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Central Lowlands Tour - 5 Days

Central Lowlands Tour
2600

6-day birding tour to the region of the country that supports the highest biodiversity.  Lodging will be in the town of Gamboa, which sits adjacent to the Panama Canal and is nestled within the boundaries of Soberania National Park. Birding trips to local birding hotspots will be supplemented with a day trip to an extinct volcano to experience the avifauna at higher elevations. This is the perfect introduction to Panama and its birds.

Day 1
Day 1 - Arrive in Panama City and head to Gamboa

A small town nestled in the middle of the lowland rainforest. Arrive early enough to check-in to the lodge and bird around town before dinner. We will find some of the "easier" species and forest edge species as we walk through the sleepy town and along the Panama Canal. Dinner and to bed early at our very comfortable rainforest lodge.

Day 2
Day 2 - Wake early and walk to a Canopy Tower

Arriving by daybreak. During the predawn walk we will look and listen for owls and nightjars. We will experience the dawn chorus from the canopy where we will see the most charismatic of rainforest bird species...toucans, parrots, Purple-throated Fruitcrows and tanagers....expect about 60 species. After about 2-3 leisurely hours on the canopy tower, we will descend and watch for hummingbirds at the Rainforest Discovery Center. There are about 10 species of hummers we will see without any effort on our part. From here, we will walk the trails at the Discover Center and make our way slowly to the beginning of Pipeline Road. Transportation will arrive by 11am to take those of you interested back to the lodge for a siesta and some relaxation. The rest of us will continue on Pipeline Road for the rest of the day. We will plan to be exiting the rainforest and arriving at the Ammo Dump Ponds between 4-5pm and transportation will be available to bring those of you at the lodge back out to meet the group at the ponds for some easy pre-dinner birding. We will spend the waning daylight birding the extremely productive pond and surrounding marshes. Dinner and to bed early.

Day 3
Day 3 - Depart by bus early for a 15-minute drive to the entrance of Pipeline Road

This morning we will experience the dawn chorus from the understory and will spend the entire day birding as far as we can on Pipeline Road. With the highest number of bird species recorded in a 24-hr period anywhere on earth, we could honestly just bird Pipeline everyday in Panama and not see everything we could. It is truly a mecca of neotropical birding. Once you have birded Pipeline you will compare everywhere you bird to this gem of avian diversity. Again, transportation will be arranged at 11am for those wishing to return to the lodge for a break. The rest of us will bird on foot until late afternoon at which point we will once again reunite as a group at the Ammo Dump Ponds and witness the multitude of marsh species come in to roost for the evening. We will reminisce about our day over a lovely dinner and we will retire to bed early and dream about one of the best birding days we have ever experienced.

Day 4
Day 4 - An early start once again as we depart by bus and drive for 2-hours to El Valle

El Valle is a town that sits on the continental divide and has a great diversity of birds from the West and East. A number of species can be found at El Valle that we simply won't see in the lowlands at Pipeline Road. We will start the day by walking slowly along gravel roads in the Northwest of the town. These roads serve as a border between the rainforest and agricultural zones. Birding here is excellent in the early morning and our chances of seeing El Valle specialties are very high. From here we will travel a short distance to Cerro Gaital, an amazing hiking trail that follows the rim of an extinct volcano and provides great looks at both oceans from the top. Although the hike is strenuous and rocky, it starts with a gradual grassy incline for 500m before heading into the rainforest. Here you will find two benches, so those of you incapable or simply not interested in hiking the rest of the way can sit and relax while the birds come to you. The rest of us will spend the next few hours hiking the mountain cloud forest trail looking for more specialties...which we are bound to see. After Cerro Gaital, we will head to the famed El Valle market so you can do some quick shopping for Panamanian goods and then we will go to a restaurant for lunch. After lunch we will head to the Cara Iguana trail, another gravel road cutting into the side of a mountain that is spectacular for birds. The road is fairly easy to walk and we will do so very slowly. Hopefully everyone will join in on this late-afternoon walk. A quick stop at a fantastic coffee shop on the way out of El Valle and it's back to the lodge we go for dinner and sleep.

Day 5
Day 5 - Head to Old Gamboa Road, a nice and easy

Today we will depart just before sunrise and head to Old Gamboa Road, a nice and easy, paved road in drier scrub forest just 15-minutes from Gamboa. We will spend 2-hours walking the road looking for dry habitat specialists not found anywhere else on the trip thus far. After, we will spend some time at a nearby pond looking for boat-billed and capped herons. From here we will head to Plantation trail. This trail is very similar to Pipeline except it parallels a river that is always flowing. And, during the dry season, it will be a great spot to see species tied to wetter forest environments. We will spend the rest of the day on this trail. Transportation has been arranged for 11am once again for those wishing to return to the lodge early for a siesta. We will reconvene at the lodge for our last Panamanian dinner, before compiling the trip list.We will celebrate our amazing trip before heading to bed in preparation for our flight home the following morning.

What is included?

  • All airport transfers
  • Transportation within the country
  • Lodging
  • Breakfast and dinners
  • Bagged lunches each day and guiding services

What is not included?

  • Airfare,
  • Drinks
  • Gratuities
Wildlife Reviews
5 stars
- based on 5  reviews
  1. Antbird Tours the best!
    Dick & Marge Bradley01 Feb 2018
    5
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    We had never been birding outside the U.S. before but after hearing Dr. Clarkson speak so enthusiastically about birding in Panama I really wanted to go. We were nervous about the whole idea but Dr. Clarkson made all the arrangements so we had nothing to worry about. Charles is an amazing guide with a phenomenal knowledge of the birds, wildlife and culture of Panama. The group size was small allowing for individual attention and Dr. Clarkson was able to make sure we all saw every bird he found. We had a great, fun trip and in fact are going again. We highly recommend Antbird Tours
  2. What a Brain for Birds
    Betty Finn01 Jul 2018
    5
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    Charles knows more about birds than anyone I have ever met. Our trip to Panama was amazing. We went in April and it was hot, fortunately we were out of the sun during the hottest part of the day. The bird's were plentiful, but Charles could identify the birds by their calls, many of which we did not see. The accommodations were nice. We had AC and good home cooked meals. The company was delightful.
  3. Highly Recommended!
    Bryan Stokes12 Mar 2018
    5
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    I have traveled to Panama with Antbird Tours three times for the Central Lowlands tour. Yes, it is that good! Dr. Charles Clarkson is an amazing tour guide and a fantastic ornithologist. He expertly manages every detail while traveling and the group size is always small, allowing each client to receive a lot of personal attention. I cannot even begin to describe the amount of birding you can accomplish with Charles as your guide. He has a wealth of knowledge and shares it in a way that keeps things fun and highly informative. While on a trip with Antbird Tours, Charles will literally bird 14 hours a day for those that want to see it all, yet he has always has plenty of "outs" lined up for those that prefer to bird part of the day and relax the other part of the day. The energy, vibe, and quality of this tour keeps me coming back again and again. Two thumbs up!
  4. Central Lowlands tour - highly recommended!
    Katie Krafft21 Feb 2019
    5
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    My partner and I went on the Central Lowlands tour, and it exceeded all of our expectations. Within only a couple of hours of arriving in Gamboa, we began to take the amazing variety of birds for granted, and this is all due to the fact that Dr. Charles Clarkson is not simply taking you birdwatching - he is immersing you in the rhythm of the ecosystem of central Panama. For beginning birders, he is incredibly helpful: finding and pointing out birds quickly and clearly, identifying them by ear and by eye. He is able to explain their behaviors, their habitats, and their interaction with the whole world of flora and fauna. The tour was completely suitable for all kinds of people - those who want to be active, and those who are happier taking things at a slower pace. The lodging in Gamboa was a perfect, comfortable homebase for all the excursions, and the hosts (Ivan and Gladys) are so warm and welcoming. Every piece of the tour was carefully planned out, and that means that participants just get to revel in the beauty of Panama and its wildlife.
  5. Book Antbirds for Your Neotropical Birding Trip
    Wayne Munns01 Apr 2016
    5
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    Antbird Tours has developed several amazing "standard" trips in Panama(https://www.antbirdtours.com/). From my experience, Antbird will customize yours to fit your interests. Chief Guide and founder Charles Clarkson, with his extensive expertise in all things Neotropical, is a fantastic leader and birder, freely sharing his wealth knowledge about birds and their ecology. He has the unique gift of paying attention to the needs of everyone in the group, and makes individual adjustments on the fly if needed. I participated in the Antbird Tour's inaugural trip to the Central Lowlands of Panama (Pipeline Road and environs), and that experience convinced me to join the Panama Western Highlands tour in 2019. The "Energizer Bunny of Birding" gives you a wonderful trip experience, whether you are a die-hard global "lister" like me, or are more casual in your birding interests. Want a company who will give your personalized attention, a lot of fun, and almost guaranteed success at finding the birds you want to see? Then book with Antbird Tours. I did, and will continue to do so.

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5 Days

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USD2,600 / per person
This tour is operated by: Antbird Tours

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Operator Review Summary

5 Based on 13 reviews
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