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Although we are now working from home, if you are due to travel shortly we will be in touch to support and guide you in either postponing or cancelling your trip, based on Foreign Office advice and your insurance arrangements.
 
When you feel ready to do so, we are here to help you plan your next holiday, knowing availability in many key destinations is already tight for next year. To help you move forward with confidence, our booking conditions have been relaxed in case you are unable to travel due to COVID-19 issues beyond your control (eg a new wave of infections; visa restrictions; mandatory quarantine; or cancellation of your international flight).
 
Thank you for your ongoing kindness & support in these difficult times. And remember that all our holidays are fully financially protected, wherever in the world you live.

Warm regards

Claire Farley, Managing Director

Bird Watching in Panama: Darien + Pipeline Road Birding

Bird Watching in Panama: Darien + Pipeline Road Birding
QPR10P
10 NIGHTS
FROM £2,495
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Bird Watching Holiday Panama Birding Pipeline Road Darien Harpy Eagle

This wonderful bird watching holiday in Panama will allow you to visit one of the top birding destinations in the world, with a bird count of over 1,000 recorded species. Enjoy birding along the Pipeline Road, in San Francisco private reserve & in Darien National Park, home of the Harpy Eagle. English-speaking birding guide, all transfers & park fees included.

Bird Watching Holiday Panama Birding Pipeline Road Darien Harpy Eagle
• 
Bird Watching Panama
• 
Panama City tour
• 
Gamboa Rainforest & Wetland
• 
Pipeline Road Birding
• 
Torti
• 
San Franciso Reserve
• 
Chucunaque Birding
• 
Darien Forest Birding
• 
Harpy Eagle Trail
• 
Rancho Frio Ranger Station
• 
Bird Watching Panama
• 
Panama City tour
• 
Gamboa Rainforest & Wetland
• 
Pipeline Road Birding
• 
Torti
• 
San Franciso Reserve
• 
Chucunaque Birding
• 
Darien Forest Birding
• 
Harpy Eagle Trail
• 
Rancho Frio Ranger Station
Day 1
You will be met at Panama City Airport and transferred to your airport hotel in this modern city, situated on the Pacific Coast at the entrance to the Panama Canal and surrounded by tropical rainforest.
 
Panama was the starting point for the Spanish expeditions that conquered the Inca Empire of Peru, and today it is a major centre for international banking and commerce.
Day 2
This morning you will be collected from your Panama City hotel by your birding guide and transferred 5-hours eastwards along the Pan American Highway to Mateti.
 
With over 1,000 recorded species, the small country of Panama is one of the top birding destinations in the world. Situated in the transition zone between Central and South America, this world class birding zone has some of the finest birding in the Neotropics - including woodcreepers, toucans, jacamars, motmots, tanagers, flycatchers, manakins, antbirds, cotingas, tinamous, honeycreepers, parrots and so much more. A huge attraction is the opportunity to spot a majestic Harpy Eagle, Panama's national bird, as well as rare mammals such as ocelots and tapirs.
 
We spend the day birding through the forested Nusagandi region of the indigenous Guna Yala province in search of the Sapayoa, endemic Stripe-cheeked woodpecker and several mid-altitude hummingbird and tanager species. We stop for lunch in Tortí, roughly half-way along the Pan-American Highway to to Darién. We spend most of our afternoon birding along the Tortí River searching for Little cuckoo, Red-billed scythebill, Red-breasted blackbird, Green ibis, Double-toothed kite, Short-tailed hawk, Little tinamou, Muscovy duck and more.
 
At the end of the day we arrive in the small town of Mateti, with our passports ready for the police check point as we enter Darien province. We then check into our hotel.
Day 3
We depart early this morning and travel to the village of Vigía, an indigenous community home to over 100 Emberá families.
 
In the forest around their village we will spend a full day searching for the Dusky-backed jacamar, Golden-green woodpecker, Agami heron, Bay wren, Buff-breasted wren, Song wren, Brown-capped tyrannulet, Mistletoe tyrannulet, King vulture and Crane hawk amonst others. For lunch we will have the choice between a packed lunch or the local Emberá food.
Day 4
Today is fully dedicated to observing the Harpy Eagle. This involves a canoe ride up the Chuchunaque River, followed by a 1.5-hour walk along a relatively flat trail through the land of a remote Emberá community to an active nesting site, with included picnic lunch.
 
Harpy Eagles are among the world’s largest and most powerful eagles, with rear talons of up to 4 inches – the same size as a grizzly bear’s claws. Their chicks are dependent on their parents for two to three years, during which time they will remain in the vicinity of the nesting site. We will spend enough time at the Harpy Eagle site to secure the best possible views of the juveniles. We can wait patiently and hope to see at least one majestic adult returning to feed its babies, which are fed every 2 to 5 days. .
 
We hope to see many other birds in the diverse and species-rich Darien jungle - including the Rufous-crested coquette, Crimson-backed tanager, Blue-grey tanager, Ferruginous pygmy-owl, Great jacamar, Chestnut-headed oropendula, Flame-rumped tanager and White-breasted crake among others.
 
The canoe ride also offers some excellent riverine forest birding, with possible sightings of the Great curassow, Red-throated caracara, House wren, Plain wren, Rufous-breasted wren, Rufous-and-white wren, the endemic Yellow-green tyrannulet, Common and Slaty-headed tody-flycatchers.
Day 5
Today enjoy birding along Salto Road, a gravel road through some excellent secondary forest next to the Chucunaque River, the longest river in Panama. After a picnic lunch we drive to Yaviza, the last stop before the end of the Pan-American Highway.
 
Target local species include the Golden-green woodpecker, Double-banded greytail, Blue-and-gold and Chestnut-fronted macaws, Black oropendola, Crested oropendola, Blue cotinga, White-eared conebill, Black-breasted puffbird, Orange-crowned oriole, Rufous-winged antwren, White-headed wren and the majestic King vulture.
 
We also search for the Savanna hawk, Grey-lined hawk, Purple-crowned fairy, Black-tailed and Gartered trogons, Scaly-breasted and Snowy-bellied hummingbirds, Band-rumped, Short-tailed and Lesser swallow-tailed swifts and Rufous-breasted and Pale-bellied hermits.
 
After a full day of birding, we return to our hotel for dinner.
Day 6
Today we leave Mateti and drive 5-hours back to Panama City.
 
About half way we stop for birding at the private San Francisco Reserve, one of the last remnants  of lowland rainforest found near the Pan-American Highway. This reserve has an enormous diversity of birdlife, with habitats ranging from open fields and farmlands  to ponds, primary, secondary and riparian forest.
 
Here we search for Yellow-green tyrannulet, White-fronted nunbird, Blue cotinga and Barred Puffbird. You can also hope to see South American specialties such as the Red-billed scythebill, Rufous-winged antwren, Orange-crowned oriole, White-eared conebill and Spot-breasted woodpecker. You may also see uncommon lowland humid forest species such as the Black-headed tody-flycatcher, Speckled mourner, Great jacamar, Royal flycatcher and rarities such as the Black-crowned antpitta, Wing-banded antbird, Black-faced antthrush, Black-headed antthrush and Streak-chested antpitta.
 
You can also hope to see the Scaly-breasted hummingbird, Sooty-headed tyrannulet, Unicolored becard, Western sirystes, Golden-headed manakin, Red-capped manakin, Thrush-like schiffornis, Mealy parrot, Brown-hooded parrot, Blue-headed parrot, Yellow-eared toucanet, Keel-billed toucan, Golden-hooded tanager, Sulphur-rumped tanager, Dusky-faced tanager, Rufous mourner, Rufous piha and Spot-crowned barbet.
 
Afterwards we stop for lunch at nearby Tortí, where hummingbird feeders regularly produce the Long-billed starthroat, Black-throated mango, Sapphire-throated hummingbird, Stripe-throated hermit, Green hermit, Garden emerald and more. We then continue our drive to Panama City.
Day 7
We spend this morning birding in the Metropolitan National Park.
 
Here the forests are much drier than around Gamboa and consequently they support a different range of species. The beautiful Rosy thrush-tanager is common here, as is the Red-throated ant-tanager. Other birds we may see include the Roadside hawk, Squirrel cuckoo, Lineated woodpecker and Streak-headed woodcreeper.
 
We also stop to admire the famous Panama Canal and visit the Miraflores Visitors Centre. Here you will learn about the history and operation of this engineering wonder, with an audiovisual display and four floors of exhibits about the Panama Canal that cuts through Central America, linking the Atlantic with the Pacific Ocean. From the observation deck you can enjoy 180 degree views of the southern locks and the Pacific. Depending on shipping transit schedules, you may even see a ship manoeuvre through the locks.
Day 8
Today is spent birding along Pipeline Road, one of the best places to spot tropical forest birds in all the Americas, with a species list exceeding 400.
 
During the Second World War, a petroleum pipeline and its service road were built across the Panama isthmus and this single-lane gravel road remains. Its entire 11-mile (18-km) length can easily be walked, with the narrowness of the road allowing the tree canopy to continue uninterrupted. Birds are therefore easily seen, both in the forest and directly overhead.
 
Birds you can hope to see include the Little tinamou, Pale-vented pigeon, Short-billed pigeon, Pheasant cuckoo, Streak-chested antpitta, Blue cotinga, Green shrike-vireo, Ocellated antbird, Brownish twistwing, Tiny hawk, Semiplumbeous hawk, Spot-crowned antvireo, Grey elania, Great jacamar and ocassionally the Rufous-vented ground cuckoo.
 
We also visit the old Gamboa Summit Ponds and the Rainforest Discovery Centre, where from the canopy tower you can enjoy spectacular views over the vast Soberania National Park and watch canopy bird species such as Keel-billed toucans and Red-lored parrots. You may also see some of the many small mammals, insects, butterflies and reptiles that live here including swarms of army ants, the White-faced capuchin monkey, Mantled howler monkey, White-nosed coati, Central American agouti, Perezoso tridáctilo and Brown-throated three-toed sloth.
Day 9
Today enjoy a half day private tour of Panama City.
 
We start with sightseeing in the old Colonial City, which is today a UNESCO World Heritage site. Originally founded in 1519, it was burnt down in 1671 on the orders of its governor, to prevent the city falling into the hands of the pirate Henry Morgan. It was rebuilt a few years later. Here you will see many beautiful baroque, colonial and neo classical churches and monuments. Among the best preserved are the Cathedral of Our Lady of Assumption, Casa Alarcón (a massive private residence) and the church and convent of Santo Domingo. The restored Old Quarter (Casco Viejo) is vibrant, with many outdoor dining venues, bars, handcraft markets. In the evening you can enjoy live music here.
 
Afterwards we drive along the Amador Causeway, built as a wave-breaker during the construction of the Panama Canal and now linking four small islands to the mainland. From here you have panoramic views of the modern city skyline, the old Colonial City, Panama Bay, the Bridge of the Americas, Taboga Island and ships transiting through the canal.
 
The balance of your day is at leisure.
 
Note: The ruins of the Old City are closed on Mondays.
Day 10
At leisure to explore more of Panama City independently.
 
There are many optional excursions available - such as a partial navigation through the Panama Canal, an excursion to visit the Embera Quera tribe living in Chagres National Park, a day trip to the Gamboa Rainforest or a boat ride to visit the Guna Yala tribe living on the magnificent San Blas Islands.
Day 11
Transfer to Panama City Airport for your flight home.
 
Note: International airport departure tax of $50 per person payable locally.

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