Birding Gamboa and Pipeline Road Tours

Birding Gamboa and Pipeline Road Tours

The 7-day Gamboa and Pipeline Road Tour

Has it been a couple of years since you traveled?  Many people are still hesitant to travel outside the country.  Our 7-day Gamboa trip is perfect if you just need to get your feet wet to remember how much fun it is to travel.  The Gamboa tour stays close to Panama City and the Panama Canal, which are both highly developed and modern areas, but also located at the edge of Soberanía National Park, which contains 55,000 acres of pristine forest full of wildlife and birds (525 different species of birds). Panama is a country which you  will want to visit more than once.  In Gamboa, we stay at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort.  After you see the Gamboa area, you will want to return to see the Darien Wilderness and the Chiriquí Cloud Forest. 

Covid testing:  You are required to show proof of full vaccination to board the plane to Panama.  There is no test required to enter Panama.  When returning to the United States, you need to show full vaccination and also a negative Covid test to board the plane.  The clinic will come to the hotel, by appointment and a private test.  In April 2022, the antigen test we took cost $45 and the documentation of the results were received within a few hours. Covid testing is not included in the price of the tour. 

We usually see about 200 bird species on the 7-day Gamboa tour

Gamboa Printable Bird List
(This is a checklist of the birds that we have seen in Gamboa and the Canal area)

Animals we saw: Four species of monkeys including Night-Monkeys, Anteaters, both 2-toed and 3-toad sloths, Coati, Agouti, Squirrels, and Capybara. Many of the mammals had babies.  We also saw many reptiles and amphibians including the Spectacled Caiman and the American Crocodile.
 
If you would like to see photos from a previous trip, please click here:
 
 
  • Gamboa Tour Dates: November 1 - 7, 2022, and January 26 - February 1, 2023, and tour dates by request
  • Group Size:  6 travelers, plus guides
  • Trip Length: 7 days
  • Gamboa Tour Rate:  $3,650 per person ($1,200 extra for single occupancy)
  • Rates include: Domestic transfers, lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, scheduled group tours, park entrance fees and basic travel insurance.
  • Not included: International airfare, customs & immigration fees and visas, alcohol, trip cancellation insurance, Covid testing.
  • Adventure level:  Easy for Gamboa, please check the “Welcome” page for definition

Private Trips: We are increasingly taking people on private trips. If a group trip does not interest you, please contact about a private tour and dates you prefer. 

Special offer:  Included with your trip (one per room) is a copy of the field guide “The Birds of Panama” by George Angehr and Robert Dean.  You will receive this when you reserve your trip so you will have time to study and know the beautiful birds of Panama.

Map of the travel route here:  Panama Map  (opens a new page)

More photos can be found here:  Photo Gallery (opens new page) 

Basic Itinerary

Day 1:  Arrival in Panama City
Most flights from the United States arrive late in the evening. We will meet you at the Tocumen International Airport (PTY) with a shuttle to a hotel located very close to the airport.  

Day 2:  Gamboa
Early morning departure for a full day of day of birding starting at the Panama City Metropolitan Park and ending in the village of Gamboa located along the Chagres River near the Panama Canal.  In the afternoon, on our way to Gamboa, we will stop at the Miraflores Locks to view ships going through the canal.  The Panama Canal is an astonishing engineering marvel and only in Panama will you have the opportunity to experience how massive ships traverse through the canal locks that connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.  A few notable birds for the day:  Keel-billed Toucan, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Red-lored Parrot, Black-bellied Wren, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Barred Antshrike, White-bellied and Dusky antbirds, many flycatchers and tyrannulets, Lance-tailed Manakin, migratory warblers, Spectacled Owl, Yellow-backed Oriole, Bat Falcon, Double-toothed Kite, Snow-bellied Hummingbird, Green-shrike Vireo, White-bellied Antbird and Whooping Motmot (recent split from Blue-crowned). Overnight in Gamboa at the Rainforest Resort, where we will spend 3-nights.

Day 3:  Gamboa
A full day of birding the Gamboa area and Chagres River. 

Day 4: Pipeline Road
We will spend the day birding the Pipeline Road area:  During WWII, a petroleum pipeline and its service road were built across the isthmus of Panama as an emergency back-up for getting across Panama in case the canal was blocked. The pipeline was never used, but the single-lane, gravel-and-dirt road persists and allows entry through the center of the incredible Soberanía National Park. According to George Angehr, “Pipeline Road is one of the best places to see tropical forest birds in the Americas, with a species list exceeding 400.” Along the Pipeline Road is the Discovery Center Tower and Hummingbird feeder areas; both locations are excellent for birds and photography.  Last stop for the day are the "Summit Ponds".  Birds:  Great Tinamú, Pied Puffbird, Blue Cotinga, White-necked Jacobin, Blue-chested Hummingbird and Rufous Motmot, to name a few. Overnight in Gamboa at the Rainforest Resort.

Day 5:  Panama City, the Causeway, and Ancon Hill
Morning birding in Gamboa, and an afternoon visit to Ancon Hill.  Lodging for the next 2-nights will be in Panama City at a hotel along the Amador Causeway, close to the Puente de Las Américas and entrance of canal, which is a great birding location as well.

Day 6:  Panama Canal and Colón
The Panama Canal Railway connects Panama City on the Pacific side and Colón on the Atlantic side has a long history dating back to the year 1851. In 2001, the railway was updated to handle both cargo and passenger travel and as of 2018 a regular schedule exists for passenger travel.  From Panama City the trip to Colon takes about 1-hour.  It leaves Panama City at 7:15am and departs Colon at 5:15pm, there are no other stops.  Originally intended for daily worker transportation, the train has also become a popular day trip to Colón for travelers.  Across the bay from Colón is the Fort San Lorenzo and San Lorenzo Protected Forest, which makes for a great day of birding and exploring this historic area.  During the day when the train is not being used to transport people, the tracks are used to transport cargo and containers in between ports; sometimes it is cheaper to put the cargo on a train, rather than send the whole ship through the canal.    

Day 7:  Fly Home 
Shuttle to the airport for your trip home.  Most flights back to the States leave early in the morning.