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Month long location central to various bird sites? (1 Viewer)

Fiscalshrike

Well-known member
Panama has long been on my wish list since starting to bird about 10 years ago, and am hoping this winter will be it. Now that I am retired, I can spend a 4-8 weeks to escape my cold Canadian winters. FWIW, I haven't been to Central America, but birded areas of Yucatan (Mexico), Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago and various Caribbean islands. I also am budget conscious so do most birding on my own but splash out for a good birding day or two with a guide. I'll have a car most of the time, but that may depend on locations.
I have very loose plans, landing in Panama City. I think I have to head to Pipeline and Metropolitan Park, so may spend 5 -7 days there.
I am interested in a finca cottage in Volcan about 45 minutes from Boquete and David. It's a long drive so considering flying to David and renting a car then. However, if one or 2 prime spots to consider for a few days between PC and David, please recommend and I would then consider driving West.
Is Volcan or Boquete a good location for a month of leisure with multiple birding locations available? If not, where would you recommend?
My kids would prefer I keep safety in mind as an older solo woman birder, so if there are places to really avoid, then please advise.
TIA
 
I think this sounds like something I could do sometime in the future. For the central Panama part, you could do worse than placing yourself in Gamboa (close to Pipeline Rd). For Chiriqui, maybe do half the time in Volcan and half in Boquete. At least from the volcan side you could take one or two days to bird close to sea level near the CR border (and you might need a guide for this).

When driving from Panama City to Chiriqui, I have made a stop over in Playa las Lajas. That allows for a little birding in somewhat drier lowland, and in the mountains north of there you should be able to find one of the endemic finches:
Niels
 
I think this sounds like something I could do sometime in the future. For the central Panama part, you could do worse than placing yourself in Gamboa (close to Pipeline Rd). For Chiriqui, maybe do half the time in Volcan and half in Boquete. At least from the volcan side you could take one or two days to bird close to sea level near the CR border (and you might need a guide for this).

When driving from Panama City to Chiriqui, I have made a stop over in Playa las Lajas. That allows for a little birding in somewhat drier lowland, and in the mountains north of there you should be able to find one of the endemic finches:
Niels
Thanks Niels. I now realize there is some distance by road between Volcan and Boquete so would need to manage that somehow. I also happened to note that Playa las Lajas has a nice ebird list...and as you say, a drier low land environment. If I can pick up the car in Panama and drop in David, that could be a good option so I don't have to drive all the way back to Panama City. Thankfully, with retirement, I can stretch time to suit...or at least as far as a budget allows.
 
I’ve spent, collectively, about 2 months in Panama. I consider it quite safe. Niels’s comments on Boquete AND Volcan (at least in terms of birds) are good. You might get a little bored in either town if you are looking for culture or interesting food. But if you just want peace, nice weather, and nice birds, you’ll be very happy. An excursion up Volcan Baru with a 4WD (and presumably a guide) for Unspotted Saw-whet Owl and a few other highland birds could be a fun adventure, even if those birds are easier in Costa Rica.

Panama really does have some lovely birding, I think you’ll really enjoy. As well, do not be scared off from the Darien / Eastern Panama. Hotels / lodging options are a bit more basic but the birding is terrific and self driving is very doable.

Good luck and there are a good number of people here who know Panama well. I do fairly well even if my info is now 5 years or so out of date, others know it even better, so keep asking questions :)
 
I’ve spent, collectively, about 2 months in Panama. I consider it quite safe. Niels’s comments on Boquete AND Volcan (at least in terms of birds) are good. You might get a little bored in either town if you are looking for culture or interesting food. But if you just want peace, nice weather, and nice birds, you’ll be very happy. An excursion up Volcan Baru with a 4WD (and presumably a guide) for Unspotted Saw-whet Owl and a few other highland birds could be a fun adventure, even if those birds are easier in Costa Rica.

Panama really does have some lovely birding, I think you’ll really enjoy. As well, do not be scared off from the Darien / Eastern Panama. Hotels / lodging options are a bit more basic but the birding is terrific and self driving is very doable.

Good luck and there are a good number of people here who know Panama well. I do fairly well even if my info is now 5 years or so out of date, others know it even better, so keep asking questions :)
Hello, read your comments and it is the first time I reed that selfdrive is doable to Darian. that's exactly what we would like to do as I am a birder, but not so my husband, though he doesn't mind to drive and search for good birding spots. so pay 2.000 dollars or more p/p for 6 days Darian is a waist of money. Although I will be in need of a very good guide once we arrive there to take me birding in Darien itself. and that seems to be a problem.
 
One place to look at in the western end: Los Quetzales Ecolodge, small hotel below and cabins up in the forest.
Niels
 
Depends what you want from Darien. You can drive to the end of the road easily enough, then you need a boat ride, then, for any specialities you need access to accommodation and food; easily sortable with a guide who can access the research stations and arrange cooks etc, unlikely to be practicable otherwise.
 
Note that boat access to parts of Darien would be necessary for eg the Pirre species and Harpy Eagle, but there are plenty of other birds such as Sapayoa that are at drivable sites.
 
Thx for your reply. I think you are right. It depends what you want, a long list of Birds or a goodview & joy of watching
Birds. so I think I will do some birding along the road till Torti and hopefully someone knows how I can visit the San Francisco Nature Reserve there. As I mentioned before I monitor Dragonflies within the Belgian project "De Meetnetten" and saw that in that period Dragonflies were at the scene. That would be very rewarding for me.
 
I would consider having a guide for a day in the area you are mentioning now. Domiciano Alveo would be one person you could contact.
Niels
 
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