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PANAMA

Birding Panama and the Great Raptor Migration

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Road Scholar
Program #20617RJ
11 Days | 10 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 Oct 22 — Nov 1, 2012

Expand all
Type: Hotel

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

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

Room amenities: Room service, 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 and bar.

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.
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: Monday, October 22 - Arrivals to Panama City, Panama.
Arrive To: Arrivals to Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, Panama.

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

Transfer to the hotel and check-in.
Please note that hotel check-in usually begins at 3 pm. This is an international travel day and does not include any program activities or scheduled meals.

Lodging: Holiday Inn City of Knowledge

Type: Hotel

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

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

Room amenities: Room service, 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 and bar.

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.
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 Two: Tuesday, October 23 - Panama City - Birding at Ancon Hill and Panama ...
Panama City - Birding at Ancon Hill and Panama Bay Mudflats (RAMSAR Site).

Breakfast: At hotel restaurant.


Morning: Orientation meeting.

Transfer to Ancon Hill for morning birding and a site lecture.

Ancon Hill is a site used by the Panama Audubon Society during their annual Hawk Count project. Be on alert for any kettles flying over! During this activity, we will also have the opportunity to enjoy wonderful views of the Panama Canal, the Old City and downtown.


Lunch: At local restaurant.


Afternoon: After lunch, enjoy a lecture about the annual hawk migration provided by the Panama Audubon Society.

Transfer to the Panama Bay Mudflats, Panama Viejo ruins, and Costa del Este area for shorebird viewing. The Panama Bay Mudflats are a RAMSAR wetland, a globally recognized Important Bird Area, and a site of hemispheric importance by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN).

The Bay of Panama, located east of Panama City on the Pacific coast, provides an important wintering habitat to hundreds of thousands of shorebirds. This section of coastline encompasses intertidal mudflats, estuaries, mangrove forests, swamp forests, and freshwater pools. Birders can hope to spot Western Sandpipers, Semipalmated and Black-bellied Plovers, Willets, Whimbrels, and Short-billed Dowitchers.


Dinner: At local restaurant.

Lodging: Holiday Inn City of Knowledge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

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

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

Room amenities: Room service, 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 and bar.

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.
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 Three: Wednesday, October 24 - Panama City - Birding at Ancon Hill/Panama Audu...
Panama City - Birding at Ancon Hill/Panama Audubon Annual Hawk Count.

Breakfast: At the hotel.


Morning: Enjoy a full day field trip to Ancon Hill for a chance to witness the raptor migration and assist the Panama Audubon Society with their annual hawk count.


Lunch: At a local restaurant.


Afternoon: Continue with birding activities at Ancon Hill.

Return to the hotel.


Dinner: At the hotel.

Lodging: Holiday Inn City of Knowledge

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: Thursday, October 25 - Gamboa - Bird Watching at Metropolitan Nature Pa...
Gamboa - Bird Watching at Metropolitan Nature Park/Miraflores Locks, Panama Canal.

Breakfast: At the hotel.


Morning: Depart to the Metropolitan Nature Park for birding.

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.


Lunch: At local restaurant.


Afternoon: Excursion to the Miraflores Locks and site lecture. If we are lucky, we will get to see a ship transiting 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 Gamboa.
Arrive at hotel and check-in.

Enjoy some late afternoon birding in the hotel's extensive grounds.


Dinner: At the hotel.

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: Friday, October 26 - Gamboa - Pipeline Road/Harpy Eagle Educational ...
Gamboa - Pipeline Road/Harpy Eagle Educational Center at Summit Gardens.

Breakfast: At the hotel.


Morning: Our day begins with a field trip to the Rainforest Discovery Center, located at the world-famous Pipeline Road.

The Panama Rainforest Discovery Center on Pipeline Road has a 100 ft high observation tower from where visitors can get a unique view of the forest. A spiral staircase, with a total of 174 steps, wends its way above the forest canopy to the top deck. Intermediate observation platforms, spaced every 25 ft along the tower, provide both a place to rest and a chance to study the forest and its wildlife from different levels. The tower is an especially great location to view bird species that reside in the upper stratum of the rainforest. Observe Mealy and Red-lored Parrots, Green-shrike Vireo, Keel-billed and Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, Golden-hooded, White-shouldered , Plain-colored Tanagers,White-vented and Scaled Pigeons, Blue Cotingas, Masked Tityras, Green and Red-legged Honeycreepers, King Vultures and more migrating raptors!

Continue birding along Pipeline Road. Some species you might see include: Crested Eagles, Golden-collared Manakins, White-bellied and Blue-throated Antbirds, Pheasant Cuckoos, and Hook-billed Kites.


Lunch: At local restaurant.


Afternoon: Afternoon field trip to the Summit Botanical Gardens and the Harpy Eagle Educational Center.

The Summit Botanical Gardens is home to one of the great botanical collections in Central America. Founded in 1923, the Gardens contain over 15,000 plant species and today, house a zoo that features many animals native to Central America. The Harpy Eagle display includes an education center devoted to Panama’s national bird, and one of the most powerful birds of prey on earth.

Return to the hotel. Late afternoon birding on the hotel grounds.


Dinner: At the hotel.

Lodging: Gamboa Rainforest Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Charming hotel located less than 2 hours away from Panama City, in picturesque El Valle. The hotel has all ground level accommodations and rooms have views of the hotel's attractive gardens.

Contact info:
Espavé Street
El Valle de Antón, Coclé Province, Panama
phone: +507-9836175
web: www.hotelrinconvallero.com

Room amenities: Air conditioning, hot water, tiled floors, phone, TV, DVD player, mini bar, and safety deposit box.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, conference room, game room, pools, Jacuzzi, sauna, spa services, Internet access, gardens, petting zoo, and playground.

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


Day Six: Saturday, October 27 - El Valle - Birding in Campana National Park and ...
Breakfast: Boxed breakfast.


Morning: Early morning birding at Campana National Park, Panama's first protected area.

The cloud forest habitat at Campana harbors some middle elevation species such as: Black-and-Yellow Tanagers, Plain Antvireos, Rufous-collared Sparrows, White-ruffed Manakins, White-throated Thrush, Bay-headed Tanagers and many others.

Transfer to Punta Chame, on Panama's Pacific coast for birding activities.

This small peninsula is located approximately 30 minutes from Coronado and contains mangrove patches and ponds that are frequented by migratory shorebirds and seabirds.


Lunch: At a local restaurant.


Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Enjoy some time at leisure to rest, update your check list or enjoy hotel amenities.


Dinner: At the hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Rincon Vallero

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Charming hotel located less than 2 hours away from Panama City, in picturesque El Valle. The hotel has all ground level accommodations and rooms have views of the hotel's attractive gardens.

Contact info:
Espavé Street
El Valle de Antón, Coclé Province, Panama
phone: +507-9836175
web: www.hotelrinconvallero.com

Room amenities: Air conditioning, hot water, tiled floors, phone, TV, DVD player, mini bar, and safety deposit box.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, conference room, game room, pools, Jacuzzi, sauna, spa services, Internet access, gardens, petting zoo, and playground.

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


Day Seven: Sunday, October 28 - El Valle - Birding at El Valle/Cultural Interac...
El Valle - Birding at El Valle/Cultural Interaction at Local Market/Birding on Cara Iguana Trail.

Breakfast: Boxed breakfast.


Morning: Early morning birding at Cerro Gaital Natural Monument.

The lush 827-acre nature reserve protects the mountainous terrain surrounding El Valle de Antón and is home to more than 300 bird species. Some of the best birding is done along the fringes of the reserve where vegetation is less dense. Look for Tawny-crested Tanagers, Chestnut-capped Brush Finches, Orange-billed Nightingale Thrushes, Green Hermits, Spotted Woodcreepers, and Barred Hawks.

Visit local hot springs, evidence of the valley's volcanic origins.


Lunch: At a local restaurant.


Afternoon: After lunch, enjoy a visit to the small town of El Valle and its local market. Take a stroll around the market stands and rub shoulders with locals as they go about buying and selling fresh produce and handicrafts such as molas, hammocks, and ceramics.

Spend the rest of the afternoon birding along the Cara Iguana Trail. The tropical dry forest is a middle altitude habitat and is home to Rosy-Thrush Tanagers, Long-billed Starthroats, Little Tinamous, and Gray-headed Chachalaca.


Dinner: At the hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Rincon Vallero

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Contact info:
Vía Circunvalación
Chitré, Panama
phone: +507-9969758
web: www.losguayacanes.com/

Room amenities: Cable TV, hair dryer, desk, closet, balcony, coffee maker, laundry, and mini fridge.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, laundry services, meeting rooms, Internet access, pool, tennis courts, casino, and gardens.

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


Day Eight: Monday, October 29 - Chitré - Cocle Grasslands/Basilica Menor Santia...
Chitré - Cocle Grasslands/Basilica Menor Santiago Apostol/Shorebirds at Aguadulce Salt Pans.

Breakfast: At the hotel.


Morning: Transfer along the Pan-American Highway to the Cocle Grasslands. The grasslands encompass areas featured in the Audubon's directory of Important Bird Areas and has a habitat similar to the Tocumen Marshes.

The rice fields, marshes and pasture lands at Cocle are good sites to search for dry forest and open country specialties such as: Savanna Hawks, Aplomado Falcons, Veraguan Mangos, Pearl Kites, Scaly-breasted Hummingbirds, Crested Bobwhites, and Crested Caracaras.

Brief stop at Penónomé, Panama's geographic center.


Lunch: At local restaurant.


Afternoon: After lunch, visit the town of Natá de los Caballeros and the historic Basilica Menor Santiago Apostol.

Natá de los Caballeros was founded in 1522 as a Spanish outpost. The colonial settlement was established in an attempt to hold in check the indigenous presence in the region. Not only is Natá one of the country's oldest inhabited towns, it is also home to one of Panama's oldest churches, the Basílica Menor Santiago Apóstol. The attractive whitewashed basilica has a tall bell tower and a wide facade adorned with multiple columns and three large arched doors.

Visit the Aguadulce Salt Pans (a.k.a. Las Salinas) in search of migratory shorebirds. The evaporation ponds used for salt production have the second largest concentration of migratory shorebirds in Panama.

Late afternoon arrival at the hotel.


Dinner: At the hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Los Guayacanes

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Contact info:
Vía Circunvalación
Chitré, Panama
phone: +507-9969758
web: www.losguayacanes.com/

Room amenities: Cable TV, hair dryer, desk, closet, balcony, coffee maker, laundry, and mini fridge.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, laundry services, meeting rooms, Internet access, pool, tennis courts, casino, and gardens.

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


Day Nine: Tuesday, October 30 - Chitré - Birding at Las Macanas Marsh and Ceneg...
Chitré - Birding at Las Macanas Marsh and Cenegón del Mangle/Sarigua National Park.

Breakfast: At the hotel.


Morning: Early morning bird watching at Las Macanas Marsh. Scan for migratory ducks and aquatic species from the 60 ft observation tower overlooking the wetlands. We hope to spot Wattled Jacanas, Purple Gallinules, Glossy Ibises, Roseate Spoonbills, Ferruginous Pygmy Owls, Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures and Brown–throated Parakeets.

Continue birding at El Cenegón del Mangle. Search the mangroves for American-Pygmys, Green and Amazon Kingfishers, Wood Storks, Mangrove Cuckoos, Common and Plain-breasted Ground Doves and Pale-eyed Pygmy Tyrants.


Lunch: At the hotel.


Afternoon: After lunch, enjoy some time at leisure.

Afternoon field trip to the desert-like Sarigua National Park, located on the Parita Gulf, in search of migratory species.

The area's lack of vegetation is the result of many years of human misuse. Coastal forests in this region were cut down to create grazing lands, exposing the acidic soil to erosion from wind and rain. In addition to protecting the area's fragile ecosystem, Sarigua National Park safeguards the archaeological remains of Panama's oldest pre-Columbian village.


Dinner: At the hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Los Guayacanes

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

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

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

Room amenities: Room service, 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 and bar.

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.
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 Ten: Wednesday, October 31 - Return to Panama City - Birding at Agallito Bea...
Return to Panama City - Birding at Agallito Beach Mudflats/Orientation to Chitr?own and Villa de los Santos.

Breakfast: At the hotel.


Morning: Morning bird watching at Chitré's Agallito Beach Mudflats. The mudflats and mangroves attract Black-bellied Plovers, American Oystercatchers, Western Sandpipers and many other coastal species. Thousands of shorebirds are known to frequent the beach every year from late October to early March.

After visiting the mudflats, we will explore the town of Chitré including the Herrera Museum. The small museum displays an interesting collection of archaeological artifacts from various regions of Panama.

From Chitré, drive approximately 2.5 miles south to Villa de los Santos for a visit to the Museo de La Nacionalidad and the Iglesia de San Antanacio.

La Villa residents are especially proud of their town’s role in Panama’s fight for independence. In November of 1821, dissatisfied residents wrote a letter to Simón Bolívar, expressing their wish to join the revolt against Spanish rule. Less than three weeks later the country declared its independence from Spain. The house where the famous letter was signed was turned into a museum, the Museo de La Nacionalidad. The museum details the town’s early history, leading up to its historic cry for independence.


Lunch: At the hotel.


Afternoon: Transfer to Panama City.

Arrive at the hotel and check-in.


Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Lodging: Holiday Inn City of Knowledge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Eleven: Thursday, November 01 - Departures/Fly to the U.S.
Depart From: Transfer to Panama City's Tocumen International Airport to catch return flight 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: At the hotel restaurant (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.
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Our Value Promise To You

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Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
10 nights of accommodations
28 meals: 10 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 dinners
1 Expert-led lectures
22 Field trips

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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