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PANAMA

Panama: Birding at the Crossroads of the Americas

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Birding

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Road Scholar
Program #11588RJ
7 Days | 6 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.

Itinerary for Dec 4 — Dec 10, 2014

Expand all
Type: Hotel

Description: The Holiday Inn - City of Knowledge is located just 15 minutes from the center of Panama City. The property is surrounded by tropical vegetation and overlooks the Panama Canal.

Contact info:
Ave. Omar Torrijo Herrera
Clayton
Panama City, Panama
phone: +507-3174000
web: www.holidayinn.com

Room amenities: Rooms have private bath, TV with cable, wireless high-speed internet, radio/alarm clock, iron & ironing board, coffee maker, hair dryer, mini bar, security box, and air conditioning.

Facility amenities: Swimming pool, fitness center, restaurant, bar, business center, Internet access, and laundry services.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Subject to availability.
Type of accommodations and rates are subject to hotel availability. Please contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for assistance in booking additional nights.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Thursday, December 04 - Arrive to Panama City, Panama.
Arrive To: Arrive at Panama City's Tocumen International Airport.

Proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim and Customs before exiting the secured area of the airport. The Road Scholar representative will be waiting with a Road Scholar sign (only applies to Road Scholar group flights).

Transfer to the hotel.

Please note that this is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. Hotel check-in begins at 3 p.m.

Lodging: Holiday Inn City of Knowledge

Type: Resort

Description: Gamboa Rainforest Resort is strategically located on the banks of the Chagres River and the Panama Canal, near the Soberania National Park. The lush surroundings and quiet neighborhood are a nice refuge from the hustle and bustle of Panama City, just 30 minutes away.

Contact info:
Corregimiento de Cristobal Colon, Panama 5
Gamboa, Panama
phone: +507-2068888
web: www.gamboaresort.com

Room amenities: Large double-occupancy guest rooms have private bathrooms, tropical furnishings, internet access, and patio with hammock.

Facility amenities: Pools, business center, laundry services, restaurants, bar, spa services, tour desk, room service, and gift shop.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Two: Friday, December 05 - Shore Birding at Panama City Mudflats/Exploring H...
Shore Birding at Panama City Mudflats/Exploring Historic Casco Viejo/Nighttime Safari.

Note: Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Orientation to the program.

Get to know your group leader and fellow Road Scholar participants during a welcome and introduction session at the hotel. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Lecture by the Panama Audubon Society on the Birds of Panama.

Walking excursion to Casco Viejo with site lecture.

In 1671, the English privateer Henry Morgan attacked the original portion of Panama City. Morgan's band of pirates proved too much for the Spaniards and its residents fled the city while Morgan plundered its riches. Two years later, in an effort to avoid a repeat of the debacle brought by Morgan, the Spaniards moved the city to Cerro Ancon few miles south of the ruins created by Morgan and his men. To defend the city from future attacks, the Spaniards surrounded the new city by a stone wall, hence the name: Casco Viejo (Old Compound). Today, Casco Viejo is an eclectic neighborhood, home to museums, embassies, theaters, a handicraft market, and more than a few colorful locals.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Field trip to the Panama City Mudflats for shore birding with site lecture.

The mudflats are located in Panama Viejo and provide excellent shore birding. In fact, the Panama City mudflats are one of the most important wetlands for shorebirds in the Western Hemisphere (a RAMSAR site) and a crucial stopover site for migrating species. Birding is best within two hours of high tide when birds such as Western Sandpipers, Willets, Whimbrels, and numerous plovers gather around the coastal rocks and sandbars in search of food.

Depart for Gamboa.
Arrive at the hotel and check-in, followed by a brief talk on the history of the hotel in the context of the building of the Panama Canal.

Enjoy some free time to rest and recharge your batteries or do some independent birding on the hotel grounds.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Explore the hotel's lush grounds in open-top vehicles in search of nocturnal animals.

Lodging: Gamboa Rainforest Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: Gamboa Rainforest Resort is strategically located on the banks of the Chagres River and the Panama Canal, near the Soberania National Park. The lush surroundings and quiet neighborhood are a nice refuge from the hustle and bustle of Panama City, just 30 minutes away.

Contact info:
Corregimiento de Cristobal Colon, Panama 5
Gamboa, Panama
phone: +507-2068888
web: www.gamboaresort.com

Room amenities: Large double-occupancy guest rooms have private bathrooms, tropical furnishings, internet access, and patio with hammock.

Facility amenities: Pools, business center, laundry services, restaurants, bar, spa services, tour desk, room service, and gift shop.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Three: Saturday, December 06 - Soberania National Park & Pipeline Road/ Harpy Ea...
Soberania National Park & Pipeline Road/ Harpy Eagle Exhibit at Summit Gardens.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the Soberania National Park for morning birding at the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center on Pipeline Road. The center has a 100 ft observation tower overlooking the forest—a great vantage point for viewing upper stratum species.

Although Soberania National Park was not created until 1980, it stands as one of Panama's natural jewels and is one of the most accessible tropical rainforests. The park is home to hundreds of bird species including Tawny-crested Tanagers, Russet Antshrikes, Crimson-bellied Woodpeckers, and Yellow-eared Toucanets.

Pipeline Road is a 17 km route where the Panama Audubon Society set a world record Christmas Bird Count in 1985 when participants identified 385 species in a 24-hour period. Among the species that might be added to your list are: Crested Eagles, Black-throated and Golden-collared Manakins, White-bellied and Blue-throated Antbirds, Pheasant Cuckoos, Hook-billed Kites, and more!

Return to the hotel.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Field trip to Summit Gardens for the Harpy Eagle exhibit and site lecture.

Founded in 1923, the Gardens contain over 15,000 plant species and house a zoo that features many animals native to Central America. Birders will want to find the Harpy Eagle display, which includes an education center devoted to Panama's national bird.

Return to the hotel and enjoy some late afternoon birding on the hotel grounds.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Gamboa Rainforest Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: Gamboa Rainforest Resort is strategically located on the banks of the Chagres River and the Panama Canal, near the Soberania National Park. The lush surroundings and quiet neighborhood are a nice refuge from the hustle and bustle of Panama City, just 30 minutes away.

Contact info:
Corregimiento de Cristobal Colon, Panama 5
Gamboa, Panama
phone: +507-2068888
web: www.gamboaresort.com

Room amenities: Large double-occupancy guest rooms have private bathrooms, tropical furnishings, internet access, and patio with hammock.

Facility amenities: Pools, business center, laundry services, restaurants, bar, spa services, tour desk, room service, and gift shop.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Four: Sunday, December 07 - Plantation Road/Boat Ride Along the Chagres River...
Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Early morning birding along Plantation Road.

During the early days of the Canal Zone, this road led to local cocoa and coffee plantations. Now the dirt road is part of the famed Soberania National Park and provides access through the park’s tropical forest. The road runs parallel to a small creek which is known to attract the occasional Sunbittern and Golden-crowned Spadebill. Other residents we hope to spot at this site include Blue-crowned Manakins, Northern Schiffornis, White-breasted Wood Wrens, and Scaly-throated Leaftossers.

Transfer back to the hotel.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Time at leisure.

Sundowner birding on a boat ride along the banks of the Chagres River. Learn about the significance of this river in the construction of the Canal while looking for aquatic species such as Great Anis, Cocoi Herons, Amazon Kingfisers, Wattled Jacanas, Masked Ducks, and Anhingas.

Return to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Gamboa Rainforest Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: Gamboa Rainforest Resort is strategically located on the banks of the Chagres River and the Panama Canal, near the Soberania National Park. The lush surroundings and quiet neighborhood are a nice refuge from the hustle and bustle of Panama City, just 30 minutes away.

Contact info:
Corregimiento de Cristobal Colon, Panama 5
Gamboa, Panama
phone: +507-2068888
web: www.gamboaresort.com

Room amenities: Large double-occupancy guest rooms have private bathrooms, tropical furnishings, internet access, and patio with hammock.

Facility amenities: Pools, business center, laundry services, restaurants, bar, spa services, tour desk, room service, and gift shop.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Five: Monday, December 08 - Achiote Road/San Lorenzo National Park/Panama Can...
Achiote Road/San Lorenzo National Park/Panama Canal Expansion Observation Center.

Breakfast: Boxed breakfast.

Early morning birding field trip to Achiote Road.

Another of Panama's famous birding roads, Achiote runs along the Caribbean and is sure to provide some rare opportunities. Regulars include Crested Oropendolas, Spot-crowned Barbets, Pied Puffbirds, Mealy Parrots, and Bay Wrens.

Morning: Continue your morning of birding activities at the San Lorenzo National Park. This is a good area to search for forest and woodland species.

The San Lorenzo National Park covers an area of approximately 9,653 hectares on Panama's Atlantic coast, along the western banks of the Panama Canal. Up to twelve types of forest are protected by the park, including moist forest, semi-deciduous forest, mangroves, and floodable cativo forest. As many as 81 species of mammals and 430 species of birds have been recorded in the park. The historic Fort San Lorenzo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located on the northern edge of the park.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: After lunch, take an excursion to the Panama Canal Expansion Observation Center. View some of the construction work being done for the new locks on the Caribbean side and familiarize yourself with the ambitious expansion plans for the Canal.

Return to the hotel.

Time at leisure to enjoy hotel amenities or bird on hotel grounds.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Gamboa Rainforest Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The Holiday Inn - City of Knowledge is located just 15 minutes from the center of Panama City. The property is surrounded by tropical vegetation and overlooks the Panama Canal.

Contact info:
Ave. Omar Torrijo Herrera
Clayton
Panama City, Panama
phone: +507-3174000
web: www.holidayinn.com

Room amenities: Rooms have private bath, TV with cable, wireless high-speed internet, radio/alarm clock, iron & ironing board, coffee maker, hair dryer, mini bar, security box, and air conditioning.

Facility amenities: Swimming pool, fitness center, restaurant, bar, business center, Internet access, and laundry services.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Subject to availability.
Type of accommodations and rates are subject to hotel availability. Please contact the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for assistance in booking additional nights.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Six: Tuesday, December 09 - Birding in the Metropolitan Nature Park/The Panam...
Birding in the Metropolitan Nature Park/The Panama Canal's Miraflores Locks at Work.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to Metropolitan Nature Park for birding activities.

The approximately 232 hectares of Pacific dry forest were declared a national park in 1985. Nicknamed the “lung of Panama City,” the park is part of an important biological corridor that links the eastern shore of the Panama Canal with Las Cruces Trail and the Soberania National Park. Avian species such as the Yellow-backed Oriole, Crimson-backed Tanager, Rufous-and- White Wren, White-bellied Antbird and Lance-tailed Manakin are found within the park's dry forest. In addition to safeguarding local wildlife, the corridor and nearby protected areas also help to maintain the rivers and forests that supply the Panama Canal with enough water to function.

Return to the hotel.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Excursion to the Miraflores Locks and site lecture. If we are lucky, we will get to see a ship in transit and witness the Canal mules (towing locomotives) guiding it through the locks.

The fifty-mile long Panama Canal, constructed at the narrowest point between the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans, has literally changed the course of world commerce. Three sets of mechanical locks, or flotation chambers, raise and lower ships between sea level and lake level, taking ships up to a height of 85 feet above sea level. The three locks are Gatún, Pedro Miguel and Miraflores. An elite group of pilots guide vessels through the locks, using electric locomotives known as mules.

Transfer to the hotel and check-in.

Dinner: Farewell dinner and final bird count at the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Holiday Inn City of Knowledge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Seven: Wednesday, December 10 - Depart from Panama City/Arrive to USA.
Depart From: Transfer to the Tocumen International Airport to check-in for group flights to the U.S.

This concludes the program. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar adventure! When you get home, remember to stay in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network; share memories, pictures, and comments about your recent travels.

Note: Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day.

Breakfast: At the hotel (dependent on flight times).

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
6 nights of accommodations
16 meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
12 Field trips

Ratings

4.6
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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