Beautiful Birds and Wildlife in Panama
Panama has more bird species than the entire USA!
Overview Birds And Wildlife of Panama
Panama is where North America and South America meet and is one of the few places where you can see both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Panama is most famous for the Panama Canal, but the biodiversity is even more remarkable. There are 987 species of birds (7 Endemics) packed into a very compact and accessible location. Panama will provide a whole flock of new birds to satisfy your bird photography itch. On my first scouting trip, I managed to photograph over 100 bird species in 7 days. In addition to my help with your photography, we will also be traveling with a professional bird guide. Our guide will help us locate and identify the birds as well as doing his best to keep us in the best possible locations.
Panama Bird Photography Highlights
- 10 Nights and 11 Days
- Includes Local Transportation and Lodging
- Includes Breakfast and Some Meals
- Includes In Country Airfare
- Classroom and In Field Instruction
- Attendees: Minimum of 4 and Maximum of 6
December 9, 2018
Arrive at Tocumen International Airport Panama City, Panama (PTY)
December 19, 2018
Depart from Tocumen International Airport Panama City, Panama (PTY).
December 9, 2018 – Day 1
Arrive at in Panama City and make your way to the Radisson Summit Hotel. Plan to arrive in time for a 5 PM meeting at the Radisson. We will get together for a short meet and greet and to go over the details for the workshop. After the meeting, we will have a group dinner (included).
December 10, 2018 – Day 2 – Old Gamboa Road
Old Gamboa Road runs through an open area with excellent opportunities for photography. We will see and hopefully photograph a wide variety of birds, like Motmots, Tanagers, Kingfishers, Flycatchers, and Herons. Plan on walking about 2 miles (3 KM) on the paved flat ground.
December 11, 2018 – Day 2 – Pipeline Road
The most famous bird photography destinations in Pipeline will give us plenty of photography opportunities. This destination is in rainforest habitat, and we could find great birds such as Golden-hooded Tanager, Green and Red-legged Honey Creepers, White-whiskered Puffbird, and Passerini’s Tanager. Here we will also have our first chance to photograph hummingbirds at feeders. They were buzzing around like flies when I was last there, and it was very productive. The trails are rocky and occasionally steep. We will be walking a bit further today but will have ample time for a rest and water.
December 12, 2018 – Day 3 – Cerro Azul
I’ve planned a big day for hummingbirds! Cerro Azul is a wonderful place for birding, and in particular for hummingbirds, as more than 20 species of hummingbirds can be seen here, including Green Hermit, Brown Violetear, Long-billed Starthroat and Violet-capped Hummingbird. Other possible birds include Yellow-eared Toucanet, Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Rufous-winged Tanager and Tawny-capped Euphonia.
December 13, 2018 – Day 4 – El Valle
Today we will take to the waterways for our photography. We’ll explore the Chagras River looking for American Pygmy Kingfishers and other shorebirds. We will make our way out to Gatun Lake where we should be able to photograph Snail Kites. After our boat trip, we will make our way to El Valle de Anton via our air condition vehicles. It’s about a 2-hour drive from Panama City; we’ll get settled and then point our cameras at birds!
December 14, 2018 – Day 5 – El Valle
Another day of bird photography in El Valle. Some of the species that are here include Barred Hawk, Tropical Screech-Owl, White-collared Swift, Rufous-breasted Hermit, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Orange-bellied Trogon, Tody Motmot, Spot-crowned Barbet, Spotted Woodcreeper and Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch, Swallow-tailed Kite to name a few.
December 15, 2018 – Day 6 – Boquete
In the morning we will make one more pass through El Valle before making our way to Panama City and our flight (included) to David. We arrive late in the afternoon, so we’ll relax at the lodge and spend some time with a group editing and image critique session.
December 16, 2018 – Day 7 – Finca Lerida
Finca Lerida is a coffee farm in the Chiriqui highlands of western Panama. The Finca owns a large tract of highland cloud forest extending from an elevation of 5000 ft up to 10,000 ft adjacent to the coffee plantation. The family that runs the farm has bird feeders set up for our photographic pleasure!
December 17, 2018 – Day 8 – Paraiso de Boqueron
Another dreary day of getting up close to birds at feeders! In Boqueron we may find Brown Violetear, White-necked Jacobin, Green Hermit, Long-billed Starthroat, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Charming Hummingbird, Snowy-bellied, Blue-throated Golden-tail, etc.
On the grounds surrounding the feeders, possibilities include Fiery-billed Aracari, Scaled Pigeon, Rufous-capped Warbler, Cherrie’s Tanager (at fruit feeder), and much more!
December 18, 2018 – Day 9 – Los Quetzales Trail and Park National La Amistad
We will have an opportunity to see the areas rare and specialty birds like the Resplendent Quetzal, Three-wattled Bellbird, Black-faced Solitaire, Volcano Hummingbird, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher and Prong-billed Barbet.
December 19, 2018 – Day 10 – Panama City and Beyond
In the afternoon we will fly back to Panama City. Depending on your schedule we will drop you at a hotel or the airport for your return home.
Included in the Tour
- Lodging throughout the tour
- Transportation throughout the tour
- Airfare Within Panama
- All Breakfasts and some meals as indicated
- Individual and Group Photography Instruction
- Image Reviews and Digital Processing Techniques
- Professional Bird Guide(s)
Not Included in the Tour
- International Airfare
- Hotel on day 1 and day 10 if needed
- Transportation to Hotel on Day 0
- Items of a personal nature
I’ve photographed over a 1000 species of birds all over the wolrd during the past 15 yrs. Over that time I have learned a lot of things abour birds and bird photography, all of which will be shared with you on this workshop. My job is to make you a better photographer than when you arrived and to help you fill your portfolio with some cool new birds.
While in the field we will discuss camera settings, holding your camera correctly and what settings to consider using to maximize the number of shots that you believe to be “keepers.” We will also discuss bird habits to watch for to increase your success.
The tour size is limited to six photographers so you can count on minimal interruption from too many tripods and you will get a ton of one on one attention and education.
- You will want your “best” bird glass of at least 400mm. There will be some locations where using a tripod will be nearly impossible, so you need to have at least one lens that you can handhold.
- You will need a sturdy tripod and preferably a gimbal head.
- You will need a camera capable of high ISO shooting and or a flash.
- There will be some opportunities for some landscapes (gasp) especially if you join the 4×4 excursion up the volcano. If shooting scenics are interesting to you, pack your wide angle too.
- A remote shutter release can help at the bird feeders and scenics.
- Binoculars are not required we have a guide to find the birds, but I did enjoy having mine for the times when the birds were just too far for photos.
- Be prepared for rain for you and your gear.
It’s almost impossible to list everything that you’ll need, so just get in touch, and we can talk about what you have and what you might need.
Click here to see a few images from my trips to Panama to whet your whistle for what awaits you on this fantastic opportunity to photograph the Neotropical Birds and Wildlife of Panama.
US Citizens Traveling To Panama*
Your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from Panama.
Blank Passport Pages
One page required.
Yellow fever for passengers entering from countries with endemic yellow fever.
Arrival and Departure Airport
Tocumen International Airport (PTY) in Panama City is the destination airport.
After you clear customs and get your baggage you will need to make your way to the Radisson Summit Hotel. It is about 45 minutes to the hotel and the hotel’s shuttle is $20. As an alternative you could take an Uber for $35. I have used Uber several times in Panama and the service was always very good. I don’t speak Spanish and paying the extra $1 for Uber X English was a good investment.
Depending on when you are flying home we will either drop at PTY or an overnight hotel. I always stay the Crowne Plaza Panama Airport. It’s 5 minutes from the airport and the shuttle is free.
Lodging & Transportation
The transportation from the Radisson Hotel to our photography locations is included. So get yourself to Panama and the Radisson and we’ll take it from there.
I always use trip insurance for my travels. It’s so much easier and with so many more benefits when you compare it with your insurance. I’ve found the costs to be reasonable given the benefits. I use Travel Guard when I travel and even though; I’ve not had a claim they were helpful and easy to deal with on the phone.
Complete the “Reserve Your Space” form on the right of this page. On a mobile device it may be at the end, but it’s a big green box, you can’t miss it.
I will get an email which will provide me with your request including the payment details. I will confirm space availability and then send you an invoice from your preferred payment method for the deposit. Once I receive the deposit your space is confirmed.
When I receive payment I will follow up with another confirmation email and receipt.
About 30 days before departure, you will get a welcome kit with the nuts and bolts of what to expect. Of course, feel free to email me or call me and we can talk about it as much as you like!
There is a 2.5% convenience fee to pay your balance by credit cards. There are no fees with any of the listed payment methods for your deposit.
This 11-day tour is $4995 per person single occupancy. If you are willing and or able to share the accommodations there would be a $750 credit per traveller.
The workshop will take a maximum of 6 clients and a strictly enforced 4 client minimum. If the minimum number of clients is not realized by September 1, 2018, the workshop will be cancelled and all deposits will be refunded in full.
A non-refundable $500 deposit is required to reserve space in the Neotropical Birds and Wildlife of Panama.The balance will be due October 10, 2018.