Darien Jungle Expedition in Pirre

Experience with a local team of expert guides a unique jungle adventure in Panama. Our Darien Expedition is a 5 days adventure that starts in Panama City where we will take the Pan- American Highway towards the eastern side of the of Panama to the world famous forest of the Darien National Park.

This National Park of 579,000 ha (1,400,000 acres) is situated in the eastern part of the country, bordering on Colombia and is the largest protected nature area of Central America and the Caribbean. Its prodigious nature includes mountain ranges reaching 2,500 m (7,500 ft),  wide range of habitats: sandy beaches, rocky coasts, mangroves, freshwater marshes, palm forest swamps and lowland and upland moist tropical forest.   Wetland forest along the Chucunaque and Tuira rivers is often covered by pure stands of cativo, this species being the most utilized timber tree in the region, and mangroves along the Pacific coast.    Also Darien contains a Premontane and montane forests, with several types of botanically interesting ecosystem including cloud forest and the elfin forest of Cerro Pirre.

Darien National park is home  of many extraordinary plant species that are unique in the world as well as some amazing beautiful animals, like the Jaguar (Felis Onca) and the Harpy Eagle (Harpia Harpyja).

This park is an adventure site that can give you unforgettable memories and experiences. The forest offers activities bird watching, hiking and jungle trekking, wildlife observation, 4 x 4 expeditions and boat trips on the river. The local communities of the Emberá and Wounan will share their wisdom, culture and traditions with the visitors.

For complete itinerary and details, please contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com  or our partner wholesalers

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Escape the winter to Panama

There are many reasons to visit Panama. You have probably already thought of the Panama Canal, which is one of the world’s most famous feats of modern engineering. Maybe you have considered the exotic jungles or the weather, which is warm year round. But there is much more to discover in Panama!

Cultural Diversity – The Panamanian cultural diversity consists of indigenous groups who keep their culture alive today to Caribbean and Latin American sub-cultures with influences of the Spanish conquistadores and also the pirates. Today, the country’s population is made up of Chinese, Jewish and Arab neighbors living in harmony with people and backpackers from around the world. Making Panama a truly and colorful melting pot.

Wildlife – There are an incredible number of animals living in Panama. Roughly 230 types of mammals and more than 1000 bird species. This does not include the numerous reptiles, amphibians and insect species!  You can spot amazing wildlife at just 45 minutes from the City limits. Butterflies as large as your hand freely fly through neighboring rainforests. There are sloths, Howler monkeys, toucans, agotis, coatimundis and other animals that make their home within the city limits of Panama City. Just imagine what you may encounter in the countryside… tiny brightly colored frogs, ocelots, anteaters and more.

Different Places to Be – It is quite well known that Panama has superb rainforests. Jungle excursions are a definite option here. For a slight change of scenery, we recommend visiting the cloud forest in the highlands, where lush mossy trees are covered by the fog and where wild orchids flourish. But this not only what the country has to offer. There are mountains, where world-famous coffee is grown such as the Geisha; mangrove swamps and even a desert in Sarigua, Azuero. And we have coasts on both sides of the country, 2,500 kilometers of it to be precise. Numerous beaches and islands in the Caribbean Sea and off the Pacific Coast are waiting to be explored. Crystal clear waters meet white sandy beaches with the occasional coconut tree, Panama is the place to be! Coral reefs? Panama has those too. And it’s all within easy reach. All it takes is few hours’ drive or a short flight to arrive to a unique picturesque destination! There is even a national park inside the city limits of Panama City!

Things to Do – There are many things to do in Panama. Adventure? There is river rafting, rock climbing, snorkeling and wilderness expeditions in the jungles of Darien, just to name a few. Also there is great kayaking as well, mountain biking, horseback riding and many other outdoor sports. There are many great surfing and diving spots that can be found in both oceans and the wonderful beaches on both coastlines. And for those who have had enough activity, there are so many hidden island retreats and luxurious spa options. Panama’s rich culture offers arts, cultural celebrations, great food and drink and local fiestas.

Panama City – Panama City deserves a visit. The Biodiversity Museum by Frank Gehry, little art galleries and amazing restaurants are waiting to be discover by you. Every weekend brings a new event, festival, concert or an exhibition. The beautiful colonial old quarters (UESCO World Heritage Site) known as Casco Antiguo, is always worth a visit. The combination of the old and new Panama City offers traditional crafts and modern art; old buildings set against the backdrop of the modern skyline and the accessible National Parks. And don’t miss the Jazz Festival in January!

For more information contact us info@ecocircuitos.com

Meet “our” Green Iguana

2000-01-02 01.14.03By Meret Schueschke

We have recently acquired a new visitor to our office: A Green Iguana who lives in the trees behind our building and occasionally stops by in front of our window.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGreen Iguanas can be found in the rainforests of Central America and the Caribbean, as well as in parts of South America.  Even though they seem slow at first, they are surprisingly agile and (as I can observe from the office as I write this) very good climbers.  And if they ever happen to fall, they can survive falls from as high as fifteen meters (50 Feet)!Iguanas are quite good swimmers as well (they use their long tails for moving along) and usually live near water.

Counting their long tails, these Lizards can grow to a length of almost two meters (6 feet) and can be up to 5 Kilos in weight.  During the day they move through the branches of the forest, where they forage for fruit and leaves. Usually the Green Iguana is a very peaceful animal who prefers to flee before it has to fight, and it can even cast off its tail to get out of a dangerous situation. If escape is not possible, the Iguana can use its long tail like a whip to defend itself.

We were, of course, wondering whether “our” Iguana is a male or female, but our operations manager Laura could help us out there: The one in front of our window is a male, recognizable by the thick spines on his back and the dewlap under his chin. During the mating season he shakes his head up and down to show off this dewlap and attract females.

In Panama and Costa Rica, the Iguanas have received the nickname “Gallina de Palo” or “Chicken of the Tree”, in reference to the fact that the local cultures have been using these lizards as a popular food source.  These days, Iguanas are not commonly eaten anymore, but they now face another danger: the American pet trade. Apparently, Green Iguanas are hugely popular as pets, and their species has been reduced to the point that they have been added to the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Appendix II, which means “their trade must be controlled so as to not harm the species in the future”.

The Green Iguana is a truly fascinating creature and watching it climb a tree is definitely a thing worth seeing.

Two new frog species in Panama

 

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Two new frog species were discovered just northeast of Panama City. Unfortunately they may be among the next victims of the fatal fungal disease decimating highland frogs worldwide, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

 

Anomaloglossus isthminus, first collected in 1974 near the El Llano-Cartí Road, was mistakenly called Colostethus chocoensis. STRI’s Roberto Ibáñez and César Jaramillo found the same species in streams at two more locations during a 1997 survey of the Panama Canal watershed. This species made the short list of endangered frogs to be saved by the Smithsonian’s Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project.

 

Taxonomist Charles Myers at the American Museum of Natural History realized that this was a new species by examining the specimens’ tongues. Among the few specimens examined, he identified a second closely related species, collected in the indigeous comarca of Kuna Yala in 1985 by Jorge Roldán. Myers named this one Anomaloglossus astralogaster for the starry pattern on its belly.

 

Captive breeders need tens of individuals to save a species from extinction. So far, too few of these frogs have been found to successfully breed them in captivity.

Source: STRI (Smithsonians Tropical Research Institute)

EcoCircuitos Jungle Boat Tour & Hiking in the Soberania National Park

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By Benita Rose

 

After having worked in the EcoCircuitos office in Panama City for about 1 ½ months now, my task as the new German intern and therefore one of the representatives of the company was to start getting to know the services that exceed our office-doors. Having read the description of our tour many, many times, and having added it to itineraries of our clients almost every day, I knew more or less what was expecting me. Nevertheless, participating in the tour in person was a way more exciting experience.

On our way to the Soberania National Park, guide Irvin and driver Roberto were a great team in knowing where to pass and what to explain to us. The 1 hour drive went by quickly as Irvin gave us some insight about different parts of the City, the Canal and various bridges we passed. As we got out of the car, we instantly noticed the change of climate. Although it was only a short drive, the humidity seemed to have risen a 30 %.

During our hike in the forest Irvin apparently knew every little detail that happens in nature: whether it was spotting any type of animal or (tiny) insects, where they would go, what kind of sounds they make or what kind of trees and plants can be used for medicine or survival – Irvin knew it. Since we were almost alone, the sounds of nature you could hear while walking were stunning. I secretly imagined sleeping in the rainforest, surrounded by hundreds of bird and animal sounds. I personally enjoyed listening to how Panama´s indigenous tribes survive living in the forest, how they hunt, how they make sure they have sufficient water, or what kind of plants can be used for their housing or living in general. A highlight of the hike was the monkeys we spotted. Their sounds could be heard from far away, but we actually managed to walk by right where they were climbing the trees.

Leaving the Soberania Park, we headed to our Jungle Boat Tour on the Chagres-River. I didn’t know what was expecting me, and was even more surprised when I found myself mentally back in the Tortugero National Park I had been to in Costa Rica a few years ago, definitely a somewhat jungle-experience. We spotted iguanas, crocodiles, and again about three different types of monkeys. Irvin was not just quick in spotting animals, but he was also more than up to date on his information about the river, its history and the plans for the future. The many little islands covered with tropical forest and wildlife we saw from the boat are supposed to be connected in the next few years, so that the animals have more space to live and spread. It was good to hear that something like that will be happening in the future.

All in all I was more than content with what I saw and learned on my first EcoCircuitos tour. I´m looking forward to the next experience and will definitely share it with you!