Tailor-Made Holiday

Panama - Animals of the Canopy

11 days

from £2,195pp (excluding flights)

This holiday to Panama is a birder and wildlife enthusiasts dream. Bridging North and South America, the Isthmus of Panama is blessed with animals from both regions.

  • Search for some of the most fascinating animals of Panama
  • Stay in the extraordinary Canopy Tower with incredible views
  • Observe mammals and birdlife at your finger tips
  • Opportunity to see Tamarins, Sloths, Howler Monkeys, Tamanduas, Agoutis, Coatis and more
  • Explore parts of the Panama Canal, Pacific and Caribbean coasts and forest of Central Panama

With a rich biodiversity rivalling neighbouring Costa Rica, the forests of Panama are home to a vast array of weird and wonderful creatures. From the small Geoffrey’s Tamarin to the not so lazy Sloth, the canopy teems with life of all kind.

Stay at the extraordinary Canopy Tower; once a USA Radar Station, it is now the base for some superb wildlife viewing. Daily activities exploring the local area and National Parks will give you the best opportunity to observe as many different species of bird, insect and mammal as possible. The itinerary continues to the hills of El Valle de St. Anton where you will stay at the Canopy Lodge. This is an upmarket lodge in the heart of the cloud-forest canopy filled with hovering hummingbirds and twittering Tanagers.

This tour is on a group basis, and all activities and meals at both lodges are included. Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to get you up close and personal with numerous bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian and insect species whilst exploring parts of central Panama, including the famous Panama Canal.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 2195 £ 800
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE COST SHOWN INCLUDES INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK, BASED ON AN APPROXIMATE AIR FARE. PLEASE ASK YOUR TRAVEL EXPERT FOR AN ACCURATE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT QUOTE. INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Amsterdam

Fly Amsterdam to Panama City

Drive from Panama City to Gamboa


You will be staying at Canopy Tower, Full board

Day 2

Early Morning Wildlife Spotting
Start early and head to the observation deck for the opportunity to scan the treetops before breakfast. Animals sighted here often include Geoffroy's tamarins, mantled howlers, sloths, and red-tailed squirrels, whilst a variety of colourful birds come to feed on the cecropia trees.


Half a Day Wildlife Spotting on the Semaphore Hill Road
After breakfast, start walking down Semaphore Hill Road through the lush lowland rainforest of Soberania National Park to continue the search for mammals and other creatures. This paved road is a little more than a mile long, and passes through some of the most beautiful forest around providing an opportunity to see mammals as well as birds and interesting plants, wildflowers and butterflies. The rare Silky Anteater, as well as the secretive Tayra, have been spotted occasionally along this road. At the end of this walk, pick-up by open-air vehicles and drive up to the Canopy Tower for lunch.


Half Day Visit to Summit Garden and Ammo Dump Pond
After lunch, drive north to Ammo Dump Pond, located in the small town of Gamboa. This is a great place to look for the world’s second largest rodent, the Lesser Capybara, which can be found in or near the Chagres river. Also, in Gamboa's forested neighbourhoods, we hunt for Red Squirrels and Central American Agouti, a large diurnal rainforest rodent. If there's time, there may be a quick stop at the marina on the Chagres River, the main source of water for the Panama Canal. With a bit of luck, we can find a Neotropical River Otter and Variegated Squirrels. Water birds including Wattled Jacana, Striated Heron and the beautiful Snail Kite can be seen hunting here. Back to Canopy Tower for dinner.

After dinner, board the Canopy Tower’s open back Rainfomobile for a night drive down Semaphore Hill Road. Many Neotropical mammals are nocturnal, and night drives are the best way to find them! We hope this evening to find Panamanian Night Monkey, Paca, Central American Woolly Opossum and if lucky, a Rothschild’s Porcupine!


You will be staying at Canopy Tower, Full board

Day 3

Early Morning Drive down Semaphore Hill Road
Nocturnal creatures are more active immediately before dawn and straight after dusk, so wake up early for a slow drive down Semaphore Hill Road. Some of the nocturnal animals that frequent this area include western night monkeys, opossums, armadillos, Rothschild's porcupines, sloths and bats.


Half Day Visit to Pipeline Road
This morning after an early breakfast, board the Canopy Tower’s bird-mobile and spend the morning at the world famous Pipeline Road.

Hundreds of species of birds, mammals and countless insects and plants have been recorded here. This 17-km gravel road with eleven creeks has much to be explored, and is a great place for mammals, including white-faced capuchin, mantled howler, central American agouti, white-nosed coati, tayra and collared peccary.

Keep an eye on the openings of tree cavities for rufous tree rat. There have also been sightings of three species of cats, namely jaguarundi, ocelot and even (rarely) the jaguar.

Head back to the Canopy Tower for lunch.


Half Day Visit to Plantation Road
Drive to the bottom of Semaphore Hill and join Plantation Road, which starts next to the entrance to the tower. Passing through a mature forest, this road follows the small Chico Masambi River. Cutting through some of the region's most impressive woodlands, the road runs beside gigantic cashew, ceiba, and cuipo trees.

Whilst admiring these trees, which reach heights of more than 30 metres, look out for mantled howlers, Geoffroy's tamarins and white-faced capuchins. There is also a chance of stumbling across a northern tamandua (anteater).


You will be staying at Canopy Tower, Full board

Day 4

Full Day Trip to Barro Colorado Island
Travel to the town of Gamboa and board a ferry to Barro Colorado Island. A natural monument, this 1,500-hectare island is rich with wildlife. Administrated by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and home to swarms of researchers, the island sits in the middle of the Panama Canal.

A field station and modern labs have been built on the island itself, whilst access is only open to researchers and tourists with a reservation. Have the opportunity to see a vast number of mammals in a short period of time, including brown-headed spider monkeys, tayras, agoutis, tamanduas, sloths, and white-nosed coatis.


Dusk Wildlife Spotting Trip
Have the opportunity of an early dinner, in order to take another ride down Semaphore Hill. Look out for the animals that start to appear as the sun goes down.


You will be staying at Canopy Tower, Full board

Day 5

Half Day Trip along the Panama Canal
Take a spectacular boat trip on the Panama Canal, much of which is actually an artificial lake. Depart from Gamboa and cruise past huge cargo ships and ocean liners, before beginning to explore the lake's hidden coves and beautiful inlets.

Stop at one of the islands that once housed a primate research centre. Here, look for spider monkeys, mantled howlers and white-faced capuchins, as well as a variety of interesting reptiles. These include American crocodiles, spectacled caymans, basilisk lizards and black river turtles. Also look out for some of the rarer lake creatures, such as neotropical river otters and mantees.


Late Afternoon Visit to the Panama Rainforest Discovery Centre
Head to the nearby Panama Rainforest Discovery Centre. An ecotourism and environmental education facility that lies on Pipeline Road, the centre is located in the tropical forests surrounding the Panama Canal. The main building is made from recycled materials, whilst a thirty-metre-high observation tower stands closeby.

From this vantage point, scan the treetops for mammals and hawks. The road leading to the centre is also a great place to spot ocelots, jaguarundis, collared peccaries, white-tailed deer, silky anteaters and capybaras.


You will be staying at Canopy Tower, Full board

Day 6

Half Day Trip to Metropolitan Natural Park
Travel to the Metropolitan Natural Park, located close to Panama City. The forests of the park are much drier than those around the tower and it is a great place to spot migrating birds during the autumn.

From the summit of a hill, look out over Panama City and appreciate the impressive views. Animals likely to be spotted within the park include Geoffroy´s tamarins and red-tailed squirrels.


Half Day Visit to the Miraflores Visitors' Centre
Travel to see the world famous Panama Canal, the country's greatest engineering achievement. Explore the four exhibition halls of the ultra-modern museum, at the Miraflores locks.

Examine historic artifacts used in the construction of the canal, watch video presentations on its construction and inspect detailed models of the canal. Also have a chance to see huge cargo ships negotiate the tight-fitting locks.


You will be staying at Canopy Tower, Full board

Day 7

Full Day Trip to the San Lorenzo Forest Preserve
Drive to the Caribbean side of Panama to visit the beautiful San Lorenzo Forest Preserve. Once a US Army Jungle Training School, the area is now better known for its abundance of mantled howlers, white-faced capuchins and sloths. More elusive animals, such as jaguarundis and western night monkeys, are also often seen here.

Whilst exploring the preserve, visit the old Spanish fortress of San Lorenzo, a World Heritage Site. Built on a promontory at the entrance of the Chagres River, this imposing fort was the last bastion of the Spanish Empire on mainland America.

Day 8

Drive from Gamboa to El Valle de Anton


Half a Day Exploring the Lodge's Trails
After a recommended siesta, take a walk on some of the trails near the lodge. Whilst exploring visit a nearby 30-metre-high waterfall.

El Valle de Anton is a magical place for time away from Panama's lowland heat. Perched at an altitude of some 2,500 ft., it is a fertile volcanic valley filled with bright flowers, square trees and golden frogs.

Just driving into the valley is an experience - the majestic mountains, swathed in blues and greens are simply breath-taking.


You will be staying at Canopy Lodge, Full board

Day 9

Half Day Trip to Cerro Gaital
Head to Cerro Gaital, a mountain within the Cerro Gaital Natural Monument. From the summit, admire the impressive caldera and the stunning vistas of the distant Pacific Ocean.


Half Day Visit to La Zamia Trail and the Amphibian Rescue Centre
Spend time hiking along La Zamia Trail, at the base of the Cerro Gaital Natural Monument. This is an easy, level trail and, occasionally, rare Rufous-vented ground cuckoos can be spotted amid the trees.

Afterwards, visit the El Valle Amphibian Rescue Centre. Operated as a partnership between the Houston Zoo and local conservationists, this centre works to treat ailing frogs, as well as breeding some of the most endangered species.


You will be staying at Canopy Lodge, Full board

Day 10

Drive from El Valle de Anton to Panama City

Fly Panama City to Amsterdam overnight

Day 11

Fly Amsterdam to London

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Canopy Tower

Canopy Tower

The Canopy Tower was built in the Sixties by the US Air Force as a radar base for the protection of the canal....

View Accommodation

Canopy Lodge

Canopy Lodge

Canopy Lodge is a hotel in the verdant foothills of El Valle....

View Accommodation

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

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"John Faithful was wonderfully helpful and conscientious in arranging the itinerary and was always ready to suggest alternatives or rearrange matters without any hesitation; this and his detailed knowledge gave one great confidence."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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