Bird and Hike the Cloud Forests of Western Panama - Apr 15-26, 2020

Registration is now open for a birding and hiking trip through the Cloud Forests of Western Panama. Join Thomas Bancroft, a professional ornithologist, naturalist, and Mountaineers leader, on an exciting 11-day trip in search of birds and wildlife.
Thomas Bancroft Thomas Bancroft
Global Adventures Leader
December 26, 2019

Our Global Adventures Committee leads exciting trips around the world every year to help you get outside while playing and learning in a new place. Registration is now open now for a birding and hiking trip through the Cloud Forests of Western Panama from April 15-26, 2020.

You'll spend  ten and half days hiking, birding, and exploring nature in the mountains of western Panama where three species of monkeys and over 200 bird species live, including Howler Monkeys, Resplendent Quetzals, and Three-wattle Bellbirds. This is a naturalist-oriented trip so the pace on our hikes will be slow with a focus on finding birds, wildlife and looking at flowers, trees, and various plants.

April is the transition from the dry season to the wet season and so the Caribbean and the Pacific are in a daily fight over who will dominate the weather. Tropical showers may catch us on some hikes and give us a different feel for the forest. It is also the start of the breeding season so the birds will be in full chorus and the monkeys caroling early in the morning.

A local naturalist will take us on hikes through the forests of the Cordillera de Talamanca. We'll spend eight nights at a the stunning Mount Totumas Lodge high in the mountains, and three nights in a cabin on a coffee plantation near Volcan. We'll enjoy hikes of 4-6 miles on well-maintained trails with elevation gains of under 1,000 feet into the remote jungle.

Spend afternoons watching ten hummingbird species zip around feeders, the clouds drift over the Rio Colorado valley, or simply relaxing in a tropical paradise.

Optional, late afternoon hikes into the rainforest will allow us to watch and listen to the forest change from day to night before returning to the lodge for a gourmet dinner. An optional, more strenuous hike will take us to the top of a volcanic cinder cone covered in Costa Rican oaks and bamboo. Around Volcan, we will use vehicles to transport us to natural habitats as well as a shade coffee plantation.

We will then spend three nights in a cabin at Finca Hartmann near Volcan, and bird in lower elevation forests where other species live.

The adventure starts and ends at the airport in David, Panama, where we will meet after our connecting flight from Panama City. I'll share information on the ecology and geology of the area, conservation challenges in the tropics, and connections between Latin American resident birds and the Neotropical migrants that come to the Pacific Northwest. 

Learn more & register

Thomas Bancroft is a professional ornithologist and naturalist, and volunteers his time as the chair of the Naturalist Group for The Mountaineers and as a Global Adventures Leader. Tom is also an active field trip leader and instructor, and passionate photographer.