EcoCircuitos new Video

Dear friends and colleagues, check this beautiful video that promotes Panama, conservation and education.

 

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Re-Discovering Colon Province

By Carina Forster

The low season is here!   the time when the EcoCircuitos team explores the regions of beautiful Panama, looking for new exciting activities, tasty restaurants and nice hotels to use in our programs. All departments are working together, developing ideas and creating new exciting itineraries to our favorite places in Panama. Yesterday we explored beautiful Colon region, with its laid-back Caribbean flair, deep rainforests and colorful towns full of pirates and buccaneers history.

Crossing the country in the early morning by train, our way led along the Panama Canal from Panama City on the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean town of Colon. We quickly forgot the early hours with breathtaking views of lush rainforest, the Panama Canal and jungle lakes covered in mystic morning fog.

Being picked up by our EcoCircuitos driver Roberto at the train station in Colon, we started our road trip along the palm-fringed coast line to the colorful town of Portobelo. The charming little village does not only offer incredible history, with once being one of the most important ports in the Caribbean Sea, but surprises with lovely remains of African culture in form of Congo dances and expressive pieces of art next to lush rainforest adventures and superb snorkeling.

Every team member has his or her own preferences and opinions; however, when it came to the Arrecifes restaurant we discovered in the town of Colon, everyone was just as excited about the delicious typical fresh seafood lunch offered next to an extensive view of the Panama Canal.

To continue our road trip deep into the jungle to the Fort of San Lorenzo, we waited for a spot between large container ships to cross the Panama Canal by ferry. Following a romantic wild road surrounded by lush rainforest, we let monkeys, birds and coatimundis cross the street. The fortress of San Lorenzo lies on the edge of steep cliffs, overlooking the surrounding coast lines with abandoned beaches and wild rainforest as far as your eyes can reach.

After a successful day of collecting inspirations, testing logistics and forming partnerships, the creative part starts, with using our experiences and ideas for developing unique brand-new itineraries.

EcoCircuitos Pride Tours

By:  Carina Forster – Intern from Austria

Over the years Panama has become a multi-cultural place, influenced by a variety of different world-powers. Today it is considered one of the most open-minded countries for gay people in Central America. Even though Panama is a religious catholic country and gay marriage is still not legal, people are generally accepting on a personal level. The constantly growing Gay Community in Panama is very welcoming and accessible. Since 2005, a Gay Pride Parade is held every year and the famous annual carnival on the Peninsula Azuero has become an adopted holiday for Panama’s gay population.

Nightlife is extensive in Panama City; there are several Gourmet Restaurants, Clubs and Bars where you can party until dawn. During the day time you can find a variety of beaches, forests, and historical sites along with many other interesting things to see. Panama offers a wide variety of gay friendly hotels at amazing destinations. Weather you seek for party, luxury, adventure, family trips or a romantic time with your partner, Panama is the place for you to go.

EcoCircuitos offers various LGBT tours and vacation options throughout Panama:

  • Adventure Tours
  • Honeymoon
  • Beach Retreats
  • Romantic Tours
  • Family Tours
  • Educational Tours

Join our tours!  and work with the family!

New Coffee Farm: Finca Ceriana

Strategically located between the highlands and lowlands of Chiriquí, Finca Ceriana forms part of a privately protected area for the conservation of flora and fauna in the region.

One of Finca Ceriana’s unique characteristics is the number of bird species and other animals from the upper and lower mountain areas. The property is part of the biological corridor that hosts the famous volcano lagoons and a large variety of animal and plant species. Apart from being an important migration zone for birds, the biological corridor of the lagoons and Finca Ceriana is vital for the wellbeing of the protected areas of La Amistad International Park and Baru Volcano National Park. 

The farm offers its visitors easy nature trails for outdoor activities and particularly bird watching, a unique canopy tower, gourmet picnic, sugar cane mill and much more. The total area counts 10 hectares of protected land and nearly 3 kilometers of nature trails, in addition to one of the most beautiful views to Costa Rica’s Golfo Dulce and Osa peninsula as well as to Punta Burica in Panama.

 

Zika Virus in Central America and Panama

The World Health Organisation advise pregnant women or women who are trying to become pregnant against traveling to Zika-affected areas due to risk of birth defects.

Zika cases have been verified across Latin America, including Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Travellers should take the basic precautions described above to protect themselves from mosquito bites.   The best protection from Zika virus is preventing mosquito bites. Preventing mosquito bites will protect people from Zika virus, as well as other diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes such as dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

This can be done by using insect repellent; wearing clothes (preferably light-coloured) that cover as much of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows; and sleeping under mosquito nets. It is also important to empty, clean or cover containers that can hold water such as buckets, flower pots or tyres, so that places where mosquitoes can breed are removed.

What is the Zika virus?

Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

If Zika fever itself is usually mild, why is it getting so much attention?

In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.

In response, CDC has issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

Is it safe to travel to affected regions?

Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant:

Pregnant women in any trimester or women trying to become pregnant should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who do travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare provider first.

What’s happening in Panama?

EcoCircuitos knows of no Zika cases having been reported by any of our clients and travelers, and the only area being affected so far is Kuna Yala in the San Blas Islands. However, local governments are beginning to advise women to consider postponing pregnancy due to the uncertainty of the virus and its connection to birth defects.

EcoCircuitos advice all tour passengers to travel sensibly, and to take preventive measures against mosquito bites, as one naturally does when traveling to the Tropics.  Any passenger who is pregnant or think they may become pregnant during or prior to their trip should contact their doctor and consider cancelling their trip in accordance with CDC/WHO advice.

We invite you to watch this video from WHO.

Mount Totumas Cloud Forest Reserve

EcoCircuitos staff visited Mount Totumas Cloud Forest Reserve, located in Los Pozos Volcan at 6 miles up a scenic 4WD road.  We enjoyed a two day hiking adventure and superb birdwatching, including spotting a male Quetzal and a Black and Crested Guan among other species. Mount Totumas Cloud Forest is a 400 acre reserve bordering the 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 present such as Resplendent Quetzals, Three Wattled Bellbirds, Baird’s Tapir, Mantled Howler Monkey, Black and Crested Guan, White-Faced Capuchin monkeys, spider monkeys, mountain lions, ocelots and even Jaguars have been spotted in neighboring national park. The reserve is in a remote wilderness location with cabins and lodge that offers all the basic amenities thanks to a sustainable off the grid micro hydro power plant that taps the power of a nearby stream. For 2015 EcoCircuitos is offering a 4 day adventure at Mount Totumas Private Reserve – where you can experience the real beauty of the Cloud forest.  If you are an avid birder,  a hiker or just love wildlife observation and conservation, this is the adventure for you.   Contact us for more information:  www.ecocircuitos.com

Bird List Mount Totumas Cloud Forest:

Highland Tinamou

Black Guan
Crested Guan
Grey-headed Chacalaca

Spotted Wood Quail

Cattle Egret

Turkey Vulture

Black Vulture

Swallow-Tailed Kite
Plumbeous Kite
Ornate Hawk Eagle

Broad-winged Hawk
Short-tailed Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk

Great Black Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk
Roadside Hawk
Yellow Headed Caracara

Collared Forest Falcon

American Kestrel
Bat Falcon

Spotted Sandpiper

Band-Tailed Pigeon
Ruddy Pigeon

Buff-Fronted Quail Dove

Chiriqui Quail Dove

White-Tipped Dove

Sulfur-winged Parakeet

Crimson-fronted Parakeet

Blue-Headed Parrot
Brown-hooded Parrot

Spectacled Owl
Mottled Owl

Bare-shanked Screech Owl

Common Pauraque

Dusky Nightjar

White-Collared Swift

Vauxs Swift

Scintillant Hummingbird
Fiery-throated Hummingbird

Volcano Hummingbird

Stripe-Tailed Hummingbird

Purple-Throated Mountain Gem

White-throated Mountain Gem

Green Hermit

Violet Sabrewing

Magnificent Hummingbird

Green Violet-Ear
Brown Violet-Ear

Green-Crowned Brilliant

Snowy Bellied Hummingbird
Magenta-throated Woodstar
Purple-crowned Fairy
Long-billed Starthroat
Snowcap
Resplendent Quetzal

Collared Trogon
Orange-bellied Trogon

Blue-Crowned Motmot

Blue-throated Toucanet
Fiery-billed Aracari
Prong-billed Barbet

Red-Headed Barbet

Acorn Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Red-Crowned Woodpecker
Smoky-brown Woodpecker
Golden-Olive Woodpecker
Olivaceous Piculet

Ruddy Tree Runner

Lineated Foilage-Gleaner

Spectacled Foilage-Gleaner

Spotted Barbtail
Red-Faced Spinetail

Spot-crowned Woodcreeper

Olivaceous Woodcreeper
Buffy Tuftedcheek
Streak-breasted Treehunter

Silvery-fronted Tapaculo

Mountain Elaenia

Yellow-Bellied Elaenia

Torrent Tyrannulet

Common Tody-Flycatcher

Rough-legged Tyranulet

White-Throated Spadebill

Tufted Flycatcher

Ochraceous Pewee

Western Wood-Pewee
Olive-sided Flycatcher

Dark Pewee

Yellow-bellied Flycatcherr
Black Phoebe
Yellowish Flycatcher

Bright-Rumped Atitla

Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Panama Flycatcher

Great Kiskadee

Social Flycatcher

Boat-billed Flycatcher

Golden-bellied Flycatcher

Streaked Flycatcher

Tropical Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird
Masked Tityra

White-Winged Becard
Barred Becard
Three-Wattled Bellbird
Yellow-winged Vireo

Yellow-Throated Vireo
Brown-capped Vireo

Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo

Rufous-Browed Peppershrike

Silvery-Throated Jay
Brown Jay

Blue and White Swallow
Barn Swallow
Southern Rough-winged Swallow

Ochraceous Wren

House Wren

Grey-Breasted Woodwren
Southern Nightingale-Wren

American Dipper

Mountain Thrush
Clay-colored Thrush

Black-faced Solitaire

Orange-Billed Nightingale Thrush
Ruddy-capped Nightingale Thrush
Black-billed Nightingale Thrush

Slaty-backed Nightingale Thrush

Swainsons Thrush
Wood Thrush
White-throated Thrush

Black and Yellow Silky-Flycatcher

Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher

Black and White Warbler

Wilsons Warbler
Canada Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler
Magnolia Warbler

Collared Redstart

Slate-throated Redstart
Black cheeked Warbler

Buff-rumped Warbler
wrenthrush

Mourning Warbler

Flame Throated Warbler

Golden Winged Warbler

Three Striped Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Tennessee Warbler

Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
Louisiana Waterthrush

Common Bush Tanager

Sooty Capped Bush Tanager

Silver-throated Tanager

Summer Tanager

Flame Colored Tanager
Cherrie’s Tanager

Blue Grey Tanager

White Winged Tanager

Bay Headed Tanager

Spangle Cheeked Tanager

Golden-Hooded Tanager

Scarlet-Thighed Dacnis
Red-legged Honeycreeper

Buff-throated Saltator

Streaked Saltator

Yellow-faced Grassquit
Blue-Black Grassquit

White-naped Brush Finch

Yellow-thighed Finch

Chestnut Capped Brush Finch

Large Footed Finch

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Rufous-collared Sparrow

Slaty Flower-piercer

Baltimore Oriole
Eastern Meadowlark

Shiny Cowbird
Bronzed Cowbird

Great-Tailed Grackle

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Elegant Euphonia
Spot-crowned Euphonia
Yellow-throated Euphonia
Golden Browed Chlorophonia
Yellow-bellied Siskin

* Elevation range from 1500 to 2200ft (including Rio Colorado drainage in La Amistad National Park)

** Last updated May 6, 2014