Do I Need a Special Vaccination to Enter Panama?

You may need malaria prophylaxis if you are planning on traveling to remote jungle areas such as the Darien. There are several cases of dengue fever reported annually throughout Panama; so we generally recommend avoiding mosquito bites by wearing long clothes and using repellents. Yellow fever also exists in certain parts of Panama, mostly in remote Jungle areas like the Darien. We recommend consulting your doctor before your trip to decide, whether vaccinations are necessary or not.

Yellow Fever vaccination 

As of November 01, 2008, Panama requires valid Yellow Fever Vaccination to enter or leave the country for the following countries:

South America: Bolivia, Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela.

Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo Democratic Rep., Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leona, Sudan.

If you have any health concerns, we strongly recommend consulting your doctor or clinic before traveling.

For more information about Panama and our FAQs.  Please click here

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Canopy Tent in Darien for birders!

Barred Puffbirds, Rufous-tailed Jacamars, White-headed Wrens and many more make up a distinct dawn chorus like no other in Panama.  Located in Central America’s most diverse and least-explored region, the Darién province of Panama is a birder’s paradise.  Situated in the humid lowlands of far eastern Panama, near the end of the Pan-American Highway, at the new Canopy Camp you can feel the wilderness around you, from just a step outside your tent.  Towering giants – Cuipo trees – provide a panorama of Darién, and are in clear view above the forest canopy, right from your tent.  It is in these enormous rainforest giants that Harpy Eagles and Crested Eagles place their nests and raise their young.

While you sip your morning coffee, listen for the buzzy trills of Golden-headed Manakins lekking in the forests beside the camp.  A walk with your knowledgeable guide will be thoroughly awe-inspiring and entertaining.  From tiny, colorful poison dart frogs on the forest floor to Red-throated Caracaras in the canopy above, these forests are full of life.  At the end of the day of exploring the region, settle into your tent and doze off to the calls of owls, potoos, nightjars and a symphony of frogs, bidding you good-night from the forests of Darién.

While enjoying the wilderness all around us, camp in comfort in custom-designed African safari-style tents with all the amenities we offer at our other eco-lodges.  Come explore Darién with us, we are sure you will have the birding adventure of your life!  contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com  or visit our site at EcoCircuitos Panama for more adventures

Did you Know about spectacled bear?

Spectacle bear
Spectacle bear

Did you know The spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), also known as the Andean bear and locally as “Oso de anteojos” is the last remaining short-faced bear and the closest living relative to the Florida spectacled bear and short-faced bears of the Middle Pleistocene to Late Pleistocene age. In other words, spectacled bears are the only surviving species of bear native to South America, and the only surviving member of the subfamily Tremarctinae. Spectacled bears are more herbivorous than most other bears; normally about 5 to 7% of their diets is meat and is technically the largest land carnivore on that continent. Compared to other living bears, this species has a more rounded face with a relatively short and broad snout. In some extinct species of the Tremarctinae subfamily, this facial structure has been thought to be an adaptation to a largely carnivorous diet, despite the modern spectacled bears’ herbivorous dietary preferences. Although spectacled bears are solitary and tend to isolate themselves from one another to avoid competition, they are not territorial. Mating may occur at almost any time of the year, but activity normally peaks in April and June, at the beginning of the wet season and corresponding with the peak of fruit-ripening. The mating pair are together for one to two weeks, during which they will copulate multiple times. Births usually occur in the dry season, between December and February. From one to three cubs may be born, with four being rare and two being the average. The cubs often stay with the female for one year before striking out on their own. Like other bears, mothers are protective of their young and have attacked poachers. The only predators of cubs are cougars (Puma concolor) and jaguars (Panthera onca). Lifespan in the wild has not been studied, but bears are believed to commonly live to 20 years or more unless they run afoul of humans. The longest-lived captive bear, at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, attained a lifespan of 36 years and 8 months.

Despite some spilling over rarely into eastern Panama (Darien), Spectacled Bears are mostly restricted to certain areas of northern and western South America. The specie is found almost entirely in the Andes Mountains. Before spectacled bear populations became fragmented during the last 500 years, the species had a reputation for being adaptable, as it is found in a wide variety of habitats and altitudes throughout its range, including cloud forests, high-altitude grasslands, dry forests and scrub deserts. The best habitats for spectacled bears are humid to very humid montane forests. Generally, the wetter these forests are the more food species there are that can support bears. Occasionally, they may reach altitudes as low as 250 m (820 ft), but are not typically found below 1,900 m (6,200 ft) in the foothills. They can even range up to the mountain snow line at over 5,000 m (16,000 ft) in elevation.

The spectacled bear population is under threat for a number of reasons. Unfortunately, still no species-level conservation efforts are known to exist for Spectacled bears. The bears are hunted by locals due to a belief they will eat livestock (although spectacled bears do not normally eat large quantities of meat). Their gall bladders (biliary vesicle) are also valued in traditional Chinese medicine and can fetch a high price on the international market. Perhaps the most epidemic problem for the species is extensive logging and farming, which has led to habitat loss for the largely tree-dependent bears. Legislation against hunting the bears exists, but is rarely enforced. The IUCN has recommended the following courses for Spectacled bear conservation: expansion and implementation of conservation land to prevent further development, greater species level research and monitoring of trends and threats, more concerted management of current conservation areas, stewardship programs for bears which engage local residents and the education of the public regarding spectacled bears, especially the benefits of conserving the species due to its effect on natural resources.

Transpanama trail completed by Rick Morales

When the original pioneers began settling the land that is Panamá such a trail existed; however, to this day there is no single map outlining the original route or the settlements along its path.  By undertaking this project, the volunteers of TransPanama Foundation realize a tangible sense of participation in the making of Panamanian history.

Recently one of the top naturalist guides of Panama, Rick Morales, had an adventure of his life:  Trekking the Transpanama Trail from the border of Colombia to the border of Costa Rica.   It took him 2 months and 27 days of adventures and hard walk.  He encounter different towns and communities and had the opportunity to connected with the roots of Panama and the different beautiful people along his amazing trip.

We are proud to announce that Rick Morales is one of the senior tour operators working with EcoCircuitos Panama.  For more information on the transpanama check thelink.

For more information on trekking and adventures in Panama, contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com or call our toll free number 1-800-830-7142

New Adventure in Darien National Park

Exploring, trekking and more in the heart of Darien

Day 1:  Darien National Park– Departure in 4 x 4 from Panama City after breakfast. We travel along the Pan-American Highway toward the border of Colombia. After several police checkpoints, we travel through a Kuna Indian reserve (Comarca) and stop at a small Kuna market in Ipeti. Once in the Darien Province the paved road ends and we begin travelling on rough terrain. We will lunch at local restaurant with simple food based on rice, beans and meat (usually chicken, pork or beef).   After lunch we continue to Filo del Tallo ecolodge, located inside a Wounaan community village.   This lodge offers three wooden houses with the roof made of palms.  The place offers spectacular view of the valley of Meteti, located in the heart of Darien.  This will be our camp for the next three days. Night hiking tour with our local guide.

Day 2:  Mangrove Cruise and visit to Boca Lara a Wounaan Community- Depending on the tide, we depart to Boca Lara community by motorized canoe sometime after breakfast.. On our way to Puerto Quimba, we may observe different bird species such as herons, kingfishers, ibis and many others. Marine wildlife can also be observed.  At the community we will learn about the way of life of the Wounaan people and will share their traditional dance and display finely crafted handcrafts. The Embera and Wounaan men are renowned for intricate sculptures made from cocobolo and Tagua, also known as vegetable ivory. The women are expert basket weavers, made from two different kinds of palm leaf fibers. The women dye the palm leaf with natural dyes they collect in the jungle.   Lunch prepare by the Wounaan women at the community.  Return to the hotel in the afternoon for dinner.

Day 3: Visit the Old Spanish Forts of San Lorenzo del Darien- This day you we will drive to Puerto Quimba to take a boat to the Bay of San Miguel.  Here we will visit the capital of Darien, La Palma an old town that hasn´t change for the last 50 years.  We will visit the Old Spanish forts and will go back in history when the Spaniards Conquistadores arrives to this land. We will learn about the important ecosystem of the mangrove forest surrounding us along the river and if the tide permits we will be able to walk to the Bueanvista beach.  Also this is a great place to spot dolphins.  Return to the lodge in the afternoon for dinner.

Day 4:  Deapart Panama.- After breakfast we will hike the forest around Filo del Tallo with our naturalist guide to learn about the Neotropical biodiversity of the area.  Lunch at the lodge.  Return to Panama City in the afternoon.

Includes: All transportation, 3 nights of lodging in an ecolodge, boat tours, all meals, expert bilingual guide and taxes.

For prices and custom itineraries please contact annie@ecocircuitos.com or info@ecocircuitos.com  visit:  http://www.ecocircuitos.com