I recently shared that Karen and I went on a birding trip to Panama from March 14 through March 23, 2023. I am about half-way through processing the 5,367 pictures I took during the trip (not counting the pics I already deleted from my camera while there). Being somewhat anal I feel compelled to finish working through all the pictures before sharing them with you but I thought you might enjoy learning a little bit about where we stayed while in Panama.
The trip itself was organized by Red Hill Birding and Adam Sell was our Red Hill guide during the trip. Adam was joined by our local guide Carlos each day we were in Panama. Together they made a great team – fun, smart, knowledgeable, and got us on the birds every time. Carlos was an employee of the Canopy Family, the organization that provided all our food and lodging. The Canopy Family owns four establishments: Canopy Lodge, Canopy Tower, Canopy Camp, and Canopy B&B. We stayed in the Canopy Lodge for four nights and the Canopy Tower for four nights. Below is a map showing pins locating each of our eBird checklist locations – the cluster of pins in the center were all around the Canopy Lodge near the town of Coclé and the pins northwest of Panama City were in and around the Canopy Tower.
Upon arrival in Panama we spent the first night in a hotel close to the airport for a night then the next morning we loaded up the van and went to Canopy Lodge. It is situated at an elevation of 2,000 feet – most of our birding was done at higher elevations but it was a great base camp and we saw lots of great birds there, too. Here are a few pics of the Canopy Lodge. The first one shows the little red footbridge over the stream that takes you to the Lodge and the covered dining area.
Here’s a view of inside the awning where we had breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. Note the director’s chairs in the background. We would often sit there to view the birds coming into the feeding station below the wall.
Here’s a pic of that feeding station; it was always stocked with bananas, mangos, and rice. You might notice a small red squirrel on the feeder in the pic.
After birding at Canopy Lodge we drove down the mountain toward Panama City were we entered Soberania National Park, the location of Canopy Tower. This was the first establishment the Canopy Family created and it took a lot of convincing to allow the Canopy Tower to be created in the middle of a cherished National Park. The facility itself was an abandoned radar tower built by Americans in 1965. It was abandoned many years later and became a target for vandals and graffiti. Then in 1996 Raul Arias saw the potential of the tower as an Eco-Lodge and he spent the next two years convincing officials to allow him to refurbish the tower. Today it is a mecca for bird-watchers and everyone else who enjoy nature – and great views.
Our room was on the far right side, behind the bottom window. Note the person standing up on the observation deck. From there you can see all the way to Panama City, the Pacific Ocean, the Panama Canal, and a variety of birds, sloths, monkeys, lemurs. Just below the observation deck was the dining area, with great views of animals just beneath the canopy. What a wonderful place!
I’ll continue to work through my bird (sloth, lemur, monkey) pictures and put together a couple of travelogues, each one centered around the sights of the Canopy Lodge and Canopy Tower. Until those are completed I’ll throw in some pics and thoughts about the trip.
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