Birding in Panama
Photo by Ariel Aguirre

Canopy Tower, Panama: A Birder's Paradise

Canopy Tower, Panama: A Birder's Paradise

Oct 27, 2017|BirdingWhere we travel| by Molly O'Brien

Located in the heart of the rainforest within Soberanía National Park, Canopy Tower is a dreamland for birders and nature enthusiasts alike. Canopy Tower reaches 9 meters in height, and sits just a few feet away from the canopy layer of the rainforest, providing eye-level views of birds such as toucans, tanagers, honeycreepers and hawks; as well as close-up perspectives of sloths, howler monkeys and more.

A Brief History: Then & Now

The tower was erected in 1965 by the United States Air Force, as a defense structure for the Panama Canal. Over the years, the tower had many roles-- communications, radar detection etc. -- but in 1996 the Semaphore Hill Site, consisting of the tower and 35 acres of rainforest, was transferred back to Panama’s possession. The following year the Panamanian government signed an agreement with Raúl Arias de Para to conserve the area and transform the site into a destination for eco-tourism. In 1999, Canopy Tower changed roles one last time and became the award winning eco-lodge it is today.

Today, the Canopy Family brand owns and operates three facilities: Canopy Tower, Canopy Lodge and Canopy Camp. Each offers different birding experiences and perspectives of the rainforest, but are equal in hospitality and service.

Canopy Tower, Soberanía National Park: As mentioned above, Canopy Tower is 9 meters in height, cylindrical in shape, and offers rare views at the canopy level of the forest. Surrounded by a 360 degree observation deck, and featuring comfortable rooms, and a library, Canopy Tower, offers the unrivaled opportunity to go birding without leaving your hotel room!

Canopy Lodge, El Valle de Antón: While not as tall as Canopy Tower, Canopy Lodge sits in the center of a crater of an extinct volcano. The Lodge has more of a bed-and-breakfast feel, and is the perfect get away for families, birders, photographers, and nature enthusiasts of all kinds.

Canopy Camp, Darién: the newest addition to the eco-lodges, Canopy Camp provides respite with complete immersion into the wilderness of Panama’s least-explored region—the province of Darién. Wake up to the sounds of the rainforest and birds calling just outside your tent. The tents at Canopy Camp are safari-style and sit atop elevated decks or platforms.

Canopy Tower & Birding:

It’s no secret that Panama acts like a refuge for both migratory and native birds. It’s location between two continents makes it a safe and significant channel for migrating birds (over 970 species recorded during peak times). Canopy Tower was grown and developed with birding in mind. Canopy tower, and the 2 other lodges, are fully staffed with experienced guides who will maximize your birding experience. You’ll have ample opportunity to seek out target species like the Blue Cotinga, Snowcap, endemic Striped-cheeked Woodpecker, raptors, tanagers and more. Canopy Tower is also located minutes from Pipeline Road—a world-renowned birding site with high bird diversity, easy access and close views.

So, you’re not a birder?

Maybe you are, but your whole family is not and they’ll be with you, or you are an avid birder but would also like to include other activities in your trip. Canopy Tower also provides access to cultural and adventure activities, like zip lining, waterfall tours, guided hikes and more.

Canopy Tower & Holbrook…

We are excited to announce that Holbrook Travel and Canopy Tower are working at strengthening ties, to create collaborative programs customized for birding trips. Stay tuned for updates and details on upcoming programs.  

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