This year we are going to Panama. I have gotten the information, and I'm posting it here in case anyone is interested. You have to be a member of the Amazona Society to go, but joining is only $25/year, and they have a really nice quarterly newsletter.
So here it is, directly from the flyer, in case anyone is interested:
The Amazona Society Panama Birding Trip Spring 2007
Located at the southern end of Middle America, Panama is a land bridge where the faunas of North and South America meet and intermingle. Because of its geographical location, Panama’s avifauna is exceptionally large (883 species have been reported). Panama is one of the top bird watching spots of the world.
When: February 17--27, 2007
Guided Trip to Be Led By: Wilberto “Willie” Martinez, President of NATTUR PANAMA, www.natturpanama.com
Cost of Trip: $1500 per person based on double occupancy, includes all lodging and most meals, park entrance fees, personal guide services of a local guide/naturalist the entire trip, bus transportation, boat rides, and commuter flights within Panama. Due to fluctuating gas prices that affect airfares, it is difficult to anticipate what the cost of all commuter flights will be so far in advance. Your airfare from the USA to and from Panama City is not included in this rate. All airport taxes including departure tax, phone calls, internet use, single rooms, alcoholic beverages, tips and souvenirs are also not included. An additional charge will be assessed for single rooms.
The Amazona Society hosts birding trips to eco-friendly places while patronizing small business owned facilities whose owners are interested in conservation. This trip consists of 4 commuter flights (2 round trips) within Panama. Most of these flights have limits on the amount of luggage that can be carried. The weight limit is approximately 25 pounds per person plus what you are wearing and carrying. This means that you must travel very light and bring only what is absolutely necessary. There may be an opportunity to store some belongings in Panama City prior to the commuter flights, but this is not guaranteed, and you should not plan on this. It is expected that you will be in good health and fitness prior to this trip. Most settings will be remote and rural without the kind of medical facilities you would expect in the USA. There will be opportunities to opt-out of individual activities such as birding walks, swimming, or snorkeling once we are in a specific location, but we will be traveling together as a group the entire time we are in Panama.
Itinerary for Guided Trip:
(Feb 17) Day 1 - travel to Panama City, Panama, night at Las Vegas Panama Hotel, www.lasvegaspanama.com
(Feb 18) Day 2 - full day of birding on Pipeline Road, night at Las Vegas Panama Hotel
(Feb 19) Day 3 - commuter flight to Archipielago de San Blas (San Blas Island) in AM, overnight at San Blas
(Feb 20) Day 4 - full day birding and snorkeling, mola shopping, overnight San Blas
(Feb 21) Day 5 – commuter flight to Panama City in AM, transfer to Bocas del Toro, Overnight at Swan Cay Hotel
(Feb 22) Day 6 – full day birding, swimming, boat ride around island, overnight Swan Cay Hotel
(Feb 23) Day 7 – full day birding, swimming and relaxing, overnight Swan Cay Hotel
(Feb 24) Day 8 – boat ride and drive to Willie Mazu Rancho Ecologico and overnight at Willie Mazu
(Feb 25) Day 9 – full day birding and relaxing, overnight Willie Mazu
(Feb 26) Day 10 – commuter flight to Panama City in afternoon, overnight Las Vegas Panama Hotel
(Feb 27) Day 11 – departure to USA
Optional Unguided Add On Trip: February 27-March 2, 3 or ?, 2007
Itinerary for Unguided Trip
This optional add on trip is unguided, and will be an additional charge. It is expected that you would feel comfortable traveling on your own in a foreign country. All those remaining in Panama for this optional trip will most likely chose to stay together as a small group. We will be staying at the Hacienda Del Mar Resort is a private island resort that offers tours for bird watching, fishing, island exploring, etc. It is anticipated that the resort will have some English speaking staff, but you should feel comfortable traveling without the assistance of a guide. The length of time depends on how long you want to stay. This can be negotiated between the individuals who will be extending their trip.
(Feb 27) Day 11- commuter flight from Panama City to Archipielago de las Perlas (Pearl Islands), overnight at Hacienda Del Mar Resort, www.haciendadelmar.net
(March 1) Day 12 – full day birding, snorkeling or swimming Pearl Islands, overnight Hacienda Del Mar Resort
Extend trip as long as you want or
(March 2) Day 13 –commuter flight back to Panama City with overnight at any hotel in Panama City or immediate departure to USA
(March 3) Day 14 – Departure to USA for those staying overnight in Panama City
I'm telling you folks, last year in Costa Rica was an experience I will cherish the rest of my life. My husband and I are going this year and taking the add on tour, too. Even if you can't go, rest assured I will share it with you when I return. I would love it if some of you would join us. It's a great bunch of people to go with and an adventure you will remember for a lifetime.
My husband and I are starting to seriously discuss that trek to Peru and the clay licks. Won't happen for another couple of years, but it's definitely on the agenda. This stuff gets to be a habit.