Birdwatching in Panama

Geographic birding in Panama can be divided into three major zones, Central Panama, Western Panama and Eastern Panama. Panama is a long narrow country which provides easy access to the mountains and lowlands on both sides from the Inter American Highway.

Panama has nearly 1000 bird species with 107 regional endemics, with over 100 of the species from South American origins or not found in the rest of Central America.

Panama Canal Rainforests

This region is by far the easiest to access and could be described as the most easily accessible high-quality region in the world. In fact, it is possible to reach these areas in one hour from your hotel in Panama City.

Several national parks were created when the Panama Canal was constructed. This land comprises about 5 % of Panama, and 650 bird species can be found here

The area covers a variety of habitats like moist tropical forests, Pacific lowland forests, Caribbean lowland wet forests, Pre-mountain forest (foothills) and wetland areas.

Western Panama & Chiriqui Highlands

This area of Panama has some of the most amazing birds found in Central America including, he Resplendent Quetzal, Bare-necked-Umbrellabird and Three-wattle Bellbird.

Travelling up the highway to the Western Panama & Chiriqui Highlands is easy on the Inter American Highway, although a 4×4 vehicle is required to reach some national parks a 4×4. 

There are three endemic bird areas in western Panama: Pacific lowlands, Caribbean lowlands and The Western highlands with the highest concentration of endemics.

Eastern Panama & Darien

Although in this area you can find unique avian species not found in the rest of Central America, such as the Harpy Eagles, the Golden-headed Quetzals and four species of Macaws, travel by road to this area by road is almost impossible.

So, travel must be made to Darien by air. This area includes Cerro Azul, Tocumen Marsh, San Blas and the Darien province.

Comparison of Bird Watching in Costa Rica and Panama

Although birdwatching in Costa Rica is far more developed than bird watching in Panama, there is not much difference in the quality of the bird watching.

But when it comes to the accessibility to bird watching and what Panama has to offer – there is only one winner.

While in Panama, you can visit:

  • Both Atlantic and Pacific coast in day
  • The amazing Panama Canal
  • Colonial ruins
  • The renovated UNESCO old town of Panama City – called Casco Viejo

And there is absolutely no comparison at all between the capital cities of Panama City and San Jose

Panama City has fantastic flight connections from North and South America, 6 airlines fly from Europe and even Air China has two weekly flights!

Stay at Hotel Casa Antigua during your birdwatching in Panama, book your room.