Wildlife watching tours - bird watching holidays -
culture tours for independent travellers and groups
Rufous-crested Coquette © D Tipling
Spot-crowned Barbet © C BethancourtBlue-crowned Motmot © M O'DellCrimson-backed Tanager © D TiplingBarred Antshrike © C BethancourtRufous Motmot © D TiplingOrange-bellied Trogon © M O'Dell

Canopy Lodge Birdwatching Tour (8 days) P125

Tour ref. no. P125
Duration: 7 nights (8 days taking into account flights which are payable directly)
Panama City – Canopy Lodge – Panama City
  • Bird the cool cloud forest at Canopy Lodge for mid-altitude specialist birds
  • See the endemic Veraguan Mango
  • Explore a network of trails and roads for manakins and trogons
  • Rufous-crested Coquette visits the garden!
  • Explore local wetlands for Central American rarities and migrants
  • Visit the Pacific coast for waders, frigatebirds and terns

Introduction

Walk in the cool foothills and cloud forests of El Valle de Anton — the home of motmots, tanagers, hummingbirds, antpittas and the mythical Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo!   Visit Cerro Taital Natural Monument and with a little luck see White-ruffed Manakin and perhaps Purplish-backed Quail-dove.

A day trip to the scrub of El Chiru, the beaches of Juan Hombron and Santa Clara will help you see many of the area’s specialties, including the endemic Veraguan Mango and a several birds of prey.

Your days will be bird-filled as you visit Altos del Maria, La Mesa, Cara Iguana, Rio Indio, Las Minas and Jordanal.

There is a good chance of mammal sightings too – Hoffman’s Two-toed as well as Brown-throated Three-toed Sloths are common and with more luck you may see Rothschild’s Porcupine and perhaps even Water Opossum.

And all from the award-winning Canopy Lodge, where Rufous-crested Coquettes grace the hummingbird feeders.

Itinerary and price

Day 1: Flight to be organised by you

For help with your flight arrangements and to receive a no obligation quote, you can complete the enquiry form on our website or call 0800 280 8947 to speak to a flight advisor at StudentUniverse (in partnership with Gapyear.com), part of the Flight Centre Travel Group, a leading retailer of airfares and worldwide flights.

Meals: Dinner at Canopy Lodge

If you board a flight from the UK very early morning you may well arrive by the evening into Panama City.

On arrival at the airport you will be met by your driver who will transfer you to Canopy Lodge, located in the mountains at El Valle de Antón and nestled against the cloud forests of Cerro Gaital Natural Monument.  At 2,400-feet, you will probably find the climate very comfortable and cool.

As your luggage is taken to your room, you may like to visit the dining/lounge area and enjoy a refreshing drink – you’ll certainly want to scan the bird feeders and look around the lodge grounds. Many species are likely – Crimson-backed, Blue-grey, White-lined, Lemon-rumped, Dusky-faced and Plain-coloured Tanagers, along with Red-crowned Ant-Tanager are all seen locally. Rufous-crested Coquette and several other species of hummingbird visit the garden.

Night at Canopy Lodge

Day 2: Las Minas Trail - Cara Iguana

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

After breakfast (watch for Orange-billed Sparrow at the end of the dining area) head towards Las Minas, an excellent place for a wide variety of birds. The road follows the ridge line, with sweeping vistas of forested mountains, dotted with grasslands and small fincas (farms). The views from here are fantastic; on a clear day both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans can be seen from near the summit. Specialties of the region include Black-and-yellow, Bay-headed and Emerald Tanagers, Tawny-capped Euphonia, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Spot-crowned Antvireo, Grey-headed Kite, Barred Hawk, Bat Falcon, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Swallow-tailed Kite, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, White-tipped Sicklebill, Green Thorntail, Orange-bellied and Black-throated Trogons.

After lunch back at the lodge the Cara Iguana Trail offers outstanding foothill birding in some of the last remaining examples of quality Dry Pacific Forest. Specialties you can hope for in this bird-rich habitat are Lesser Elaenia, Yellow-olive and Panama Flycatchers, Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Lance-tailed Manakin, Rufous-breasted and Rufous-and-white Wrens, Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Tody and Whooping Motmots and Long-billed Gnatwren. Other residents are Striped Cuckoo, Little Tinamou, Common Potoo, Dusky and White-bellied Antbirds, Barred Antshrike, White-winged Becard, Tropical Screech-Owl and Bat Falcon. Hummingbirds to watch for are Garden Emerald, Long-billed Starthroat and White-vented Plumeleteer.

Night at Canopy Lodge

Day 3: La Mesa Road and Water Cress Trail

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

After breakfast, you continue the quest for more lifers with a trip to La Mesa Road. This area, a visually pleasing blend of secondary forest, scrubby pastures, overgrown fincas and grassy borders, is home to many of the area’s specialties. Look for such great birds as Spot-crowned Barbet, Cinnamon Becard, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Silver-throated, Golden-hooded, Tawny-crested and Bay-headed Tanagers, Spot-crowned Antvireo and Spotted Woodcreeper; hummingbirds include White-tipped Sicklebill, Rufous-crested Coquette, Violet-crowned Woodnymph and Black-throated Mango. Also resident are Blue-throated Toucanet, Bran-coloured Flycatcher, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant and Orange-bellied Trogon. Lunch will be served back at Canopy Lodge.

After lunch it’s off to Watercress Trail, named after the herb which is commercially grown in the terraced creek near the entrance. It’s an easy trail traversing good secondary forest framed by the picturesque forested mountains of Cerro Gaital Natural Monument. Good birds here are Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Black-headed Saltator, Great Antshrike, White-ruffed Manakin, White-thighed Swallow, White-bellied Antbird and Tody Motmot; hummingbirds such as Long-billed Starthroat, Rufous-crested Coquette and, if the Inga is in bloom, scan for Snowcap. You will also listen for the frog-like Purplish-backed Quail-Dove.

Night at Canopy Lodge

Day 4: El Chiru/Juan Hombron Beach/Playa Santa Clara

Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner

After breakfast there’s a full day of birding in more Dry Pacific Forest with a wonderful suite of birds. Amongst those to search for are Yellow-headed Caracara, Roadside, Grey and Short-tailed Hawks, Peregrine and Aplomado (rare) Falcons, White-tailed Kite and Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl as well as Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant, Golden-fronted Greenlet, Grassland Yellow-Finch, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Brown-throated Parakeet, Blue Ground-Dove, Crested Bobwhite, Red-breasted Blackbird, Fork-tailed Flycatcher and Crested Oropendola. There’s a spot along the way where Common Potoo is sometimes found. Hummingbirds to be on the watch for in this unique scrubby area are Garden Emerald and the endemic Veraguan Mango. Enjoy a picnic lunch at a popular Santa Clara beach and hope to spot Sapphire-throated Hummingbird working the coastal shrubbery. You may want to bring your swimsuit; the waters of the Pacific Ocean are nice and warm. Birds around the coast could include Least, Western and Spotted Sandpipers, Sanderling, Blue-footed and Brown Boobies, Sandwich, Royal and Elegant Terns plus Franklin’s and Laughing Gulls. Hoped-for species at Juan Hombron rice fields are Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Crested Caracara, Grey-necked Wood-Rail, Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant, Northern Scrub-Flycatcher, Southern Lapwing, Great Blue Heron, Tricoloured Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Glossy Ibis, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Pale-breasted Spinetail, Plain-breasted Ground-Dove, Mouse-coloured Tyrannulet, Savanna and Common Black Hawks and Pearl Kite.

Night at Canopy Lodge

Day 5: Cerro Gaital - Valle Chiquito

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Today after breakfast you’ll go to Cerro Gaital (3,500 ft), a steep, mist-shrouded, forested mountain which you can see from the lodge. It takes its name from Cerro Gaital Natural Monument, which protects more than 335 hectares of mature cloud forest and offers sightings of Black Guan (difficult), Blue-throated Toucanet, Orange-bellied Trogon, Spotted Barbtail and many others.

This afternoon’s destination is Valle Chiquito. The valley is accessible via a newly-paved road passing through forested woodlands crossed by two rivers. At Rio de Jesus you’ll search for Green Kingfisher and listen for Sepia-capped Flycatcher. There’s a nice colony of Chestnut-headed Oropendolas here in a Cecropia tree and you may find Tody Motmot, Yellow-throated Vireo, Yellow-backed Oriole, White-bellied Antbird, Grey-chested Dove, Yellow-billed Cacique, Zone-tailed and Grey Hawks, Black Hawk-Eagle and Lance-tailed Manakin among many species frequently seen locally.

Night at Canopy Lodge

Day 6: Altos del Maria

Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner

After an early breakfast you’ll drive from El Valle in air conditioned 4×4 SUVs back along the Pan-American Highway and up to the mountains. As the sun rises over the highlands ahead of you, the vast valleys and spectacular mountains with towering cliffs come into view. Set in the mountains on the continental divide east of El Valle, Altos del Maria provides a fabulous location for birding. Ascending an excellent paved road along a ridge you will reach your destination; an extensive area of cloud forest at 3,600 ft. harbouring an exciting variety of highland forest birds. Some of the characteristic species of this cloud forest include Black-crowned Antpitta, Black-headed Saltator, White Hawk, Barred Forest-Falcon, Orange-bellied Trogon, Spotted Woodcreeper, Red-faced Spinetail, Spotted Barbtail, Russet and Great Antshrikes. Possible hummingbirds are Band-tailed Barbthroat, the exquisite Snowcap, Garden and White-tailed Emeralds, Purple-throated Mountain-Gem, White-tipped Sicklebill and Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer. After a picnic lunch in the field, you descend into a valley and climb to the ridge on the opposite side. Reaching some large swathes of mature humid forest along this ridge, explore trails and roadside spots in search of even more forest birds. Around mid-afternoon it will be time to head back into El Valle for some relaxation time prior to dinner.

Night at Canopy Lodge

Day 7: Rio Indio and Jordanal

Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner

Depart after breakfast for a fun-filled day of Caribbean Slope birding! These fine forested areas are not well-birded – by anybody – so who knows what you could find!  First stop is Rio Indio, a great place to try for the area’s specialties: Sulphur-rumped Tanager, Spot-crowned Barbet and Barred Puffbird. Other species to strive for are Crested Oropendola, White-vented Euphonia, Buff-rumped Warbler, Long-tailed Tyrant and raptors such as White and Grey Hawks and Black Hawk-Eagle, as well as White-collared and Band-rumped Swifts. Hummingbirds might include Green, Long-billed and Rufous-breasted Hermits and White-necked Jacobin.  Search, too, for Lineated and Red-crowned Woodpeckers, Jet and Dusky Antbirds, Lesser and Yellow-bellied Elaenias, Tropical Pewee, Dusky, Piratic and Grey-capped Flycatchers, Cinnamon and White-winged Becards, Black-chested Jay, Bay Wren, along with Tawny-capped Euphonia, Emerald, Bay-headed and Golden-hooded Tanagers. If that’s not enough, you may see Shining Honeycreeper, finches such as Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Thick-billed Seed-Finch, Black-striped Sparrow, as well as Streaked and Buff-breasted Saltators! After a picnic lunch at a thatched-roof shelter on the Jordanal River, bird your way back to Canopy Lodge for a relaxing afternoon – but you can’t really relax until you’ve checked the feeders one last time!

Night at Canopy Lodge

Day 8: Canopy Lodge – Panama City

Meals: Breakfast and lunch

After a leisurely breakfast and some last-minute-birding around the Lodge gardens, you’ll be driven (approx. 3 hours) back to Panamá City to catch your return flight home.

Tour ends

Tour extensions available so please contact us for details.

Note: The order of visits and places visited may vary depending on weather and other factors.

Price per person:

Price per person:
Green/migration Seasons (16 April – 15 Dec 2017) $1799
High Season (16 Dec 2017- 15 April 2018) $2939
Green/migration Seasons (16 April – 15 Dec 2018) $1889

To add three nights at Canopy Tower the supplement is as follows:
Green/migration Seasons (16 April – 15 Dec 2017) $699
High Season (16 Dec 2017- 15 April 2018) $1049
Green/migration Seasons (16 April – 15 Dec 2018) $735

To add five nights at Canopy Tower the supplement is as follows:
Green/migration Seasons (16 April – 15 Dec 2017) $1299
High Season (16 Dec 2017- 15 April 2018) $2099
Green/migration Seasons (16 April – 15 Dec 2018) $1369

Supplement surcharge for stays from 20 Dec – 5 Jan inclusive – please enquire

No single room supplement, but single rooms are smaller with their own ensuite facilities.

Price includes:
Pre-travel information
All land transport
Accommodation in single/twin/double room
All meals, non-alcoholic beverages and wine served with dinner,  from dinner on Day 1 to lunch on Day 8.
Services of an experienced bird guide for two outings each day or a full day excursion (max. group size of 8)
Entrance fees to any places mentioned
Taxes and internet service

Price excludes:
Flights and travel insurance
Alcoholic drinks (except for wine served with meals which is included)
Tips, laundry, phone calls and anything else not listed in the inclusions
Extra supplement if you wish to have a private bird guide of $150 per day

How to book

The booking of this itinerary is with Wild About Travel Limited and our booking terms and conditions apply. In order to protect your payments we operate a trust account in accordance with the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.

Please contact Jo Thomas at Wild About Travel (jo@wildabouttravel.co.uk) / 01480-370593 to register your interest and request a booking form.

To confirm your booking please complete the booking form and send a 25% deposit by £ sterling cheque * payable to Wild About Travel Trust to the Wild About Travel Office, 25 Sapley Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, Cambs PE29 1YG. The balance payment would be due 40 - 60 days (to be confirmed at the time of booking) prior to your travel dates.

* Note: Where a price is given in another currency you can pay in £ sterling. We will use the Lloyds Bank exchange rate at the time of making the deposit payment and the balance payment to convert the figure to £. If you would prefer to make a payment by internet banking please let us know and we can supply you with the bank details.

Flights

We can advise on appropriate flights and timings that you may wish to book, but we do not organise or arrange flights on our customers’ behalf. You will need to make your own flight arrangements directly with a flight retailer or the airline concerned; we recommend StudentUniverse (in partnership with Gapyear.com), part of Flight Centre Travel Group. They can be contacted by completing the online enquiry form or you can call 0800 280 8947 to speak to one of their flight advisors.

For any help or advice please call or email Wild About Travel and we would be happy to assist.
Tel: +44 (0)1480 370593 Mobile: +44 (0)7817 574235
Email: jo@wildabouttravel.co.uk
Wild About Travel Limited is a company registered in England and Wales.
Reg. no. 5522066. Registered Office: 25 Sapley Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE29 1YG, UK

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