Panama: Christmas at El Valle's Canopy Lodge Pre-trip: Dec 22—27, 2007

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Price: $1,545
Departs: Panama City
Tour Limit: 14
Download Itinerary: PDF (128.4 KB)

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Tour Leaders


Tony Nunnery

Tony Nunnery grew up in Mississippi, then moved to Texas, and graduated from Stephen F. Aust...

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White Hawk

White Hawk— Photo: Barry Zimmer

WATCH LIVE! Panama Fruit Feeder Cam at Canopy Lodge/Cornell Lab

When Raúl Arias de Para opened the Canopy Tower in 1999, it marked the culmination of years of dedication to an idea of building a world-class ecolodge in his native Panama. His story is well documented and the results have been spectacular. The Canopy Tower has garnered international attention for its remarkable design, close proximity to an astonishing array of wildlife, and attention to high quality service. The story does not end here, however. To use Raúl’s words, “The day after I opened the Canopy Tower on January 2, 1999, I started thinking of building another lodge. After five years of searching for a site, I finally found it.”

The newly opened and fabulous Canopy Lodge is a completion of that dream. Situated approximately 60 miles west of Panama City in the picturesque El Valle de Antón, this lodge has it all. Nestled in the crater of an extinct volcano and surrounded by jagged ridges and hills, the lodge offers great birding and luxury accommodations. The three forested peaks of Cerro Gaital Natural Monument loom over the valley and impart a deep sense of tranquility. The lodge grounds are teeming with birds. Feeders visible from the balcony of every room play host to a parade of colorful and exciting species such as Rufous Motmot; Red-crowned Woodpecker; Flame-rumped, Crimson-backed, Tawny-crested, Blue-gray, and Palm tanagers; Buff-throated Saltator; and Orange-billed and Black-striped sparrows, to name a few. The surrounding gardens have been specifically planted to attract hummingbirds and, in addition to such regulars as Stripe-throated and Green hermits, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Garden Emerald, and Snowy-bellied and Rufous-tailed hummingbirds, several uncommon and localized species such as Rufous-crested Coquette, Violet-headed Hummingbird, and Green Thorntail are also possible. Other common birds around the lodge include Black-chested Jay, White Hawk, White-thighed Swallow, and Bay Wren. Forests adjacent to the lodge may yield Tody Motmot, Black-faced Antthrush, and Dull-mantled Antbird.

VIDEO: Panama with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, Part II, Panama Canopy Lodge, by Dick Walton

Many additional spectacular species might be seen in a variety of nearby habitats. The long list includes the likes of Barred Hawk; the incomparable Snowcap; Blue-throated Toucanet; Orange-bellied Trogon; Black-crowned Antpitta; Emerald, Silver-throated, and Bay-headed tanagers; and Rosy Thrush-Tanager. This part of Panama is visually and sensually different from that of the Canal Zone. A visit to the Canopy Lodge, sister to the famous Canopy Tower, offers a lovely contrast to that region and a nice variety of bird species not found in that area.

Finally, the rare and elusive Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo has been spotted on many of VENT’s tours to the Canopy Lodge; we think the El Valle area is, arguably, one of the best places in the world to see this special bird.

View our El Valle’s Canopy Lodge photo galleries:

El Valle’s Canopy Lodge 2006