To start this tour, we will follow the Panama Canal north to the town of Gamboa, where the Chagres River meets the canal. We will ride along the waters of the Panama Canal right next to the ships passing through on their way to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Our destination is Gatun Lake, where we will cruise around islands created during the canal construction and see the abundant wildlife on its shores. We will visit the famous Monkey Islands where we can see capuchins, howlers, and tamarins up close in their natural habitat. Once we finish with our canal and lake boat ride (around 2 hours), we will head to the famous Pipeline Road in Soberania National Park. One of the premier birding spots in the world, the Pipeline Road will give us an opportunity to travel through a mature rain forest that is full of an incredible mix of wildlife. A bird count here organized by the Audubon Society set a record when 385 species were observed in 24 hours. Here we will visit the Rainforest Discovery Center, an environmental education project administered by the Fundación Avifauna. We will visit the canopy of the rainforest on a 100 ft. (32 m) observation tower and see an amazing abundance of birds from the different viewing levels. A walk along the trails on the rainforest floor will take us to a panoramic view of a lake where we can see different species of waterfowl and aquatic animals. You will surround yourself with hundreds of hummingbirds at the hummingbird feeders where we will enjoy a freshly made picnic lunch. Once we finish up at the Rainforest Discovery Center we will return to Panama City for hotel drop off.
DAY 2 - El Valle Zip-line & Mountain Tour
This tour will begin with hotel pickups starting at 7:30 am. We will head 2 hours to El Valle de Antón, where a small village sits in the bottom of an extinct volcano crater up in the mountains. We will go on a short hike and then go zip-lining at the 230 ft El Macho Waterfall. The zip-line is not very intense but the views and environment are incredible. We will then visit the Butterfly Haven. At the Butterfly Haven you can immerse amongst the beauty and tranquility of many hundreds of living jewel colored butterflies in their 1,500 sq. feet flight house. We will then head 40 minutes east up to Altos de Campana National Park, a biological reserve boasting an amazing vista of craggy peaks and deep valleys stretching out to the Pacific Ocean. We will have a picnic lunch on a mountain lookout where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Pacific coast that stretches 100 miles while you eat. We will take a walk through the cloud forest where we can view Panama’s highland creatures and experience Panama in its coolest climate. I am a huge fan of Altos de Campana because no tourists ever visit there even though it offers some of the best views and birdwatching in Panama. We will finish the tour with return to Panama City for hotel drop off.