December 3, 2023

Introduction to Tropical Biodiversity 2023

Drs. Carol Simon and Howard Topoff 

Introduction to Tropical Biodiversity is an amazing tour offered once a year and sponsored by the Canopy Family and Naturalist Journeys. In 2023, Drs. Carol Simon and Howard Topoff with the help of our Canopy Family guides Igua Jiménez and Tino Sánchez, took eight excited visitors to the Canopy Lodge and the Canopy Tower to show them the astonishing wonders of the Panamanian tropical forests.

July 11, 2023

Herpetology at the Isthmus Tour

Dr. Stephen Mullin

Dr. Stephen Mullin and doctoral student Jessica Yates, with the help of the Canopy Family guides Jorge Pineda, Erick Rodríguez and Eliécer Rodríguez, and the biologist Sam Sucre, took nine excited participants through eight nights of amazing night and day hikes, looking for the incredible species of amphibians and reptiles in the habitats surrounding Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge. They also spotted a lot of birds and mammals on the way!

June 30, 2022

Panama: Enjoying a Green Season Adventure, Jun 6-26, 2021

Scott Kampmeier

What an experience!  With over 350 bird species seen and 10+ bird species heard as well as a nice assortment of animals observed, all within fairly close proximity to three welcoming and comfortable ecolodges operated by knowledgeable and friendly guides and staff, what’s not to enjoy.  Thank you to the entire Canopy Family for providing such an excellent Green Season adventure. 

April 30, 2020

Field Guides: Panama’s Canopy Tower & Lodge, Mar 8-15, 2020

John Coons

We enjoyed a wonderful week of birding that seemed to pass too quickly before we got on planes and faced the reality of how much things changed while we were birding tropical forests, dry scrub and coastal lowlands. From our first morning on top of the Canopy Tower to our last spot on the beach at Santa Clara, we enjoyed a plethora of birds.… 

April 30, 2020

Field Guides: Panama’s Canopy Tower (with Canopy Lodge Extension), Feb 8-12, 2020

John Coons

Our week at the Canopy Tower and three nights at the Canopy Lodge was a great time. We enjoyed good weather with warm but not overly hot temps, and a rain one evening that got bird activity going the next morning. The Tower and adjacent forest is a great place to get lowland tropical birding off to a start.…

Jan 3, 2020

Panama’s Incredible Flora, 2019


We wanted a relaxed holiday with wildlife, especially flora for me and some birds for Ken and that was exactly what we got.
The atmosphere at Tower & Lodge were very relaxing and the setting at the Lodge was also very pleasant.
All collections/transfers were prompt and the drivers very courteous.
It is sad that more people didn’t take advantage of this tour as Jerry & Linda led us very well and worked together as a team to give us a really good tour. Jerry has an excellent botanical knowledge and on the odd occasion when there was a query he always had a colleague to contact for advice. I know from experience that Flora tours are nowhere near as popular as birding tours and I think this a shame as birds do rely heavily on the botanics!

Dec 16, 2019

Introduction to Tropical Biodiversity, October 14-22, 2019

Drs. Carol Simon and Howard Topoff

Our group spent four nights in the Panamanian lowlands at the Canopy Tower and another four in cloud forest at the Canopy Lodge. In very different habitats, and at different elevations, conditions were optimal for us to see a great variety of birds, butterflies and other insects and arachnids, frogs, lizards and mammals. In general, we were in the field twice a day, and added several night excursions. We also visited cultural centers such as the El Valle Market, an Embera Village, the Miraflores Locks on the Panama Canal and the BioMuseo in Panama City, which celebrates Panamanian biodiversity. The trip was enhanced by almost daily lectures by our guest scientists.

Sep 19, 2019

Panama’s Brilliant Butterflies & Butterflies of Canopy Camp Darien, August 18-30, 2019

Linda Harrison

Our two August Butterfly tours produced 336 total species seen, with 245 species on outings from the Canopy Lodge and Tower and 189 species in and around Canopy Camp.  Along with the butterflies we also enjoyed seeing many moths, beetles and other interesting creatures.  The tour added 9 new butterfly species that were additions to our Canopy Family Butterfly species list, bringing our Canopy Butterfly list total to 1013!  So, come and join us for one or both of Canopy Butterfly tours and see how many of the 1013 species you can find!

Aug 20, 2019

Panama: Birding, Nature & History, July 27-August 3, 2019

Species list

Naturalist Journeys and Caligo Ventures

A sensational week with six of the nights being based at the fabulous Canopy Camp in Darien Province. This was a ‘green season’ trip, rain and humidity to be expected. Fortunately for us, while it rained and rained heavily at times, the weather never disrupted our plans and we skillfully (or perhaps luckily!) skirted around the daily thunderstorms with great success. At the helm we had Igua and Oscar, two fantastic local guides who had grown up locally and knew the area inside out. The impressive species list is testament to the effort put in by the whole group, not just our hard-working leaders and we tallied no less 222 species a mere 8 of which were ‘heard-only’. The biggest success came in the form of two very large, very rare raptors and to see both Harpy and Crested Eagles in a single trip was almost too good to be true! … Not only that, the friendly, easy-going nature of the Panamanian people and its local guides made for an extremely pleasant birding experience in a fairly remote part of the World.

July 28, 2019

Panama’s Brilliant Butterflies, August 18-25, 2019

Sarab Seth

Tino is the most amazing guide I have ever encountered in many years of butterflying in several countries.   He has an eagle eye, and I cannot comprehend how he carries 900 butterflies in his head, and recognizes everything at a glance.  He regularly spotted butterflies 80, 90 and even 100 feet away.  I plan to come back every year as long as Tino is on your staff. And all my butterfly friends are going to be hearing about the fabulous trip I had.  I also want to commend Cody.  He takes his job very seriously, and he was just the perfect host in every way.  Always making sure that everything was okay, and taking care of anything that was not.

February 16, 2019

Panama 2019: The Birds & Wildlife

Joe & Mary Ann McDonald

Renowned wildlife photographers Joe and Mary Ann McDonald provide this detailed trip report from their scouting trip to all the Canopy Family lodges in January 2019. They give a detailed report of the lodges and wildlife, as well as their photography considerations they took during their visit. This trip report also includes many of the their beautiful photos!

December 20, 2018

Panama’s Brilliant Butterflies & Butterflies of Canopy Camp Darien Trip List, December 1-13, 2018

Canopy Family

This combo tour of our two signature butterfly tours covered all the Canopy Family lodges and finished up with over 300 species seen in under 2 weeks! A new butterfly for our species list surprised us in Darien (way out of its range), and check out the back of this list for photo highlights from the tours.

August 20, 2018

Panama’s Brilliant Butterflies Trip List, August 11-18, 2018

Canopy Family

This tour proved to embrace Panama’s abundance of butterflies in August with 244 species seen, 11 new for the Canopy Family species list. The butterfly activity around the Canopy Lodge and Canopy Tower was enjoyed by all participants and guides!

August 13, 2018

Red Hill Birding: Top Birding Lodges of Panama with the Illinois Ornithological Society, June 26 – July 5, 2018

Adam Sell and Josh Engel

With an incredible diversity of birds in a small area, wonderful lodges, and great infrastructure, we tallied more than 300 species while staying at two of the best birding lodges anywhere in Central America. While staying at Canopy Tower, we birded Pipeline Road and other lowland sites in Soberanía National Park and spent a day in the higher elevations of Cerro Azul. We then shifted to Canopy Lodge in the beautiful, cool El Valle de Anton, birding the extensive forests around El Valle and taking a day trip to coastal wetlands and the nearby drier, more open forests in that area. This was the rainy season in Panama, but rain hardly interfered with our birding at all and we generally had nice weather throughout the trip.

August 13, 2018

Red Hill Birding: Darien Extension A week on the wild side of Panama, July 5-10, 2018

Adam Sell

Few places in Central America invoke feelings of tropical wilderness like Panama’s Darién province. The Panamerican Highway sees its first and only end along its passage to Tierra del Fuego. The “Darién Gap”, as it is known, spans across the southeastern end of Panama from the end-of-the-road town of Yaviza to the border of Colombia, where the road picks up again. This wilderness has drawn many adventurers and birders alike to be a part of one of the vastest wildernesses in the new world. Our station for the extension, the Canopy Family’s “Canopy Camp” put us just west of Yaviza and a stone’s throw from many of the Darién’s specialty birds.

July 02, 2018

Herpetology at the Isthmus, June 11-19, 2018

Our second Herpetology at the Isthmus tour was jam packed with sightings of amazing reptiles and amphibians! A total of 54 herps were seen during the week at the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge. Here is the final trip list – a great week was enjoyed by all. Thanks to our guest herpetologist Stephen Mullin who joined us for the tour!

June 15, 2018

Field Guides: Panama’s Canopy Tower, Feb 4-10, 2018

Chris Benesh

The 2018 Panama Canopy Tower tour was a big hit with generally fine weather and some terrific birding with our local expert Alex Sanchez. We scored over 200 species in just a few days including some really terrific highlights. We did particularly well with raptors, in my mind, and some of those views were just mind-blowing. The Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon and the Black Hawk Eagle were awesome. We also had a great look at a Pheasant Cuckoo at the Discovery Center and many many more.

June 15, 2018

Field Guides: Panama’s Canopy Tower & Lodge, March 11-18, 2018

John Coons

We enjoyed a great week of birding at both the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge. It is so nice to stay in a couple of places with access to a variety of birding sites and habitats and it is hard to be in more comfortable birding-friendly environs. It is difficult to beat Howler Monkeys as alarm clocks and Red-naped Tamarins entertaining us while eating bananas right next to the Tower.

June 15, 2018

Field Guides: Panama’s Canopy Camp: Lowland Darien, Dec 26, 2017 to Jan 6, 2018

John Coons

One of the great aspects of birding in Darien is there is always the chance of a surprise along the way. It didn’t take us long to find one of these surprises. Driving from Panama City on our first day we stopped near the Rio Torti to look for a few area specialties and found a Russet-throated Puffbird, a bird new to Panama and to Central America. It was a great way to start our trip.

June 15, 2018

VENT: Panama’s Darien Lowlands: Canopy Camp, January 13-21, 2018

Tony Nunnery

Each day provided memorable moments, as one would expect from such a magical place. Following are some other extraordinary highlights that triggered delight and excitement within the group. For example, there was a pair of Black-tailed Trogons feeding, perching, and posing for the cameras at the Camp shortly after a Crimson-crested Woodpecker left the same tree. There was the moment at Aligandi where everyone watched a Bat Falcon flying in circles around, and then dive bombing, a White Hawk that flew through his territory. At Las Peñitas there was a slow-moving mixed flock feeding around everyone, which gave us ample time to see and sort through the various species within the flock.

June 15, 2018

VENT: Panama’s Canopy Tower & El Valle’s Canopy Lodge, Jan 4-16, 2018

Jeri Langham

As dawn approached we began to hear Barred, Slaty-backed, and Collared forest- falcons, plus both Rufous and Broad-billed motmots. As it got lighter, we started seeing birds on all sides of the tower. Highlights at the tower were Keel-billed Toucans, Blue Dacnis, Red-lored and Blue-headed parrots, Bay-headed Tanager, Brown-capped Tyrannulet, and White-necked Jacobin, but the best of all was everyone getting stellar views of Green Shrike-Vireo.

June 15, 2018

WINGS: Panama: Spring at the Canopy Tower, March 2018

Gavin Bieber

The 2018 Spring Panama tour combined seasonably dry weather with a wonderful array of neotropical birds. Our week at the Canopy Tower produced 293 species of birds and an incredible 19 species of mammals (387 species of birds and 20 mammals with the extension included).

June 15, 2018

Panama: In Search of the Harpy Eagle, March 29 to April 5, 2018

Mark Garland

This trip visited the Canopy Camp Darien in eastern Panama, with a single bird as the primary goal. We were hoping to see the iconic Harpy Eagle, rare denizen of pristine rainforests of the American tropics, the largest and most powerful forest-dwelling raptor in the world. Of course Harpy Eagles are just part of a vibrant ecosystem, and once we’d enjoyed spectacular views of Harpy Eagle, we then enjoyed many other elements of this mega-diverse environment.

June 14, 2018

Panama’s Brilliant Butterflies and Butterflies of Canopy Camp Darien Trip List, May 25 – June 9, 2018

Canopy Family

This year’s first round of butterfly tours at the Canopy Lodge, Canopy Tower and Canopy Camp Darien turned up a total of 345 species of butterflies, 17 of which were new for the growing Canopy Family butterfly list!

February 20, 2018

WINGS Birding Tours: Panama, Darien Lowlands, Nov 25 – Dec 1, 2017 narrative

Gavin Bieber

The bird highlights were many, from huge Great Green Macaws floating by to Blue Cotingas gleaming from the trees, Black Antshrikes lurking in the undergrowth, Spot-breasted and Golden-green Woodpeckers working trees just overhead, Dusky-backed Jacamars courtship feeding or the surprisingly attractive and range restricted Black Oropendolas there were truly wonderful birds throughout the trip.

February 20, 2018

Naturetrek: Panama – Birding the Darien Gap, September 23 – October 1, 2017

A venture into the wilds of Darien produced spectacular finds, including not one but TWO Harpy Eagles in two different locations, plus many of the other avian specialties of the region. This trip report features a day-to-day account and a full list of species seen, including birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

February 20, 2018

VENT: Panama: Fall at El Valle’s Canopy Lodge, October 7-14, 2017

Barry Zimmer

After a short, three-hour drive to the Canopy Lodge in El Valle, we were greeted by a squadron of colorful birds at the feeders and in the garden—Rufous Motmot; Long-billed Starthroat; Snowy-bellied Hummingbird; Red-crowned Woodpecker; Crimson-backed, Flame-rumped, Blue-gray, Palm, Plain-colored, and Dusky-faced tanagers; and gem-like Thick-billed Euphonias. Even our ensuing lunch was interrupted by a Purple-crowned Fairy flitting about an Erythrina tree. An afternoon walk above the lodge produced Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Bay Wren, Black-chested Jays, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Bay-headed Tanager, Green Honeycreeper, and a Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth. And that just concluded the first day! Read Barry’s full trip report and trip list here!

February 20, 2018

VENT: Panama: A Relaxed & Easy Tour, November 12-18, 2017

David Ascanio

A silent night in the peaceful town of Gamboa was followed by a wild blast of birds at dawn near the lodge. What a way to start our Panama Canal tour! The bird feeder was our first step to identify some of the common and colorful species that included Plain-colored, Blue-gray, Palm, Crimson-backed, and Golden-hooded tanagers. In addition to this kaleidoscope of colors, we also saw Red-legged and Shining honeycreepers, Orange-chinned Parakeet, and Buff-throated Saltator. As the morning warmed up, we walked in the streets of Gamboa and added Common Tody-Flycatcher, Baltimore Oriole, Gray-headed Chachalacas, Gray-lined Hawk, and three Short-tailed Hawks in flight. A slow afternoon (due to the rain) gave us the chance to obtain close views of Gartered Trogon and a female Blue Cotinga. Read more of David’s trip details and full list here.

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