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El Cope (Panama) in January (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Hi all,

I am going to Panama in January with a couple of friends. We are spending the first week with Domiciano Alveo in the Darien (including Harpy Eagle nest, Nusagandi and Cerro Azul) and then hiring a car for the remaining 9 days. We are not planning to go up the Piree Ridge. We plan to spend 4 nights at Gamboa and 4 nights in El Valle but this gives us a spare night and we are wondering where to go.

Birdquest have added El Cope (PN Omar Torrijos) to their route so we are considering this. It is about a 2.5 hour drive from our route. However, I cannot find a huge deal of information and the ebird lists are erratic. Does anyone know what the birding is like there in January? Is it worth the detour or does someone have better suggestions? If you do recommend El Cope, is there someone good to stay?
Someone has recommended Santa Fe to me. This is even further off our route but apparently can be really good. Anyone know more about it?
I really want to help you with this, but I've never been there. I've visited Panama 3 times for intensive birding trips. I am quite familiar with El Valle de Anton, Altos Del Maria, and Pipeline Rd. / Gamboa / Soberania. I've birded those three areas in January and February. If I were in your shoes I would visit El Cope. I think it's worth the venture. It is possible to see species that dwell in Western Panama even though it's only 2.5 hours away. As for accomodations I would say that you're better off using El Valle as your home base while you visit El Cope.
Bump. Anyone know more about Santa Fe or El Cope?
I saw a grand total of 4 species at el cope. This was December. The habitat has great potential. I only had a 2 WD hire car. The boulder-strewn path up was too tough so I had to walk. A Long walk ... I suspect it's one of those places where you just need to be there at the right time. And that's probably July when umbrella birds may still exist there. A fair part of the main loop path had been destroyed by a landslip.
A couple of alternatives: Use one day from Gamboa to drive to the locks by Colon and the NP north of there, or if you have not really done semidry areas go to the Herrera grasslands.
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