Which field guide do you recommend for Panama?
The Birds of Panama by George R. Angehr and Robert Dean.
Which hotels does the program use for the first 10 days of Central Panama and the Chiriqui Highlands?
Some of the Hotels or Lodges we use are:
- Radisson Summit Hotel (Old Canal Zone)
- Portal Avicar (Eastern Panama)
- Hotel Dos Rios (Western Highlands - Volcan)
- Boquete Tree-Trek or Hotel Palo Alto (Western Highlands - Boquete)
- Anton Valley Hotel (El Valle)
All of them are comfortable lodges and hotels with private rooms, bathrooms and hot water; Lodges are located next or within the Rainforest.
Due to our flight schedule we would like to arrive on different dates of the tour
Perfect, we will pick you at the airport too, we can make reservations at the hotels for the additional nights.
What are the accommodations like in Darien?
For the Darien Extension, Accommodations could vary from Indigenous Communities to basic hotels to Basic Stations; this will depend on many factors such as: Harpy Eagle locations, permits to visit, tides to navigate on rivers, timing etc. Sometimes we stay at indigenous Communities in this case the nights will be on private, fully Screened tents with small mattresses, accommodated in a traditional hut, raised on stilts above the ground. There are flushing toilets and showers that are shared by visitors. There are screened windows at all the places we stay in Darien. If you are signing for the Darien extension please bring a small towel.
How many persons participate in the tours?
4-10 participants, the schedule programs we advertise on the website always go, we guarantee the dates. Custom tours for private parties and families are welcome too.
How is the transportation?
The land transportation is done in perfect registered buses with A/C. The sky transportation to the Chiriquí Highlands is done using a F70 or F100 Fokker (twin-engine jet airliner airplane). Water transportation is done in some Darién rivers, using safe motor boats.
How would we make a reservation for the birding program? What are the payment terms?
The registration form and payment terms for the program will be sent once we start the planning process.
When is the best time of the year to watch birds in Panama?
The dry season (Mid December –Mid April) is a good time because it doesn’t rain much and you can add migrant birds to the list; however, the green season offers good morning birding because usually it rains more in the afternoon; anyway local weather conditions change in every region within different times of the year.
Do you offer special rates for groups?
Special rates are offered depending on the group size and season. International Tour Leaders have a special rate too.
Who are the guides of the company?
The guides are Jose Carlos Garcia or Euclides "Kilo" Campos, with the assistance of other local site guides. The guides are bilingual and they would be with the group during the whole program. All guides carry a professional spotting scope and the bird calls. Guides also have vast knowledge of plants, frogs, reptiles and culture.
Is Darien safe?
Concerning Darien safety, you can do your own research, but I can tell you that unless you have the wild idea of exploring the Panama-Colombian border, you will be out of trouble. A special Panamanian Army Police was created to protect the zone, so it is normal to come across them in every single little town. You check with them and go on.
Where can I get the bird calls of the Panama Birds?
You can download calls of Panama Birds from Xeno Canto http://www.xeno-canto.org, bird songs from Tropical America.
Are there any concerns related to chiggers and/or mosquitoes (i.e.
Malaria in Darien) in the areas that will be visited?
My best advice to avoid insect bites is simply using mosquitoes repellent; DEET is your best friend. Wear long pants and long-sleeved clothing especially around dawn and dusk when the anopheles mosquitoes are most active.
Do you offer target birding tours or trips to find endemics?
Target Birding is one of our favorites; we suggest you to gather 3 or 4 buddies and contact us for a custom tour.
Will there be a system for recharging batteries at hotels or lodges?
There are electric plugs at all the hotels except for some places in Darien. Electrical plugs are the same as in the U.S., as is Panama's voltage, 110 AC.
Chiriquí Flights: a maximum of 25 lbs of checked luggage and 10 lbs of carry-on per person is allowed. Arrangements can be made with us to store luggage that will not be needed while away from the city. Try to travel light. Luggage can be storage at the Radisson Summit Golf hotel, they have a safe storage room that clients use.
"More than three million birds of prey were counted during the transcontinental count of raptors held in Panama, Autumn 2004. The major event was named Great Ocean to Ocean Raptor Migration Count." (Hawk Mountain Sanctuary)