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Wildlife Lodges team visit the fabulous Canopy Camp in the Darien, Panama

The new Canopy Camp on the edge of the jungle in the remote Darien region of Panama is a pure delight.

With our good friend Carlos Bethancourt of the Canopy Family we were able to visit this wonderful custom made Africa style safari camp. Set in beautiful grounds the camp is spaced out over a large area with all 8 tents set in their own area of lush gardens with wooden verandas mostly overlooking the protected forest of the Filo del Tallo Hydrological Reserve which covers some 65,000 acres. Another dream of Raul's the owner come true, this Camp will help to raise awareness of the potential that ecotourism has for sensitive area of the Darién. By creating a source of direct and indirect jobs and income for the local people, and offering educational opportunities in the communities and promoting environmental conservation this shows the potential of real eco-tourism. So our trip began with the 5 hour journey from the hustle and bustle of Panama City until we arrived at what was immediately and impressive looking luxury style camp that reminded us straight away of African Camps we were so used to.



This well designed camp set in beautifully landscaped grounds with flowering bushes that attract both hummingbirds and butterflies where it immediately gives off a sence of peace and tranquillity, Surrounded by forest and tall trees within the grounds the birding starts the moment you set foot from your comfotable tent. 

There in fact 8 African Style Safari Tents set apart from each other in different areas of the grounds, and most tents look straight out onto the forest allowing you excellent birding from from your deck. The tents are all built on huge decks and have outside bathrooms which are all private and have plenty of solar heated hot water showers, a wash basin, flush toilet, mirror, electric lights, fresh water despensor and are tastefully decorated with dark stained wood shelves, window slats, hooks etc. The tents themselves are large and roomy with either single King sized beds or two single beds. These beds are very comfortable and clean, and have both bedside lamps and overhead light. There are sockets(outlets to charge camera batteries, ipads etc, and a desk and chair with alarm clock and flashlight provided. Two of the tents are so called suites as they have an extra extension with room to hang clothes and store luaage. The floors of each tent are clean polished wooden panels, there is a coat stand, stand up fan, and plenty of insect proof mess windows to keep the tent light and airy.

The dining area Dining Roomand lounge area are both well designed and simply yet elegantly furnished. Undercover from the rain they are open air with ceiiling fans and lights. Coffee and Tea are available all the time as is water and often a freshly made juice or two. The self serve bar has a small selection of wines and beers and some miniture spirits for those who wish. The food is of a buffet style and freshly made and delicious. In the afternoons if you are not on an excursion the cooks make small snacks which again are very tasty. The lounge area has comfy seats tables, and even hammocks. There are also several hummingbird feeders which attract a number of species such as Pale-bellied Hermit, Violet-bellied Hummingbird, Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, Long-billed Starthroat, Blue-chested Hummingbird, White-vented Plumeleteer, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird and if you are lucky maybe the Rufous-crested Coquette we saw in the grounds could come to the feeder, although this and Blue-throated Golden-tail are most likely to be seen on the flowers. The very helpful and friendly staff will help out with any queries and can accommodation pretty much all dietary conditions.



THE GROUNDS:Nando's Trail
Set amidst flowering bushes and backdropped by lush forest the open areas around the dining room and even around the tents offers great opportunities for birding as well as a big selection of butterflies, a few reptiles and occasionally mammals such as Geoffroy's Tamarin and White-faced Capuchin Monkey both of which we easily saw. Mantled Howler Monkeys could be heard but were too far into the forest to see, although I'm sure they could also be visible if you were lucky.


Of course there are many exciting bird rich areas to visit within a short drive of the camp. Our first trip took us to an area where we were succesful in seeing the very restricted Black Oropendola. Another excursion took a while to reach but this huge wetland area in the middle of ranch land played host to a variety of excellent species and we were delighted to see nesting Spot-breasted Woodpeckers, a pair of Aplomado Falcons, Least Bittern, Rufescent Tiger-heron, Pied Water-tyrant, Black-capped Donacobius, aBoat Tripnd a huge heronry with hundreds of Cattle Egrets, Great Egrets, Little Blue Heron, Tr-colored Heron, and Both Black and Yellow-crowned Night Herons. Nearby we enjoyed great views of White-necked Puffbirds.

A superb day trip took us to the small village of Puerto Peñita on the Rio Chucanaque where we took two motorised dug out canoes and travelled up river to join the Rio Tuquesa where we went in search of several rare and exciting species. The highlight was watching and waiting on a grassy bank for the rare Dusky-backed Jacamar to appear on its favourite Cecropia trees. It duly appeared after a couple of hours waiting. We still had plenty of other birds to keep us busy including a stunning male Blue Cotinga, Spectacled Parrotlets, a very nice Agami Heron and Rufous-and-green Kingfisher, plus Northern Royal Flycatcher.


 Violet-bellied HummingbirdWhite-faced CapuchinSpot-crowned BarbetGeoffroy's TamarinGreen-and-rufous KingfisherSpot-crowned Barbet (Male)Spotlight CatoneTropical BuckeyeYellow-fronted Owl Butterfly





















Decking AreaDining AreaTentBedroom

 Inside the Tent



















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