Canopy Camp Darien

Come explore Darién , we are sure you will have the birding adventure of your life!!

Situated in the humid lowlands of far eastern Panama, near the end of the Pan-American Highway, at the new Canopy Camp you can feel the wilderness around you, from just a step outside your tent.


•  1 Nt Central Hotel Panama Hotel (B)
•  6 Nts Canopy Camp, Double Room (B/L/D)
•  2 shared daily bird watching tours
•  Ground shared transfers on A/C motor coaches
•  All taxes and service charges


Package does not include:

•  Airport Departure Tax (US$ 40.00 per person - usually included in airfare)
•  Tourist Card (US$ 5.00 for certain nationalities)
•  Optional tours
•  Meals not mentioned
•  Beverages
•  All extras in the hotels
•  Voluntary tips & gratuities

What to bring

In Panama City the people are very well dressed and take pride in their appearance. In the rural areas and because of the relatively large fluctuations in temperature it is always a good idea to have long sleeves and even a jacket for the cooler spots. Long sleeves are also comfortable at night as they will protect you from mosquitoes. You will want light clothing such as cotton tee shirts as well, as the temperatures can be quite hot. Be sure to bring a good pair of shoes for any excursions as open-toed shoes are not recommended. Also, be sure to bring a pair of beach sandals and light shoes for when it is much hotter out. And bring an umbrella regardless of whether it is the wet or dry season.

Basic Packing List:Sun screen,Light Jacket & Raincoat,Mosquito repellent,Long sleeved shirts & T-shirts,Medications,Sandals & Bathing Suit,Toiletry items,Comfortable walking shoes,Binoculars,Shorts & Long Pants,Camera,Hat or Cap

Day 01: Saturday - Arrival in Panama & Orientation

Today you will be arriving in Central America’s southern most country!  Upon your arrival in Panama, you will be transferred to Riande Aeropuerto Hotel, just 5 minutes from Tocumen International Airport by hotel van.   While you acclimatize to the tropical heat and have a cold drink, you can watch the birds on the grounds of the hotel.  Great-tailed Grackle, Clay-colored Thrush, Variable Seedeater, Tropical Kingbird, Blue-gray Tanager, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird and more await your visit in the gardens.  Today all meals, except dinner, will be on your own.  Our tour will start the following day, bright and early.

Day 02: Sunday - Nusagandi & Bayano Region & Arrival at Canopy Camp Darien

AM: Nusagandi

This morning we will meet in the hotel restaurant for an early breakfast, 5:30am.  Our guide will be there to help you with any questions you may have.  After breakfast, we will pack our van and depart for eastern Panama at 5:30 am.  The journey to our final destination is approximately 5 hours, but we will make stops along the way in exciting birding areas.  As we drive east along the Pan-American Highway, we will scan for roadside birds and open-field raptors including Savanna Hawk and Crested Caracara.  Our first scheduled stop will be in the Nusagandi area, off the highway into the foothills of the Caribbean Slope.  As we follow the El Llano-Carti Road north, we will cross the Continental Divide and reach the Comarca (reserve) of Guna Yala.  This is an area of pristine forest, managed by the indigenous Guna people.  Here we will explore the trails and open areas through the Nusagandi Forest Reserve in search of rarities including Sapayoa, Speckled Antshrike, Slate-throated Gnatcatcher, Sulphur-rumped, Rufous-winged and Black-and-yellow Tanagers, Yellow-eared Toucanet, the endemic Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker, Swallow-tailed Kite, Black Hawk-Eagle, Blue-fronted Parrotlet, Streak-chested Antpitta, Tawny-capped Euphonia and more.



PM: Bayano Region & Arrival at Canopy Camp Darien

After a delicious picnic, we will head back to the Pan-American Highway and continue east.  We will stop at the bridge at Lake Bayano, Panama’s second largest lake.  This reservoir supports great amounts of water birds, including a large colony of Neotropic Cormorants, as well as Anhinga, Cocoi Heron and the rare Bare-throated Tiger-Heron.  We will scan the water’s edge for Purple Gallinule, Pied Water-Tyrant, Smooth-billed Ani and Ruddy-breasted Seedeater.  A short trail leading from the water’s edge is a great place to search for Black Antshrike, Bare-crowned Antbird, Rufous-winged Antwren and Golden-collared Manakin.  Carrying on down the road, we will make a stop at the Río Mono Bridge, where the surrounding forest is home to One-colored Becard, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Blue Cotinga, Pied Puffbird, Orange-crowned Oriole, Blue Ground-Dove and more.  We will also scan the river below for Green-and-rufous Kingfisher and the elusive Fasciated Tiger-Heron.  We will carry on from here to Canopy Camp Darien, and arrive before daylight fades so we can settle into our tents and get acquainted with the setting.  After a delicious dinner of fresh American and Panamanian fare, we will gather to have a meeting about the days to come, and settle into our tents for the night. 


Day 03: Monday - Canopy Camp Trails

AM: Canopy Camp Trails

We will meet before sunrise for a hot drink and to enjoy the sounds of the birds.  Black-mandibled and Keel-billed Toucans call from the towering Cuipo trees; Red-lored and Mealy Parrots fly overhead; White-bellied Antbird, Bright-rumped Attila, White-headed Wren and Golden-headed Manakin sing from the surrounding forests; while Pale-bellied Hermit and Sapphire-throated Hummingbird visit the flowers around camp.  Rufous-tailed Jacamar and Barred Puffbird are also seen frequently around the campsite.  We will be served a hearty breakfast at 7:30 am.  After breakfast we will work our way into the forest on “Nando’s Trail,” in hopes of finding Double-banded Graytail, Gray-cheeked Nunlet, Yellow-breasted Flycatcher, Royal Flycatcher and Russet-winged Schiffornis.  Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Plumbeous Hawk and Zone-tailed Hawk are also possible.  LUNCH AT CANOPY CAMP.


PM: Canopy Camp Trails

After lunch we can enjoy the hummingbirds and other species around the camp, dip our feet in the rocky stream or have a siesta.  At 3:00 pm we will meet again to continue birding around the camp property.  The forests are full of great birds that have not been fully explored, and could include Tiny Hawk, Black Antshrike, Great Antshrike, Olive-backed Quail-Dove, Striped Cuckoo, Cinnamon Becard and Black-tailed Trogon.  We will also be looking for groups of Red-throated Caracara, King Vulture and Short-tailed Hawk overhead in the clearings.  We will return to camp in time to freshen up for dinner.  After dinner we will gather to look for owls, including Striped, Crested, Barn, Black-and-white and Mottled Owls, as well as Common and Great Potoos and likely some nocturnal mammals.  We will end the day with our checklist, tallying our sightings for our first full day at the Canopy Camp! 


Day 04: Tuesday - El Salto Road & Las Lagunas Road

AM: El Salto Road (15 minutes from Canopy Camp)

We will meet for an early breakfast, then head to El Salto Road for the morning.  El Salto Road extends 6 km north from the Pan-American Highway and ends at the mighty Río Chucunaque.  This open road and surrounding dry forest is a great place to search for regional specialties including Red-throated Caracara, Red-rumped, Golden-green and Spot-breasted Woodpeckers, Double-banded Graytail, Blue-and-gold and Chestnut-fronted Macaws, Black and Crested Oropendolas, White-eared Conebill, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Black-breasted Puffbird, Orange-crowned Oriole and the majestic King Vulture.  A trail at the end of the road will take us into low-canopy forest, where we hope to find Bare-crowned Antbird, Pale-bellied Hermit, Olivaceous Piculet, Streak-headed Woodcreeper and Forest Elaenia.



PM: Las Lagunas Road (15 minutes from Canopy Camp)

This afternoon we will bird along the road to Las Lagunas.  This road extends 12 km south off the Pan-American Highway through open farmland, dry scrub and roadside habitat.  The road eventually crosses a small stream and ends at small ponds.  Along the roadsides, we hope to find Red-breasted Blackbird, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Yellow-breasted Flycatcher, White-headed Wren, Smooth-billed and Greater Ani, Muscovy Duck, Southern Lapwing, Blue-headed Parrot, Striped Cuckoo, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Bananaquit, Giant and Shiny Cowbird, Crested Oropendola, Laughing Falcon and Aplomado Falcon.  If we’re lucky, we may get a glimpse of a Chestnut-fronted Macaw or a shy Little Cuckoo, both having been seen along this road.


Day 05: Wednesday - Tierra Nueva Foundation & Yaviza

AM: Tierra Nueva Foundation (15 minutes from Canopy Camp)

We will meet for an early breakfast at the Canopy Camp.  This morning we will visit the property of the Tierra Nueva Foundation.  Fundación Tierra Nueva is a non-profit organization whose main mission is “working towards the sustainable development of people of the Darién Rainforest”.  The property is the home of a technical school focusing on applications in agriculture.  We will explore the trails of this large property, in hopes of finding Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Yellow-breasted and Black-billed Flycatchers, Red-rumped Woodpecker, Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon, Cinnamon and One-colored Becards, White-eared Conebill, White-headed Wren and the magnificent Great Curassow.  We will also search for the eastern race of the Chestnut-backed Antbird, which shows white spots on the wings.  After our full morning of birding we will enjoy a scrumptious picnic lunch near the school.



PM: Yaviza (1 hour from Canopy Camp)

After lunch, we will continue to head southeast and will bird the forests and swampy meadows along the road to Yaviza, to the end of the Pan-American Highway!  Black-billed Flycatcher, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, Jet Antbird, Black Oropendola, Pied Water-Tyrant, Bicolored Hawk, Black-collared Hawk, Pearl Kite, White-tailed Kite, Limpkin, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, Yellow-hooded Blackbird, Black-capped Donacobius and Red-breasted Blackbird can all be found as we head farther into the Darién today.  Upon our arrival in Yaviza, we will get a feel for the day-to-day life of the Darién.  This bustling town, located at the end of the Pan-American Highway, has a population of just over 1,000 and is the main cultural center of the Darién as well as the gateway for many of the riverside communities of this province.  The Río Chucunaque passes through the town and Yaviza is a major port access to this river.  After a cold drink in Yaviza we will make our way back to camp.


Day 06: Thursday - El Real

Full Day: El Real (2 hours from Canopy Camp)

We will meet for an early breakfast on this exciting day of birding.  Today, we will be traveling to El Real de Santa María, a community deep into the Darién with a population of around 700, near the border of Darién National Park.  It is accessible only by boat from Yaviza along the Río Chucunaque and Río Tuira, Panama’s longest river.  The Chucunaque and Tuira rivers are bordered by extensive lowland forest that holds high biological diversity.  The river edges offer shrub and grass habitat, as well as mudflats and beaches depending on the water level.  During the 45-minute boat journey to El Real, there are plenty of birds to see along the riverside:  Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Cocoi, Tricolored, Striated and Capped Herons, White Ibis, Green Ibis, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Pied Water-Tyrant, Bronzed Cowbird, Yellow-hooded Blackbird and both Crested and Black Oropendola.  White-tailed Kite, Black-collared Hawk and Common Black-Hawk can be found cruising overhead.  El Real is a small town surrounded by second-growth forest that attracts a wide variety of species including endemics that cannot be found in other areas of Darién.  It has suburban and rural roads, an airstrip, grassland, open fields and riverside habitat to explore.  During our time in El Real, we hope to find Spectacled Parrotlet, Plain-breasted Ground-Dove, Rufous-tailed and Dusky-backed Jacamars, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Great Antshrike, Long-tailed Tyrant, Large-billed Seed-Finch, Black-capped Donacobius, Crowned Woodnymph, Orange-bellied Euphonia and perhaps a tiny Gray-breasted Crake lurking along the riversides around the town.  We will enjoy a picnic lunch in town and take cover during the heat of the day.  After our birding day in El Real is complete, we will make our way back to camp, keeping our eyes on the riversides and roadsides for exciting sightings as sunset approaches. 



Day 07: Friday - Serranía Filo del Tallo Hydrological Reserve

AM: Serranía Filo del Tallo Hydrological Reserve (30 minutes from Canopy Camp)

We will wake up at dawn to the sounds of the morning bird activity.  After an early breakfast, we will head into the Serranía Filo del Tallo Reserve.  Serranía Filo del Tallo is a designated Hydrological Reserve that protects a small mountain range west of the Pan-American Highway.  The Canopy Camp borders this reserve, which protects an area of 300 km2 (74,000 acres). We will access the reserve via a trail located at the northern end of the range.  The trail crosses a small creek and passes through part of the reserve, then climbs upward to a plateau where there is a teak plantation.  Here we hope to have great looks at Olivaceous Piculet, Golden-headed Manakin, Royal Flycatcher, Dull-mantled Antbird, Buff-rumped Warbler, Great Curassow, White-bellied Antbird, Red-throated Caracara and Black-tailed Trogon, to name a few.




This afternoon is up to us-we can enjoy birding around the Canopy Camp grounds one last time or, depending on what we’re still hoping to see, revisit sites to pick up any species we are missing from our list.


Day 08: Saturday - San Francisco Nature Reserve & Return to Panama City

AM:  San Francisco Nature Reserve (2 hours from Canopy Camp)

We will wake before dawn to pack and have an early breakfast, say our goodbyes to the Canopy Camp, and start our journey back to Panama City.  We will stop at San Francisco Nature Reserve, a private forest reserve owned and managed by the St. Francis Foundation, covering 1,300 acres in eastern Panama Province, and we will spend the morning birding at this fantastic site.  The San Francisco Reserve was established in 2001 by Father Pablo Kasuboski, an American priest from Wisconsin who came to Panama in 1988. The reserve serves as a wildlife refuge and protects the headwaters of the main rivers of the area.  The foundation created by Padre Pablo, as Father Kasuboski is called, also works on infrastructure development in the area by building and maintaining aqueducts, roads, schools and churches.  In fact, the St. Francis Foundation built and maintains the largest private rural aqueduct in all of Panama and Central America.  The reserve has a variety of habitats including primary, secondary and riparian forests, forest edge, fields, farmland, ponds and wetlands.  During our morning here, we will explore the different habitats along the short road that enters the reserve.  We will hope to find Great Jacamar, Russet-winged Schiffornis, Royal Flycatcher, White-fronted Nunbird, Brownish Twistwing, Yellow-green Tyrannulet, Central American Pygmy-Owl, Blue and Plain-breasted Ground-Doves, Sulphur-rumped Tanager, Spot-crowned Barbet, King Vulture, Sirystes, and if we’re very lucky, a Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle soaring overhead or a Wing-banded Antbird along the trails!



PM: Return to Panama City

After our lunch, we can stop at Río Torti, Lake Bayano and other birding locations enroute to Panama City to pick up any birds we may have missed — Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Savanna Hawk, Barred Puffbird, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, Bare-crowned Antbird, Orange-crowned Oriole and Cinereous Becard are all possibilities to find on our return trip.  We will end our tour at the Riande Aeropuerto Hotel.  Here our group will split; some will continue to the Canopy Tower and start a new birding adventure, and others will stay in the Hotel and depart for home the next day.

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