Starting at Panama City, this tour takes us through the hills of Nusa Gandi east of the Canal, into the province of Darién, Central America’s last true wilderness and one of the world’s main strongholds of the Harpy Eagle. We will have the unique opportunity to visit active nests of Harpy Eagle and the even rarer Crested Eagle, on the same itinerary. On our way we will find many bird species found nowhere else in Central America.
Medium (some uphill walking, muddy trails, possible wet conditions)
6 people + guide
US$ 980 (6 people)
US$ 1.468 (4 people)
6:15 am Pick up at Riande Hotel, near Panama City’s Tocumen Airport. Birding through Nusagandi / Guna Yala province in search of Sapayoa, the endemic Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker, and several mid-altitude hummingbird and tanager species.
We will stop for lunch in Tortí, roughly half-way to Darién on the Pan-American Highway. We will spend most of our afternoon birding along the Tortí River, searching for Little Cuckoo, Jet Antbird, Red-billed Scythebill, Red-breasted Blackbird.
Later we will drive back to the Pan-American towards Metetí, with our Passports ready for the police checkpoint at the entrance of the Darién province. Overnight at the new Bellagio Hotel in Metetí.
Early morning departure towards the village of Vigía, an indigenous community home to 105 Emberá families. In the forest around their village we will search for Dusky-backed Jacamar, Golden-green Woodpecker, Agami Heron, Orange-crowned Oriole, Black Antshrike, Black Oropendola, and roosting Crested and Mottled owls.
For lunch we will have the choice between a packed lunch and the local Emberá food. Drive back to Metetí in time for dinner and overnight at the Bellagio Hotel.
This day is fully dedicated to the Harpy Eagle. We will visit a remote Emberá community in whose land there is an active Harpy Eagle nest; reaching it requires a 4-hour canoe ride up the Chuchunaque river, plus a 1 ½ hour walk through mostly level forest terrain. The canoe ride offers some excellent riverine forest birding, with possible Dusky-backed Jacamar, Black Oropendola, Great Curassow and Red-throated Caracara, among many other species.
We will spend enough time at the Harpy Eagle nesting site to secure the best possible views of the adult birds as they come to the nest platform to feed and tend for their chick.
We will leave in time to be back at the Bellagio hotel for dinner and overnight.
We will depart Metetí early in the morning and drive along Salto Road, a gravel road through some excellent secondary forest next to the Chucunaque river, searching for local specialties like Double-banded Graytail, White-eared Conebill, Rufous-winged Antwren, White-headed Wren, and Blue Cotinga.
After lunch at Metetí, we will drive to Yaviza, the last stop before the end of the Pan-American Highway, searching for Black oropendola, Orange- Crowned Oriole, Bicolored Hawk, Bicolored Wren and Spectacled Parrotlet, among other species.
We will return to Metetí for dinner and overnight at the Bellagio Hotel.
We leave our hotel fully-packed and start our drive back to Panama City. Along the way we will stop at the San Francisco reserve, where we will search for Yellow-Green Tyrannulet, White Fronted Nunbird, Blue Cotinga, Black-and-White Hawk-Eagle, Black Hawk- Eagle, King Vulture, Barred Puffbird. San Francisco is one of the few places in Central America where the Critically Endangered Brown-headed Spider Monkey can still be seen.
We will have lunch at nearby Tortí, where hummingbird feeders regularly produce Long-billed Starthroat, Black-breasted Mango and Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, among other species.