Panama’s wildlife is just stunning – 10’444 different types of plant species, 678 fern species, 1’500 varieties of trees, as well as 255 species of mammals and 972 indigenous bird species. There is a history behind this rich biodiversity, let’s start from the very beginning: Everything started 65 million years ago; the two continents, North and South America were joined by a land bridge, as we know it from today. Then, around 50 million years ago, the continents split apart, and for millions of years they kept separate from one another. This allowed mother nature to create unique and fascinating landscapes in both continents. The land of South America soon gave rise to a numerous species, such as bird families, neo-tropical rodents, iguanas, frogs and more. In North America, animals such as horses, deer, raccoons, squirrels and mice flourished, as the continent repeatedly collided with Eurasia.
Three million years ago happened the world change! The natural history for both continents: The land bridge of Panama arose. Migration started and species from North America went south and from South America north, where they found their homes in the lush forest and wetlands along the isthmus. The great variety of plant species created the perfect conditions for nourishing wildlife including the Jaguar.
‘Yaguará’ is a Panamanian Foundation that works towards the conservation of wild cats. They are studying the Jaguar’s behavior through placing cameras and GPS Collars, in order to develop conservation in the jaguar habitats. They also directly work with the local communities, which has proved to be very important and successful to immediately apply conservation of this beautiful mammals.
Ricardo Moreno who has been nominated by National Geographic as an emergent explorer, is a Panamanian biologist and one of the the leader of Fundación Yaguara. He fights for the conservation of the Jaguar and the Puma in Panama, and says that “the situation is critical, and there is no time to wait. It is important to create a pacific cohabitation between mankind and the felines.”
The conflicts between Felines and humans arose because their natural prey was scarce, due to human activities such as hunting and habitat occupation, threrefore the cats attacked livestock’s. Unfortunately, people used to “solve” the situation by just sacrificing the felines, and this caused a serious fall in jaguar’s populations in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor and Panama. Several studies showed that if the cats had enough natural prey, they wouldn’t attack livestock.
“Yaguará” started a program which gives a monetary compensation to the owners of domestic animals, if their animals were preyed. They also support the local communities by educating in learning to live with the jaguars and avoid killing them. The communities could take benefit from conserving the natural habitats and supporting the trend in the tourism industry: Adventure and Conservation.
Academic and Educational adventures are a way to discover Panama and learn about the efforts of several scientists, guides and tour companies that promote the restoration of our natural habitats. In conjunction with different organizations such as STRI, Fundacion Avifauna, APTSO, YAGUARA among others EcoCircuitos is promoting Tourism, Conservation and Education.
Explore with the experts in the field and discover a country full of contrasts. You can contribute to the conservation and efforts of this organization and others by traveling responsable.
For more information contact us email@example.com
By Raffaele Capomolla
Do you enjoy being immersed in beautiful nature? Just 50 minutes from Panama City near a village called “Gamboa” there is Soberania National Park, where you can find amazing bird diversity, monkeys, sloths, insects and beautiful Flora!
Hike through the historical pipeline road. Oh, what is the pipeline road? During World War 2, across the isthmus of Panama, a petroleum pipeline and its service road were built, which allows the entry through the center of this marvelous national park.
After the hiking, enjoy a boat trip through the canal, where you will see those breathtaking, giant ships passing by a few steps from you, until you’ll end up in the Gatun lake!
Do you want to know why and in which situations the Alpha Monkeys in the rain forest starts to yowl? Our great Guide Jorge will tell you all about the animals in this amazing National park, the history of the pipeline, the canal and much more on this beautiful tour!
For more information click here.
Your guides are your gateway to the world of the tropical rainforest. Even if you don’t see a single animal, you’ll laugh; you’ll cry; and you’ll learn things. Each guide’s personality colors your experience of Panama, and reveals the richness and diversity of its people and culture. Guides provide education, insight into the culture, and knowledge of nature. Travelers who have decided to go it alone often end up wishing they had a guide.
Our partners wholesalers as WPA strives to use the best local guides available (EcoCircuitos guides) at each destination on your adventure. At times, naturalists, biologists or biology students may be used as guides but are not guaranteed, nor are they always the best guides for the activity. You’ll find our guides have just the right mix of personality, knowledge and training to make your experience fun, safe, educational, and full of wonder. We’ve found that the best guides are the ones who live at each location and absolutely love what they are doing. Their enthusiasm and curiosity is contagious and will awaken the wonder–and the guide—in you. You’ll find that spotting the wildlife yourself is half the fun! In addition to your guides, we’ll have bird and wildlife books and materials to help identify what we see. With thousands of different species of flora and fauna in each area of the country, and new species being identified each year, a rare siting could be the highlight of your trip!
Tipping your guide in Panama
EcoCircuitos recommends the following guidelines for tipping our guides, drivers and staff in Panama:
International airport bellmen: US$1.00 per piece of luggage
Raul is a passionate and dedicated tour guide, he was born in the Chiriqui Province among coffee farms and agriculture. He became a tour guide in 2008, he actively worked in the Pearl Archipelago when tourism was just starting in Panama. Raul guided whale watching tours as well as island day tours in the Archipelago and after 5 years working there he decided to come back to Boquete and start working as a naturalist and birding guide. He is a certified naturalist guide and MarViva guide. Birdwatching at the Ceriana Farm is his favorite activity and his favorite bird is the Three-wattled Bellbird. Raul enjoys showing Boquete to all visitors and encourages more people to visit the area. He currently resides in Boquete.
Favorite Bird: Tree Wattle Bellbird
By Jennie C. Trow
Last week we had the pleasure of visiting the Boquete Bee and Butterfly Farm during a site inspection in the Chiriqui Highlands. Emily Hawthorn, the owner of the farm gave us a warm introduction to the farm and what it’s visitors can expect when taking a tour. We visited the Honey house where visitors can taste and purchase variety of different honey products such as raw honey, creamed honey and honey combs. There are over 15 different varieties of honey products that are sold in her farm, some honey products are combined with ginger, turmeric, lavender, hot peppers and more. Each year the farm produces around 10-15 tons of honey.
During the honey tour visitors learn not only about honey and bees but also about the area, plants and flowers and why the Boquete bees are so special. Visitors will also get to observe petroglyphs on the property. In addition, they will be able to visit the Butterfly Farm that just opened about a month ago. The farm hosts over 35 native butterflies species and can be observed in the butter fly house and in a small educational area where different colorful chrysalises are kept before butterflies emerge.
This fascinating tour should not be missed on your visit to Boquete. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org This tour can be booked individually or together with one of our culinary experience programs.
By Carina Forster
Panama offers amazing options for Whale Watching! Don’t miss the 2016 season and book your tour with EcoCircuitos today!
Available dates: July 23th, July 30th, August 13th, August 27th, September 10th, September 24th.
Our daytrip started with a spectacular view of the Panama Canal covered in morning sun upon our departure from the Causeway by boat. Passing by large container ships coming from all over the world, we admired the views of Panama’s extensive skyline as the bay of Panama was getting smaller and smaller. The boat ride took us 1,5 hours out to the Pacific Ocean to the picturesque island archipelago of Las Perlas. The shallow warm waters around the archipelago are a very favorable place for humpback whales to stop over on their migration to warmer waters, which makes the possibility of spotting them between July and October extremely high.
Along your way to the islands, we started looking out for them while an expert guide explained us about the fascinating lifes and habits of the mystic creatures. We learned a lot of interesting details about their giant brains and incredible intelligence while the boat was respectfully and responsibly looking for the animals. It is a unique experience you share with people on the boat from all over the world when watching out for those majestic creatures together.
When we spotted the first one just one hour outside of the city, every thought of something else immediately disappeared when you see their giant bodies moving gently through the water. Goosebumps appeared on my skin when we witnessed their spectacular sense for communication, listening to their beautiful sounds like coming from another planet.
After we enjoyed a delicious lunch buffet on the island of Contadora, we spent the afternoon relaxing on the white-sanded beach and watching out for tropical fish and turtles when snorkeling the coral. On the way back to Panama City we spotted even more whales – in total we saw over 20 humpback whales just on one day! Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!