Adventure week Panama 2018

During the Adventure Week Panama this past May, the participants from different Continents discover why Panama became the Isthmus that changed the world and a paradise for the outdoor travelers.

The explorers discover a diverse destination filled with natural and cultural beauty and with an incredible history to share with the rest of the world.  Panama surprises the adventure travelers for the cosmopolitan capital,  the legends of Pirates and Conquistadores that fought for the treasures of the Americas, amazing close national parks and trails, good adventures, unique wildlife and a superb gastronomy.

Through kayak, trekking, amazing gastronomic fests, hikes with naturalist guides, snorkeling, boutique hotels and wildlife observation, Panama became the place where friends from around the world united for one week.  We all enjoyed this adventure and we hope to continue receiving new friends from the Adventure Travel Association.

Keep Exploring!!!!

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My first wildlife experience in Soberania National Park with Ecocircuitos

By Maelle Denoual

True nature lover, I was chosen to work as an intern for 5 months in Ecocircuitos’ tour operator and it’s the first time for me in Panama. I’m French and I’ve never been further than Morocco. You can imagine how excited I was to know that I will discover a new land and such amazing country like Panama. And here I am!

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A week ago, during my first week of internship, I had the opportunity to experience, with two other clients, the hiking tour at Soberania National Park in the company of the very competent and smiley naturalist guides of the company named Fabio.

It was once again my first exploration of a rainforest and it was amazing! This tour offers an incredible opportunity for wildlife observation and birdwatching. In fact, while we were walking just at the park’s entrance, it didn’t take long before we could hear birdsongs and feel the absolutely unique atmosphere of wilderness. I felt in another world for 2 hours. Beautiful and colorful birds but also huge butterflies were flying from time to time above our head. Every time we saw an animal or a bird, Fabio was there to tell us what kind of specimen it was and inform us more about it. We have even seen a baby anteater on the side of the trail. Actually, we were very lucky because it’s not common to see one so close. I have learned so much during this hiking tour and it wasn’t exhausting but mostly enjoyable.

After the exploration of the lush forest, Fabio explained that our adventure is not finished.  We were heading to a jungle-adventure expedition across the Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal. Once aboard, we started the tour searching for more wildlife around the rainforest-covered islands. And we were lucky again because we could see monkeys having a nap on trees, many water birds, 2 big green iguanas, a sloth and a crocodile! Also, it was so impressive to see giant cargos on the canal transiting the waterway few meters away from us…I couldn’t believe that I was on the renowned Panama Canal that everybody talks about. I was thrilled!

That day was a very enriching experience thanks to these 2 different ways to discover nature and I felt very amazed by the considerable diversity of fauna and flora which offers Panama. I strongly recommend EcoCircuitos’ tours to everyone who loves ecotourism and want to visit Panama.

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EcoCircuitos practices responsible tourism and follow the standards of leave no trace and Travelers Against Plastics.  We encourage all our clients to bring their own bottle and change the way you travel.  For more information on this tours and others, please contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com

Panama Reading List

You are planning your trip to Panama and it is exciting!  Below you will find some reading material that could help you plan your trip and do some research.  Some of our reading recommendations include books about birds, wildlife, history, culture and more.   Also if you would like to share some other books and articles with us, please feel free to send us an email at info@ecocircuitos.com

Moon Panama (Moon Handbooks)

William Friar

Moon Travel

Frommer’s Panama (Complete Guide)

Nicholas Gill

Frommer’s 

Panama: Puente Biologico

Stanely Heckadon

Instituto Smithsonian de Investigaciones Tropicales

Naturalists on the Isthmus of Panama (A hundred years of Natural History on the biological bridge of the Americas)

Stanley Heckadon-Moreno

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

A Bird-Finding Guide to Panama

George R. Angehr

Cornell University Press

The Birds of Panama

George R. Angehr & Robert Dean

Cornell University Press

A Guide to the Birds of Panama

Robert Ridgely

Princeton University Press

The Path Between the Seas

David McCullough

Simon and Schuster

A Day on Barro Colorado Island

Marina Wong / Jorge Ventocilla

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Reef Fish Identification – Baja to Panama

Paul Humann / Ned DeLoach

New World Publications

Central America: A Natural and Cultural History

Anthony G. Coates

Yale University Press

A Field Guide to the Mammals of Central America and Southeast Mexico

Fiona A. Reid

Oxford University Press

A Neotropical Companion (An introduction to the animals, plants, & ecosystems of the New World tropics)

John Kricher

Princeton University Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Top EcoLodges in Panama

Panama is the best keep secret in Latin America.  My country is one of the best adventure travel destinations with amazing ecolodges surrounded by nature.   Panama is part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor and is known as one of the most biologically diverse countries in Central America.   There are more ecolodges in Panama and below you will see a list of my favorites.

Mount Totumas Cloudforest Ecolodge

MOUNT TOTUMAS

Just 2 hours from David in Volcan is located this wonderful cloudforest Eco lodge a truly unique experience in Panama.  At Mount Totumas Cloud Forest there is a variety of accommodations and depending on guests preferences and budget.   I love the Cabin where I stayed with my partner and loved the amazing views of the National Park.   The ecolodge is located in the buffer zone directly bordering La Amistad National Park.  Guests can enjoy 8 marked trails through the reserve with access into the adjacent national park, which is Central America’s largest protected mountain wilderness area. Hot springs are also located nearby. In the Mount Totumas Cloud Forest Reserve there are keystone species presented such as Resplendent Quetzal, Three Wattled Bellbirds, Mantled Howler Monkey, Black and Crested Guan, White-Faced Capuchin, spider monkeys, mountain lions amongst many others.   The hotel has a sustainable practice and most of the employees and guides are locals who work as integral players in the operation of the hotel.  The owner brings her expertise in Asian and European cuisine to Mount Totumas and creates dishes drawing from their gardens  and the local produce vendors in Volcan.

Canopy Camp Darien

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This is the best birding ecolodge to experience the Darien specialties.  The Canopy Camp Darien features eight large, safari-style tents that are designed specifically for use in environmentally sensitive areas; they are very eco-friendly. The tents are on raised platforms, to keep you up off the ground and dry in the lowland rainforest of Darien.  Each the tents occupies an area of 173 square feet and offer plenty of space to store your luggage, clothing, and gear. Large windows on all sides with flaps allow natural light and breeze to enter the tent during the daylight hours.  Each has two single beds or one queen bed, two tables, a floor fan and overhead light, and a solid plantation teak wood floor.  Each tent has a full private bathroom located directly outside of the tent on the platform.  Each bathroom has all the essentials – flush toilets and a shower that offers serene, private views of the surrounding rainforest.   Just a step outside of the tent, the platform offers covered space to relax in lounge chairs in the shade during the hot mid-day sun or an afternoon rain, with exquisite views of the jungle surrounding the camp from your own observation deck.

Tranquilo Bay EcoLodge

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Discover the ecosystem of Bocas del Toro Archipelago through snorkeling, kayaking or hiking with one of the lodge’s biologist guides. Encounter uncounted birds, different monkey species, iguanas and much more during your stay, relax and refresh in a unique natural environment.The interior of each of the cabanas is tastefully and comfortably appointed with air-conditioning, local hardwoods, tile floors, fine linens and a calming color palette to welcome you at the end of your adventure each day.
 The Tranquilo Bay EcoLodge offers 6 individual cabanas, 4 with ocean view and 2 with rainforest view, and all equipped with either queen-size or double bed equipped with orthopedic mattresses. Additional beds for children are available upon request. The furniture is carefully handcrafted from local hardwoods, and every bedroom is equipped with a small seating area, reading lights and a small supply of books for leisurely hours. And if you prefer relaxing outdoors, there’s a covered porch with hammock and Adirondack chairs waiting for you. All cabanas have air conditioning and hot water, as well as coffee makers and hair dryers.  A covered porch with a hammock and Adirondack chairs awaits to help you escape the “every day” that you left behind when you enter the grounds at Tranquilo Bay.

 

Villa Tavida Ecolodge

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 Located in a private reserve that has been protected for 25 years, Villa Tavida offers its guests the opportunity to escape from the modern day world. Surrounded in nature, guests have breathtaking views of a nearby waterfall and can easily be accessed by a hike down a nature trail to get a closer look. Villa Tavida is just 35 km from Penonome and approximately 50 km from Playa Blanca.  This exclusive guest house offers 5 comfortable rooms, all overlooking the waterfall Tavida.  Some units include a balcony and/or patio. Every unit has a private bathroom with free toiletries.  The lodge offers free parking on-site. Guests can enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant. The services are aimed at promoting environmental, cultural and economic welfare.

 

Isla Palenque EcoResort

IP Rooms 3 4 Outside A

A beautiful island of  160 hectares of lush jungle, framed by 7 untouched beaches, house a number of wilderness trails and hidden spaces to be explored by guests of the barefoot-luxury Beach Suites (mid-2018) and Villa Estate.  The ecolodge is at just minutes walk from the beach and it offers an outdoor pool and a restaurant.  The accommodation will provide you with iPad. Featuring a shower, the private bathrooms also come with a hairdryer and free toiletries. Some rooms offer views of the sea and the pool area. Extras include a safety deposit box, linen, and a fan.  At The Resort at Isla Palenque, you will find a private beach area. Other facilities offered at the property include a tour desk and luggage storage. Daily guided tours are offered and the property has a large area with hiking trails.  An additional package must be purchased directly to the Hotel to include additional services : 3 daily meals at the on-site restaurant, as well as on-site guided tours and one round trip boat transfer per party between Boca Chica and Isla Palenque.We encourage you to travel different in Panama.  Explore the real and authentic destination and stay in unique properties that will make your vacation memorable.For more information on this ecolodges and other options in Panama, please contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com

 

Pinapple Tour with VERBA ODREC

by Raffaele Campomolla

The Pineapple – A beautiful, delicious fruit that has an incredible freshness and is just perfect as a healthy snack or combined in a sweet dessert. Lots of people love this tropical fruit – but do you actually know how pineapples are grown? Learn all about pineapples in a tour at the Verba Odrec Farm in ‘La Chorrera’!

Panama is known for having among the world’s best and sweetest pineapples. During the tour you will have the chance to taste this gift of nature and trust me, you will be impressed by the taste of those pineapples.

Do you know if the green ones are also very sweet and ready to eat? And how many times a year you can crop pineapples from one seed? Well you should find out! Ricardo, an expert of pineapples who will guide you through the farm will tell you all about this amazing fruit. You will drive through the farm seeing the different stages of maturation and different types of pineapples. The tour ends with a refreshing, pure and super-sweet natural juice –made out of pineapple, of course.

Experience the best Pineapple in Panama. This tour allows you to visit the harvesting pineapple fields, taste various stages of the pineapple and if  available tour the packing facility. This 3 hour tour is great for trying something new and having fun while exploring the countryside of Panama!

Verba Odrec is a local family farm, committed to responsible practices and minimizing pesticide and quality of our pinaple in every box.

Keep your eyes open, butterflies are everywhere!

This butterfly house is a site dedicated to the study, the reproduction and the public exhibition of butterflies, directed by Panamanian biologists and entrepreneurs.

Mariposario Cerro Lavieja only reproduces native local species of the Coclé province and breed them with the help of biologists.

In this huge area of 1200 square meters, besides the flying butterflies, caterpillars or pupae, you will also find a little butterfly exhibition area and some souvenirs to buy and to offer to your loved ones.

(Just to know: A percentage of souvenirs sales go to a Butterfly Conservation Program to help in the protection of butterflies and their ecosystems.)

Located only 30 minutes far away from Penonomé, immersed in a fresh mountains climate for the growth of these fascinating insects’ growth, the Mariposario Cerro Lavieja is the bigger butterfly house of Panama, with approximatively 40 different species.

You will have the chance to see between 500 to 800 butterflies flying, depending on the season.

If you are lucky, you will meet the majestic, famous and amazing Blue Morpho!

For only $5.00 per person and one-hour tour (maximum of 30 people divided in two groups of 15), you will begin your visit by a short introduction to the butterfly life.

You will then entry the Butterfly House area surrounded by luxurious tropical vegetation with giant ferns and colorful heliconia flowers.

In the 8 stops through the Butterfly House, the guide will talk to you about the location, the altitude and rain precipitation of the area. The tour will continue by showing you how butterflies feed, lay their eggs, and reproduce each other.

You will have the unique opportunity to touch butterflies and their caterpillars and feel the butterflies flying or posing on your hands, heads or shoulders!

Don’t forget to bring your camera because you are gonna have so many occasions to take wonderful pictures of orchids, other flowers and butterflies lying on flowers and leaves!

During this visit, you will learn and discover butterflies’ life history and diversity in Panama. Before leaving you will take a look inside the “lab” to see eggs, and touch some big Owl Butterfly caterpillars and pupae, and possibly release new born butterflies into the butterfly house (daily in the morning).

Do not miss this unique and emotional experience!

Contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com