Every day spent in Panama was filled with tremendous fun and adventure as well as A LOT of sweat, as anyone who has birded or visited the tropics can tell you. Generally when birding, it is best to venture out in the early, EARLY morning, remain indoors or near a pool for the afternoon hours which are often scorching, and then depart for some late-evening hikes in search of animals. When available, night tours are usually productive and worthwhile since a large portion of wildlife is active at night which inlcude many spectacular things such as owls, an array of insects, caimans, kinkajous, oppossums, nightjars, felids, and in Panama, night monkeys! When I disembarked on one of the night tours that the hotel offered, I didn't know exactly what to expect. Although there were no sightings of jaguars or night monkeys, we did get exceptional views of Common Pauraques(a species of nightjar), Oppossums, Spectacled Caimans, nine-foot American Crocodiles, fist-sized Tarantulas, Bats, and Capybara, the largest rodents in the world reaching a size of four feet.
We engaged in other activities as well. It was nice meeting a couple from the states, Jim and Arlene, and a man that tagged along with them named Larry. Of course when I met them, the only english-speaking birders around, I wanted to share my experiences with them. And as I did, they exchanged some of their wonderful sightings. Turns out, they were staying during the same time frame as my dad and I. Since we all bonded and liked each other, we decided it was only natural to go birding together. And birding we did. We traversed the rainforest, grasslands, and marshes sprinkled on the grounds of Gamboa. We picked up some fascinating creatures. Everywhere we turned there were animals, each one different in their own way. With my young, keen eyes and intuitive knowledge of tropical fauna and their awesome sense of humor and stamina, we ticked off 165 species of birds in a 8 day window. Now that number can be viewed in two different ways: high and low. Low in comparison to dogged birders traveling across the isthmus of Panama in hopes of ticking off as many species as possible from the high-altitude cloud forests to the humid rainforests of the lowlands and everything in between; and high in comparison to people who just manage to escape to a paradise like Panama and passively watch the birds. I could be placed in the middle. Although checking off the variety of birds was great, I did not just cross it off my list and move on, but rather studied their intriguing behavior and admired their mesmerizing plumages.
From every aspect you could possibly look, Panama is astounding. Anyone visiting this amazing country would leave happy because they can participate in practically every single hobby enjoyed by Homo sapiens. The multitude of tourists in the country can include but is no way limited to rugged hikers, mountain climbers, surfers, sport fishermen, birders, herpers, scenic-enthusiasts, ecotourists, researchers, and night-lifers. People like you can enjoy the myriad activities offered in Panama like the ones listed above by consulting your local travel agent. I was lucky enough to experience this dream-of-a-country for eight days. Now it's your time to get out and inquire more about Panama. Maybe in the near-future you can, too, enjoy the luxury of this stupendous country!
If you haven't already, read Parts 1 and 2 of my Exploration of Panama.
Also, feel free to have a look at the entire album of my Panama Pics by clicking the link below.