Darién 2018 (Panama Extension)

Date(s) - 05/27/2018 - 05/31/2018
All Day


Black-tailed Trogon

Black-tailed Trogon, Trogon melanurus macroura

The Darién, as this entire eastern-most region of Panama is called, is one of the most diverse and species-rich regions in Central America.  Here, some of the last, large, relatively unexplored swathes of lowland rainforest awaits discovery!  Long revered by avid birders as a haven for rare species, this region is now readily accessible by a new highway, extending through the spine of Panama right into the heart of this bird-rich land!  During this exciting, highly recommended 4-night adventure, we visit the Bayano Reservoir, where we search for such specialties as the starkly beautiful Black Antshrike and the stunning Orange-crowned Oriole.  Also visited are the swampy meadows of Yaviza and the riparian forests of Rio Torti, the haunts of the magnificent Spot-breasted Woodpecker.  We also enjoy excellent birding around the Embera community of Nuevo Vigia where we hope to get excellent views of Spectacled Parrtolet, Green-and-Rufous Kingfisher, Rufous-tailed Jacamar and others. This tour offers other surprises, such as Black-capped Donacobius, Red-rumped Woodpecker, White-headed Wren, King Vulture, and the spectacular Great Curassow.

Great Potoo

Great Potoo, Nyctibius grandis

Day 1 – May 27th 2018

This morning after an early breakfast we will depart from the Canopy Tower, heading due east along the Panamerican Highway to Darién! While the entire journey to the Canopy Camp will take approximately 5 hours of driving, we will stop along the way to enjoy birding at some of eastern Panama’s premier birding sites, arriving at the Camp late in the afternoon. Our first stop is along the marshy banks of Panama’s second largest lake, Bayano Lake. Here we will scan the edges hoping to see Pied Water-Tyrant, Neotropic Cormorant, Cocoi Heron, Purple Gallinule, Ringed Kingfisher, Smooth-billed and Greater Anis and other water birds. A small trail is a great place to search for the beautiful Black Antshrike and out around the forest edges we will hope to see the brilliant orange, yellow and black Orange-crowned Oriole. Heading further east, we will make another stop before lunch at San Francisco Reserve. This large protected area hosts a wide variety of habitats including open rice fields, riparian, mature secondary and even primary forest, forest edges, streams and wetlands, all while preserving and protecting eastern Panama’s largest fresh water source.

We will walk the roads and trails, and search for Golden-collared Manakin, Choco Sirystes, Rufous Piha, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Brownish Twistwing, Yellow-green Tyrannulet (endemic!), Bay Wren (in which the eastern Panama race shows barring on the underparts), White-fronted Nunbird, and hopefully, a Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle soaring overhead!

After our morning of traveling and birding, we will stop for a delicious Panamanian lunch in Torti. Our favorite restaurant has very active hummingbird feeders beside the veranda where Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Long-billed Starthroat, Black-throated Mango, Sapphire-throated Hummingbird and others feed at all day long. Our lunch will include this spectacular hummingbird show as its feature! After lunch we will continue east crossing into Darien Province and arriving at the Canopy Camp before dark. After settling  into our tents, we will meet for cocktails and to review our checklist for our first day in eastern Panama! Dinner at Canopy Camp Darien.

(B,L & D)


Day 2 – May 28th 2018

After a night’s rest we will meet our guide at dawn on the grounds of the Canopy Camp. Hot coffee and tea will be available in the dining room. Black-crowned Tityras, Cinnamon Becards, Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, Yellow-breasted Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tyrant, White-headed Wren, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Olivaceous Piculet and Spot-crowned Barbet are just some of the birds we may encounter this morning! We will also keep our eyes open for curious Geoffroy’s Tamarins and White-faced Capuchins; these monkeys are often found around the Camp. After a delicious breakfast in the open-air dining room, we will gather our gear for a morning on the trails! This morning we will explore “Nando’s trail”, which winds through the mature secondary forest directly beside the tents. Here we will seek out lekking Golden-headed and Golden-collared manakins, Red-rumped Woodpecker, Royal Flycatcher, Great Potoo, Chestnut-backed Antbird (the eastern Panama race shows white dots on the wings), Crested Oropendola, Semiplumbeous Hawk and Red-throated Caracara, among many others. We will head back to the tents by lunchtime. Lunch at Canopy Camp Darien.


There is plenty of time to explore the grounds, take photos, watch the hummingbirds feeding at the verbena or take a siesta after lunch! We will meet again with our guide by mid-afternoon and head out along the Panamerican Highway to Yaviza. Along the way, we will keep our eyes open for Laughing Falcon, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Blue-headed Parrot, Striped Cuckoo and Pearl Kite. Along the swampy roadsides, Black-capped Donacobius, Yellow-hooded Blackbird, Limpkin, Pied Water-Tyrant and other water birds may be seen. One of our targets for this afternoon is the Black Oropendola—a regional specialty to Darien and northwestern Colombia. Yaviza is at the end of this transcontinental highway, where the “Darien Gap” begins. No roads pass beyond here, only the vast forest of Darien National Park and a matrix of winding rivers. Yaviza, the cultural center of Darien, is a bustling frontier town. If time permits, we will check the local cemetery in town where Bicolored Wren nests. Then we will start to make our way along the highway arriving back at Canopy Camp in time for dinner. Dinner at Canopy Camp Darien.

(B, L & D)


Great Jacamar

Great Jacamar, Jacamerops aurea

Day 3 – May 29th 2018

After breakfast we will spend the morning at one of our premier birding sites near the Canopy Camp—El Salto Road, a dirt road that extends north off the Panamerican Highway and is bordered by great dry forest, ending at the mighty Chucunaque River. We will spend the morning birding along the road. El Salto Road is a great place to see Blue Cotinga, Crane Hawk, King Vulture, Roadside Hawk, White-eared Conebill, Yellow-tailed and Orange-crowned orioles, Double-banded Graytail and Bare-crowned Antbird among many others. Even Harpy Eagle has been seen in this fantastic area! We will enjoy lunch back at the Canopy Camp.

This afternoon we will head out to a superb newly discovered site not far from the Canopy Camp. Quebrada Felix is a part of the Filo del Tallo Hydrological Reserve. A short trail leads to a winding, rocky riverbed, and we will spend the afternoon walking along the river dwarfed by the towering trees. Rufous-winged Antwren, Speckled Mourner, White-fronted Nunbird, Black-crowned Antpitta, Slaty-throated Leaftosser, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Song Wren, Ocellated Antbird, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Solitary Eagle and Panama’s endemic Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker have all been seen here! We are in for a great afternoon. Dinner at Canopy Camp Darien.

(B, L & D)

Day 4 – May 30th 2018

Today is an exciting day—we will depart early from the Camp and head to Las Peñitas, a small town along the banks of the Chucunaque River. Here we will meet our local community guides and boat drivers and embark in “piraguas” (dugout canoes used along the rivers in Darien) to the Embera Indigenous Community of Nuevo Vigia, along the Turquesa River. Along the river, we hope to see Green Ibis, Capped Heron, all 5 species of kingfishers, Crested, Black and Chestnut-headed oropendolas, Spectacled Parrotlet, Gray-lined Hawk, Chestnut-fronted Macaw and Dusky-backed Jacamar along with many other riverside birds. Upon arrival at the community, we can have a snack and a rest in the shade. The rest of the morning we will spend on their well-maintained trails—Golden-headed Manakin, Double-banded Graytail, Red-billed Scythebill, Gray-cheeked Nunlet, Royal Flycatcher and others await our visit! At the end of the trail, a little lagoon is a great place to look for Green-and-rufous Kingfisher and Spectacled Caiman! We will head back to the town for a scrumptious picnic lunch in the shade. The women of the community make beautiful hand-crafted baskets and plates out of palm and plant fibers, beautifully dyed from natural sources. We will have the opportunity to browse and purchase these indigenous handicrafts and support the local economy.

Agami Heron

Agami Heron, Agamia agami

After lunch we can do some more exploring around the village, trails along the riverside offer great opportunities to find more birds! Bare-crowned Antbird, Barred Puffbird, Little Tinamou and many species of flycatchers and tanagers are commonly seen around here. We will return to the canoes and make our way back to the Canopy Camp after a great day! Dinner at Canopy Camp Darien.

(B, L & D)

Day 5 – May 31st 2018

On our final morning at the Canopy Camp we will take advantage of this spectacular site and enjoy the resident birds!  We will revisit the trails in search of species we may have missed and enjoy the open areas around the Camp grounds. We will be sure to check out the hummingbird garden where several species, including Blue-throated Goldentail, Rufous-breasted Hermit, Pale-bellied Hermit, Black-throated Mango and Violet-bellied Hummingbird regularly feed on the plentiful verbena. By mid-morning we will pack our bags and say goodbye to the Canopy Camp, making our way back to Panama City. We will be sure to stop in Torti for lunch and enjoy the hummingbirds one last time, planning on arriving  in Panama City by mid to late afternoon, a great end to our eastern Panama birding adventure!

(B & L)



Tour Extension Cost;

US$1,575:00 Per person, Double Occupancy *

US$1,775.00 Per Person, Single Occupancy *

* Tour cost is based upon a minimum group size of four participants. 


The Tour Includes

  •  All lodging.
  • All meals as stated (complimentary wine with dinner) from Breakfast on day 1.
  • Snacks and beverages during outings.
  • Airport group transfers.
  • Transfer between lodges.
  • Transportation to all the birding spots.
  • National parks entrance fee.
  • Professional, bilingual bird guide service.
  • Tips for staff at the lodge.

Not included in the Tour

  • International airfare.
  • Airport departure taxes.
  • Tips for guides and driver.
  • Items of a personal nature.
  • Alcoholic beverages except where mentioned above.


The purchase of trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended.  Talon Tours cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour.

Travel Planning

You are responsible for arranging your flights to and from Panama.  Our approximate return time to Panama City on the 31st is 5.00PM.

Bookings are closed for this event.

About Ken Wilson

Ken Wilson is the owner of Talon Tours. A native New Zealander, Ken has been leading nature and birdwatching tours worldwide since 1995. Ken has also led focused tours to many national and state parks in the western United States as well as key birding sites during migration. His passion for photography began in the early 1970’s and continues to grow. Ken is known for his easygoing manner and attention to organizational and logistical details.