Panama Ornitherapy: Intro to Birding and Yoga 7 to 14 December, 2019

Price: US$24758 Places Available Species of Interest
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Species of Interest

    • Gray-headed Chachalaca
    • Crested Bobwhite
    • Squirrel Cuckoo
    • White-collared Swift
    • Stripe-throated Hermit
    • Rufous-breasted Hermit
    • Purple-crowned Fairy
    • Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer
    • Crowned Woodnymph
    • Veraguan Mango
    • Sapphire-throated Hummingbird
    • Wattled Jacana
    • Wood Stork
    • Magnificent Frigatebird
    • Blue-footed Booby
    • Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture
    • Pearl Kite
    • White Hawk
    • Tropical Screech-Owl
    • Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
    • Orange-bellied Trogon
    • Whooping Motmot
    • Lesson’s Motmot
    • Tody Motmot
    • Spot-crowned Barbet
    • Northern Emerald-Toucanet
    • Collared Aracari
    • Keel-billed Toucan
    • Cinnamon Woodpecker
    • Lineated Woodpecker
    • Crested Caracara
    • Yellow-headed Caracara
    • Bat Falcon
    • Brown-throated Parakeet
    • Yellow-crowned Parrot
    • Barred Antshrike
    • Spot-crowned Antvireo
    • White-bellied Antbird
    • Spotted Antbird
    • Spotted Woodcreeper
    • Straight-billed Woodcreeper
    • Plain-breasted Spinetail
    • Lance-tailed Manakin
    • White-ruffed Manakin
    • Golden-collared Manakin
    • Purple-throated Fruitcrow
    • Masked Tityra
    • Cinnamon Becard
    • Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant
    • Common Tody-Flycatcher
    • Brown-capped Tyrannulet
    • Yellow-bellied Elaenia
    • Panama Flycatcher
    • Fork-tailed Flycatcher
    • Tufted Flycatcher
    • Rufous-browed Peppershrike
    • Golden-fronted Greenlet
    • Black-chested Jay
    • Rufous-breasted Wren
    • Tawny-capped Euphonia
    • Rosy Thrush-Tanager
    • Orange-billed Sparrow
    • Red-breasted Meadowlark
    • Crested Oropendola
    • Rufous-capped Warbler
    • Dusky-faced Tanager
    • Silver-throated Tanager
    • Golden-hooded Tanager
    • Tawny-crested Tanager
    • Crimson-backed Tanager
    • Green Honeycreeper
    • Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch
    • Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth
    • Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth
    • Geoffroy’s Tamarin
    • Mantled Howler
    • Central American Agouti
    • White-nosed Coati

Yellow-throated Toucan Panama

During our ornitherapy tours, our goal is to practice birding in a mindful way – thus this 7-day tour is designed to be quite different from a typical birding trip. Everything will run at a much slower pace – we will take our time to truly enjoy the beauty and wonder of the birds we do see, while also learning about their natural history.  We will also have time to visit local markets, walk nature trails, enjoy time at the beach, take a Stand-up Paddle Board lesson or partake in a vegetarian cooking class. We have also scheduled some important free time for you to explore on your own, take a hammock siesta, practice walking meditation on a small labyrinth, relax with a good book, or swim in the ocean – only a 5-min walk from our hotel.

Additionally, a certified Yoga instructor will be present throughout the tour to provide optional group classes each afternoon when birds and other wildlife are less active. Whether you have a long-standing yoga practice, or are interested in experiencing yoga for the first time, we will offer gentle, back-to-the-basics yoga classes that fit everyone’s needs.

Trip Basics

Tour Guide: TBD

Yoga Instructor: Marta Curti

Length of Tour: 8 days

Single Supplement: $375

Number of participants: 8 people*

Lodging: We will spend 5 nights at the lovely Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat boutique hotel, situated on 4 acres of land, including an
acre of beautiful dry forest. We will spend two nights at a high quality hotel about 10 minutes from the entrance to Soberania National Park.

Food: Very good vegetarian cuisine while at Istmo. Otherwise, delicious traditional, local dishes.

Weather: Hot and humid for the most part, with the possibility of cooler temperatures in the evening. Rain can be expected.

Difficulty: Easy to medium with short walks at a gentle pace. Some trails may be muddy and/or on uneven surfaces with some inclines.

* With smaller groups, an additional fee will be charged.

Notes and Recommendations for the trip



We will meet you upon your arrival to Tocumen International Airport (PTY), in Panama City, Panama. Once everyone has arrived, we will travel about 1.5 hrs in a comfortable vehicle to our first destination – the Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat in Playa Grande. We will have time to check in, unpack and relax before orientation. As time permits, we will do some afternoon birding and/or enjoy a restorative yoga class before  dinner.

Crimson-backed Tanager in Panama
Crimson-backed Tanager

Birds are early risers, so we will also enjoy some early mornings to make the most of our nature experience. After breakfast, we will travel by vehicle about 45 minutes to the town of Ell Valle de Anton – a picturesque mountain town located at the bottom of an extinct volcano. We will spend our morning exploring the beautiful gardens and trails that wind through the Pacific-slope and Cloud Forests of the region. Some of the species that can be seen here are Barred Hawk, Tropical Screech-Owl, White-collared Swift, Rufous-breasted Hermit, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Orange-bellied Trogon, Tody Motmot, Spot-crowned Barbet, Spotted Woodcreeper and Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch.

We will return to our hotel for a late lunch and some rest and relaxation.  In the afternoon we will enjoy a yoga class before dinner.

This morning we will begin our day with a gentle yoga class before breakfast. We will spend the rest of the morning birding on the grounds of our hotel and its surroundings. As we explore the lowland forest habitat of Playa Grande we will search for Lance-tailed Manakin, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Bat Falcon and Gray-headed Chachalaca, among other species.

After lunch, we will participate in an optional Stand-up Paddle Board class and an excursion into the mangroves, or enjoy some free time.

SUP Panama
Stand-up paddleboarding on the calm waters of the Pacific

After breakfast we will explore more of the Pacific Lowland Forests in the region.  The areas of El Chiru and Juan Hombron encompass dry coastal scrub habitats which provide homes to a large number of birds, and are particularly good places to observe some of Panama's beautiful birds of prey from the common Yellow-headed Caracara to the diminutive Pearl Kite. Other raptors found in the area include Roadside Hawk, Savannah Hawk, Grey-lined Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk and Crested Caracara. Apart from the numerous birds of prey species, we will search for Veraguan Mango – a near-endemic hummingbird, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, and Grey-cowled Wood-Rail.

We will return to our hotel for lunch and relaxation. In the afternoon we will continue our yoga practice and enjoy an optional vegetarian cooking class.

We will return to El Valle to explore Cerro Gaital National Park and nearby areas to search for Black-chested Jay, Northern Emerald-Toucanet, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Green Hermit, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Tawny-capped Euphonia and other foothill delights. We will visit private property to search for the incredible Spectacled Owl and the elusive Tody Motmot.  We will also keep our eyes open for two and three-toed sloths. We will have time to browse through the local market where arts and crafts are sold, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables and native plants.

We will return to our hotel for a late lunch and some rest and relaxation.  In the afternoon we will enjoy a yoga class before dinner.

We will have our final group yoga class this morning before breakfast and departure to Panama City. We will check into our hotel and relax before heading out in the afternoon for a visit to the Metropolitan Natural Park - the only tropical forest park located within a major metropolitan area in Latin America. Encompassing around 190 hectares of semi-deciduous lowland tropical forest it is an excellent place to see some lovely species including: Yellow-crowned Parrot, White-bellied Antbird, the Panama endemic Yellow-green Tyrannulet, Lance-tailed Manakin, Bay Wren and Rosy Thrush-Tanager.

We will wake up with the birds this morning for a visit to Pipeline Road (Soberania National Park) – one of the best places to bird in all of Central America! The forest here is alive with several species of trogons, manakins, and toucans; it is a great place to see  White-whiskered Puffbird and Great Jacamar, and to listen for the unique calls of the Purple-throated Fruitcrow. At our feet, we might see a line of leaf-cutter ants traveling in formation carrying bright green leaves they have harvested from a nearby tree or, a blue morpho butterfly flash its brilliant blue wings as it passes us on the trail.

Creating art in a natural setting is a wonderful way to relax, focus the mind on the present, and relieve stress. This morning, we will enjoy drawing and/or coloring bird images while in nature. At the Rainforest Discovery Center, as we observe several different hummingbird species as they come to feeders and perch on nearby branches, we will spend time coloring beautifully crafted outlines of several bird species. If you are an artist, you may choose to sketch your own unique images. Some art supplies will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own!

White-whiskered Puffbird

In the morning we will enjoy a 3-4 hr boat ride on Gatun Lake and the Panama Canal. A boat ride on this world famous waterway is an unforgettable experience and a unique way to enjoy birding in Panama. Being on a boat allows us to get much closer to otherwise shy wildlife, therefore it is a great opportunity for photography and observing animal behavior. Mantled Howlers, White-face Capuchins, and Geoffroy's Tamarins are three species of monkeys often seen in the area. We will also search for crocodiles, iguanas, and a number of waterbirds, including the spectacular Snail Kite, Little Blue Heron, Wattled Jacana, kingfishers, egrets and maybe even an Osprey.

After lunch we will transfer you to Tocumen International Airport for your departure flight home.

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