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PANAMA

Panama: Birding at the Crossroads of the Americas

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Panama

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Birding

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Road Scholar
Program #11588RJ
10 Days | 9 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.
Equipment Requirements
Scopes are recommended but not required. We recommend wide angle binoculars, something within the range of 7x35, 8x40 or even 10x50 with good light gathering characteristics. Although light and comfortable, pocket binoculars don't work as well in low light conditions.

Itinerary for Feb 5 — Feb 14, 2014

Expand all
Type: Hotel

Description: Located at the heart of the El Dorado shopping district, bordering the Metropolitan Natural Park, and only 2 minutes from Los Pueblos Albrook Shopping Mall.

Contact info:
El Dorado Shopping District
on Brostella Avenue
Panama City, 00000 Panama
phone: +5073003700
web: www.panamacanalcountry.com/eldorado/

Room amenities: A/C, minibar, hair dryer, safe, TV, newspaper, coffee maker, and Internet.

Facility amenities: Pool, golf, exercise room, business center, and laundry facilities.

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

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Subject to availability.
Additional hotel nights are subject to availability. Please contact the program coordinator, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for information on hotel availability and rates.

Check in time: 2:00 PM


Day One: Wednesday, February 05 - 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: Hotel El Dorado Country Inn & Suites

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: Thursday, February 06 - Gamboa - Shore Birding at Panama City Mudf...
Gamboa -
Shore Birding at Panama City Mudflats/Casco Viejo/Nighttime Safari.


Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Orientation to the program.

Field trip to Old Panama City for mudflats for shore birding with site lecture.

The mudflats are located in Panama Viejo and provide excellent shorebirding. 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.

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 the Ancon site a few miles west 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: Lunch at local restaurant.

Afternoon: Lecture at the Panama Audubon Society on the Birds of Panama.

Depart for Gamboa.
Arrive at the hotel and check-in, followed by birding activities on hotel grounds.

Before dinner, enjoy a brief talk on the history of the hotel in the context of the building of the Panama Canal.

Dinner: 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: Friday, February 07 - Gamboa - Soberania National Park & Pipelin...
Gamboa -
Soberania National Park & Pipeline Road/Birding on the Chagres River.


Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the Soberania National Park for morning birding on Pipeline Road.

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: Blue-crowned and Golden-collared Manakins, White-bellied and Bicolored Antbirds, Pheasant Cuckoos, Double-toothed Kites, and more!

Return to the hotel.

Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.

Afternoon: Time at leisure.

Birding on hotel trails.

Sundowner birding on boat ride along the banks of the Chagres River with a presentation on the significance of the river in the construction of the Canal.

Return to the hotel.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Gamboa Rainforest Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Modern hotel located on Gatun Lake, just 10 minutes from the city of Colón.

Contact info:
Espinar Colón
Former Las Americas Military School
Lago Gatun, 000000 Panama
phone: +507-4-701100
web: www.meliapanamacanal.solmelia.com

Room amenities: Air conditioning, cable TV, hair dryer, safe, direct dial phone, and mini refrigerator.

Facility amenities: Restaurants, bar, pool, meeting rooms, spa services, laundry services, gym, and tennis courts.

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

Elevator: Yes


Day Four: Saturday, February 08 - Colon - Canopy Tower/Harpy Eagle Exhibit a...
Colon -
Canopy Tower/Harpy Eagle Exhibit at Summit Gardens/Birding at Metropolitan National Park.


Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Early morning birding in hotel environs.

Transfer to the Canopy Tower for morning birding.

The Canopy Tower is probably on the top of every birder's list of places to visit while in Panama. The building was once used as a radar tower by the Americans stationed in Panama; it has since been converted into a hotel and nature observation tower. Sitting on the top of Semaphore Hill in Soberania National Park, the tower affords multi-level views of the surrounding semideciduous tall forest. From the rooftop visitors are able to look over the canopy and see as far as the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. Species you might see during this activity include: Keel-billed Toucans, Green Shrike-Vireos, Short-tailed Hawks, Blue Cotingas, Green and Red-legged Honeycreepers, and King Vultures.

Lunch: 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.

Continue your field trip with a visit to Metropolitan National Park, to bird in the Americas' only metropolitan rainforest.

The approximately 232 hectares of endangered 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. Visitors can explore the park via a system of trails and enjoy scenic views of the forest and Panama City. Look for Lance-tailed Manakins, Rufous-and-white Wrens, Boat-billed Flycatchers, Green Honeycreepers, Rosy-thrush Tanagers, Blue-headed Parrots, Orange-billed Sparrows, White-necked Puffbirds, and more.

Transfer to Colon and check-in at the hotel.

Dinner: Dinner at hotel.

Lodging: Melia Panama Canal

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Modern hotel located on Gatun Lake, just 10 minutes from the city of Colón.

Contact info:
Espinar Colón
Former Las Americas Military School
Lago Gatun, 000000 Panama
phone: +507-4-701100
web: www.meliapanamacanal.solmelia.com

Room amenities: Air conditioning, cable TV, hair dryer, safe, direct dial phone, and mini refrigerator.

Facility amenities: Restaurants, bar, pool, meeting rooms, spa services, laundry services, gym, and tennis courts.

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

Elevator: Yes


Day Five: Sunday, February 09 - Colon - Achiote Road/San Lorenzo National ...
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, semidecidious 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: Lunch at local restaurant.

Afternoon: After lunch, take an excursion to the Gatun Locks with a site lecture on the expansion of the Canal.

Return to the hotel.
Time at leisure to enjoy hotel amenities or explore nearby attractions.

Optional birding around the hotel.

Dinner: Dinner at hotel.

Lodging: Melia Panama Canal

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: This small Panamanian property is located near the town of David (approx. 5,775 ft above sea level), on the slopes of the Baru Volcano. Well-tended gardens are an invitation to enjoy the cool highland air and soak up the peace and quiet of this location.

Contact info:
No info.
Volcan, 00000 Panama
phone: +5077715555
web: www.dosrios.com.pa

Room amenities: Private bathroom and hair dryer.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, pizza restaurant, bar, gift shop, spa services, and conference room.

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


Day Six: Monday, February 10 - Volcán - Miraflores Locks/Flight to David.
Note: Passengers are allowed a checked piece weighing up to 30 lb (measuring up to 45 linear inches/length & height & width) and a small carryon weighing no more than 10 lb for the flight to David. Participants with excess luggage will be responsible for additional charges. Extra luggage is conditional and subject to space on the aircraft. Excess luggage will be stored in Panama City at the last hotel.

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Morning excursion to the Miraflores Locks and site lecture.

The Miraflores Locks offers one of the most accessible views of the Panama Canal. At the locks, visitors are able to witness how the canal functions; see the operation of the locks and the mules that help guide the ships as they transit the path between the seas.

Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant.

Afternoon: Transfer to Albrook Airport for late afternoon flight to David (45 min) in the Chiriqui province.

Baggage weight limit is 30 lbs per person in addition to a small carryon item weighing no more than 10 lb. Please pack accordingly.

Arrive at David and transfer to the hotel.
Time at leisure.

Dinner: Dinner at hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Dos Rios

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: This small Panamanian property is located near the town of David (approx. 5,775 ft above sea level), on the slopes of the Baru Volcano. Well-tended gardens are an invitation to enjoy the cool highland air and soak up the peace and quiet of this location.

Contact info:
No info.
Volcan, 00000 Panama
phone: +5077715555
web: www.dosrios.com.pa

Room amenities: Private bathroom and hair dryer.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, pizza restaurant, bar, gift shop, spa services, and conference room.

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


Day Seven: Tuesday, February 11 - Volcán - Birding at Finca Hartman.
Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Field trip to Finca Hartman.

This destination offers great birding in a transitional area between the highlands and the lower foothills of the Talamanca mountain range. Finca Hartmann's farm land is used primarily for growing shade-grown coffee under towering remnant rainforest trees, with some land still covered by highland cloud forest. Several dirt roads provide access to areas ranging in elevation from 400-6000 ft, thus providing a good altitudinal gradient for birding. Over 280 species have been recorded in the area, including the near- endemic Turquoise Cotinga.

Lunch: Lunch at Finca Hartman.

Afternoon: Continue birding at Finca Hartman.

Return to the hotel.
Time at leisure.

Dinner: Dinner at hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Dos Rios

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: This small Panamanian property is located near the town of David (approx. 5,775 ft above sea level), on the slopes of the Baru Volcano. Well-tended gardens are an invitation to enjoy the cool highland air and soak up the peace and quiet of this location.

Contact info:
No info.
Volcan, 00000 Panama
phone: +5077715555
web: www.dosrios.com.pa

Room amenities: Private bathroom and hair dryer.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, pizza restaurant, bar, gift shop, spa services, and conference room.

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


Day Eight: Wednesday, February 12 - Volcán - Baru National Park/Cielito Sur Ga...
Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Birding field trip to Baru National Park.

Located in the Chiriqui Province, Baru National Park encompasses the highest peaks in Panama and, despite its relatively small size (13,226 hectares), provides some outstanding birding opportunities. Where the mountains meet the clouds, the park provides excellent habitats for the Resplendent Quetzal, Volcano Junco, Baru Burbit, numerous species of toucans and more.

Return to the hotel.

Lunch: Lunch at hotel.

Afternoon: Time at leisure.

Excursion to Cielito Sur Gardens to view hummingbirds.

The Cielito Sur gardens belong to a charming inn located between the villages of Volcán and Cerro Punta, on the western slopes of Volcan Baru. Hummingbird feeders around the inn attract a multitude of species including White-throated Mountain Gems, Scintillant Hummingbirds, Violet Sabrewings, Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds, Fiery-throated Hummingbirds, and Green Hermits. A winding trail through Cielito Sur's hillside forest provides good opportunities to view highland species.

Return to the hotel.

Dinner: Dinner at hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Dos Rios

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 after: 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 out time: 12:00 PM

Day Nine: Thursday, February 13 - Panama City - Birding at Finca Dracula/Flig...
Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: After breakfast we will head to Finca Dracula, situated on the edge of La Amistad International Park, for some morning birding and an opportunity to view their impressive collection of orchids. Target species at this site include the Torrent Tyrannulet, Magnificent Hummingbird,Yellow-winged Vireo, Ruddy-capped Nightingale Thrush, Slaty Flowerpiercer, White-naped Brush-Finch, Dark Pewee,Common Bush-Tanager, Flame-colored Tanager, American Dipper, Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch, Slaty Finch, Ruddy Treerunner, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, and Volcano Hummingbird.

Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant.

Afternoon: Transfer to the David airport to catch a late afternoon flight back to Panama City.

Arrive in Panama City and transfer to the hotel.

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

Lodging: Holiday Inn City of Knowledge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Ten: Friday, February 14 - 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.

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: Breakfast at 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 ...
9 nights of accommodations
25 meals: 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 8 dinners
2 Expert-led lectures
16 Field trips
2 Flights during the program

Ratings

4.6
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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