Saturday, June 5, 2010

Exploring the Jungle of Panama- Part 1

I just got back from an astounding vacation in the tropics. How did I end up there? Well, it all started a few months ago when my parents gave me the opportunity to choose a present for graduation. Now, as a young birder and avid naturalist whose dream is to become a biologist traveling across the globe, I chose the perfect gift for myself: Exploring Panama. You see, my favorite place on planet Earth is the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. Since I was a little boy, I always dreamed about hiking through vast tracts of pristine jungle in search of monkeys, sloths, and gaudy birds. A couple years back, my dream came true. I was given a chance to go to Costa Rica. Now I had the opportunity to do whatever I wished. Instead of having a gigantic graduation party which would bring relatives from across the United States, I chose the option of revisiting the tropics.

At the beginning of this year, my dad and I planned, along with our travel agent, the journey that would take place in just a few months. I did my seemingly endless research and booked everything in my own head and simply passed all of my ideas and agendas off to my agent. Time flew. I began to get excited after the cue of realization came: AP Exams. Managing to get through them was not easy, but I did it. Before I knew it, my dad and I were off to Panama in a four and a half hour flight. The trip lasted eight days. Each day was filled with jam-packed fun and adventure. We left on May 22nd and came home the 29th.

Our first day in Panama: We arrived at Panama City International Airport in the early morning since we flew throughout the night. Jerry, a local guide specialized in history, picked us up and we headed over to our hotel, the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Although a five-star hotel, GRR is situated on the outer periphery of Soberania National Park, a 48,287 acre park comprised of old-growth and second-growth rainforest teeming with wildlife. We checked in and headed off to our private villa away from the main resort. Our villa was off the beaten path, a feature my dad did not like but one that I loved. Birds, mammals, butterflies, and herps abounded just outside our window. From the overview, we could see the action of the Panama Canal, into the thick canopy of the rainforest, and the small lawns bordering the resort. I didn't let go of my binnoculars once during the trip. We went to many amazing places and met some dynamite people. Read Part 2 for the widlife sightings and more of my amazing trek in the Jungle of Panama.

Here is a small preview of what is to come:

To see the full album of all my Panama Pics, click the link below.

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