two hours farther west to El Valle de Anton in Cocle Province, home to the Canopy Lodge where we will spend the next 4 nights. We arrive in time to get settled in before lunch. You will immediately notice a cooler breeze, as the Lodge sits at 2,100 ft. This afternoon we visit APROVACA, the loca “Orchid House" on the edge of El Valle, where hundreds of spp. of orchids are on display, many in bloom. The research at APROVACA promotes education & propagation of rare species toward an eventual re-introduction. Immediately afterward, we continue a short distance to an interesting area 20 minutes south of El Valle, called Valle Chiquito. Here, we hope to see species flowering that are difficult to find in other parts of central Panama. Dinner at CANOPY LODGE.

Day 5 - December 19, 2017
Full Day Altos Del Maria

At Altos del Maria (altitude above 1,000M), we pass sweeping vistas where on clear days one can see both coasts. Today's highlight is exploring along a completely paved nature trail through primary forest next to a meandering creek. The forest is ablaze with color, with Bromeliads and orchids festooning the trees and bizarre herbs and shrubs along the creek. This area has only recently been accessed, so anything is possible here, from ground cuckoos to new plant species! This nature trail is quite level and our pace, as always will be slow. We will enjoy a picnic lunch along the banks of a picturesque lake; after more stops for interesting plants, especially orchids, we head back to the Lodge. If time allows and anyone is interested we can make a stop at the El Valle artisan market. Dinner at CANOPY LODGE.

Centropogon tortilis Panam
Centropogon tortilis by Jerry & Linda Harrison

 

Day 6 - December 20, 2017
Cerro Gaital and environs & Canopy Adventure Trails

This morning our goal is to visit the highly biodiverse Cerro Gaital area, whose flora is rich in orchids, aroids, gesners, begonias & melastomes and other fascinating and stunning plants. Along the way we make stops to scout for terrestrial and epiphytic orchids.  Lunch at Canopy Lodge. After lunch we will check to Lodge gardens then walk our way to the Canopy Adventure trails, where still more floral surprises await. A highlight is viewing "El Macho," the famous waterfalls associated with the Canopy Adventure zip-line tours. Dinner at Canopy Lodge.

Day 7 - December 21, 2017
Las Minas/La Mesa

We will make our way to Las Minas after breakfast, where we will walk up the dirt road a short distance and find a different suite of plants than we find at other areas. After lunch at the Canopy Lodge, we will botanize the roadsides in the La Mesa area. These roadsides are home to several species that will be new for the trip and is also excellent for butterflies and mixed bird flocks! Farewell Dinner at CANOPY LODGE.

Day 8 - December 22, 2017
Breakfast and departure to airport

After a lovely breakfast at the Canopy Lodge, we say our good-byes and depart for our return flights home, with great memories of our incredible floral adventure in Panama!
 

Please note that this itinerary may change without prior notice due to weather, alterations in habitat or other conditions.
Linda & Jerry Harrison Panama
Your tour leaders Linda & Jerry Harrison

*for those arriving early on day one of the tour, you may be acquainted with the flora, butterflies and birds immediately surrounding the Tower by your guides.

*on one evening at the Canopy Tower, your guides will present a powerpoint, "Orchids of central Panama," a compilation of many of the species Jerry and Linda have photographed, including one they discovered and published.

*we will review species seen each evening from photographs on a checklist of flowering species most likely encountered this time of year.

*participation is limited to 10 passengers to ensure quality time with instructors.

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