Panama's Darien Lowlands: Canopy Camp: Oct 06—14, 2018

Register NowTour Details

Price: To Be Announced.
Departs: Panama City
Tour Limit: 12
Operations Manager: Erik Lindqvist
Download Previous Itinerary (2017): PDF (161.9 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Barry Zimmer

Barry Zimmer has been birding since the age of eight. His main areas of expertise lie in Nor...

Local Leader

More Information

Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Canopy Camp Tent #3

Canopy Camp Tent #3— Photo: Alex Alba Photo

Species-rich lowland forest birding, with emphasis on 25–30 species of eastern specialties that are seldom, if ever found in the Canal Zone, along with an impressive cross section of more widespread tropical birds. African-style, deluxe, tented camp will allow us to bird the Darién lowlands in comfort.

Extraordinary Harpy Eagle viewing opportunity. Join this tour and visit an active Harpy Eagle nest!

This tour to the lowlands of eastern Panama fuses the rich diversity of tropical birds for which Panama is justly famous with the classic atmosphere of a luxurious African tented camp. We will be quartered in the brand new Canopy Camp, courtesy of Raúl Arias de Para, whose vision for sustainable ecotourism and devotion to preserving Panama’s birds and wild places introduced the birding world to the famed Canopy Tower and the Canopy Lodge in El Valle. Located in the lowlands of Darién, just a five-hour-drive (via the Pan-American highway) from Panama City, and tucked at the base of some low-lying hills whose forested slopes are part of a protected zone, this camp will provide a comfortable base for a great week of Neotropical birding. In 2016, two nests of Harpy Eagles were located in relatively nearby, accessible areas. One of the nest sites was visited by a VENT tour group this October, and participants were treated to marvelous studies of an adult bird at close range! We expect the nest to be active for months to come!

Our accommodation will be in spacious, walk-in, African-style tents, mounted on platforms, and replete with comfortable beds, fans, and private bathrooms with hot-water showers and flush toilets. Keeping with the tradition established by the other Canopy lodges, the camp will offer imaginatively prepared, tasty meals, and an abundance of cold drinks.

Gray-cheeked Nunlet

Gray-cheeked Nunlet— Photo: Kevin Zimmer

The camp clearing affords a fabulous view of the surrounding forest, and is bordered by Heliconia thickets that often buzz with the activity of Pale-bellied and Rufous-breasted hermits, and reverberate with the cascading songs of White-bellied Antbirds. Dawn brings a flurry of activity and a cacophony of avian sound, dominated by the screeching calls of commuting parrots, the yelping of Yellow-throated Toucans, and the incessant croaking of Keel-billed Toucans, but also including the raucous calls of Red-throated Caracaras, the liquid gurgling of an active colony of Chestnut-headed Oropendolas, the noisy chattering of White-headed Wrens, and the plaintive whistles of Barred Puffbirds. Stands of planted Vervain along the entrance road swarm with a variety of hummingbirds, including such possibilities as the dazzling Blue-throated Goldentail or the incomparable Rufous-crested Coquette. Our mornings and late afternoons will be spent exploring the camp trail system and a number of nearby sites, where, in addition to seeing a broad cross section of toucans, trogons, motmots, woodcreepers, antbirds, tanagers, and other tropical birds that typify the Canal Zone, we will also search for a number of special birds whose Panamanian ranges are (in most cases) largely restricted to the far eastern lowlands and foothills, among them: Capped and Cocoi herons; Spectacled Parrotlet; Gray-cheeked Nunlet; Rufous-tailed and Dusky-backed (rare) jacamars; Black-tailed Trogon; Red-rumped, Spot-breasted, and Golden-green woodpeckers; Chestnut-fronted Macaw; Red-billed Scythebill; Double-banded Graytail; Black Antshrike; Rufous-winged Antwren; Bare-crowned Antbird; Black-billed Flycatcher (rare); Sooty-headed Tyrannulet; Cattle Tyrant; One-colored Becard; Golden-headed Manakin; Black-capped Donacobius; White-eared Conebill; Orange-crowned Oriole; and Black Oropendola. In 2014, our inaugural tour turned up a spectacular male Ruby-topaz Hummingbird right in camp, for one of a mere handful of country records.

VENT is proud to have once again pioneered tours to what is certain to become one of Central America’s “must visit” birding destinations.

Single-site tour (except for first and last nights in Panama City) with no internal flights; mostly short drives, except for five-hour-drive to and from Panama City at the beginning (broken up with birding en route) and end of the trip; comfortable accommodations in luxury tented-camp (private bathrooms), with good food and cold drinks; birding on-site or at various locales within short drive of camp; most birding along gravel roads or trails of easy to moderate grade, except for the main camp trail, which includes some steeper sections. One boat trip along the Chucunaque River likely.