Birding in Panama is a surprisingly big draw for panama photo tours: birding enthusiasts come from all around the world to learn at Casco Antiguo Spanish School before or after embarking on their birding tours. We’ve had many birders pass through our classrooms, wanting to brush up on their communication skills after they’ve begun a bird watching adventure around the capital, or learn some helpful words and phrases before they start a birding tour further afield in Panama.
Whatever the reason, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on Panama’s birding, from the best places to go, to the types of birds you might find on your trip, to the birding tour companies that are available.
Birders coming to Casco Antiguo Spanish School usually take our mini-group courses: semi private lessons for two hours are day, which are perfect if you’re planning an extended birding trip to Panama with friends or family. Just get in contact!
It might surprise you to learn that Panama is a bit of a hotspot for tropical birding in Central America – good enough to merit a mention in the New York Times. There are roughly 1000 species of birds in Panama, from the spectacled owl to the orange-chinned parakeets to the beautiful blue cotinga. And Panama’s birds can be easy to spot if you know where to go. Local guides, especially around the Central Panama and Panama Canal area, have extensive knowledge and will help you spot your first birds before you’ve even left the car park (no, really).
Here’s Casco Antiguo Spanish School’s guide to the best birding in Panama.
Best spots for birding in Panama
Panama Central and Panama Canal area
Surprisingly one of the best spots for Panama birding is also one of the most easily accessible: Panama Central, and especially around the canal area. There are several popular spots in the region, and the best thing about it is that it’s possible to stay in the capital itself and still be within easy reach of the hottest spots for wildlife viewing.
Gamboa and Soberanía National Park
Perhaps the most well-known birding spot in Panama Central is the Pipeline trail in Soberanía National Park. It has a strange history with an excellent conclusion: today, birds and wildlife abound here. A never-used petroleum pipeline and service road, the Pipeline hike stretches for 17.5km and the surrounding area has some of the highest diversity in the country.
Other good spots around Gamboa and the National Park are Fort Sherman, Achiote Road and the Plantation Trail. Ammo Ponds and Lake Gatun provide good opportunities to spot water birds such as herons.