- Situated by the Continental Divide
- 60-hectare (148-acre) private reserve
- Premontane humid tropical rainforest
- Bird list exceeds 300 species
- All-Inclusive Package
- 90 minutes away from Panama City
- Gateway: Panama City
- Age: 16 and up
Burbayar Nature Reserve is located on the San Blas mountain range at an average elevation of 375 meters above sea level and it is composed of premontane humid tropical rainforest. The 60-hectare (148-acre) private reserve borders the Nargana Wilderness Area encompassed within the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, extending from southern Mexico to the Darien National Park in eastern Panama.
Burbayar (buɾ.βa.ˈʝaɾ) means the Spirit of the Mountain in the language spoken by the Guna, our neighbors.
Burbayar’s habitat is rich in plant and animal life and it is home to representative species such as Jaguar, Tapir and Harpy eagle, animals that require extensive and healthy environments to thrive. Since 1998, when the reserve was established, the increase in wildlife abundance and diversity has been noticeable and recorded. Troops of Geoffroy’s tamarin monkeys, a species endemic to Panama, are common findings as well as families of Collared peccaries, Tamandua and Pacca. Rivers and creeks that traverse the reserve, as well as bromeliad leaves and other humid crevices in tree trunks are teeming with frogs and other amphibians. The bountiful flowering plants attract butterflies and trees are used by dozens of species of birds to nest, feed and rest.
The Burbayar bird list exceeds 300 species including specialties such as Sapayoa, Xenornis, Yellow-eared toucanet, Rufous-winged and Sulphur-rumped tanagers and Plumbeous hawk. The network of trails within the reserve is extensive and provides access to spotting birds and wildlife in general as well as natural river pools, waterfalls and exuberant tropical landscapes.
Burbayar Nature Reserve is a well-known birding destination for eastern Panama, Pacific and Caribbean slope and foothill species. It is situated in a low saddle on the Continental Divide where the convergence of species is very high and dynamic. The reserve is in the middle of the narrowest section of the Isthmus of Panama which is used by literally millions of birds during their migration from the north and from the south of the American continent. It is also is located within the Choco-Darien biogeographic region.
In addition to being home to Pacific, Caribbean slope and foothill bird species it also host many of the Eastern Panama specialties.
For over 20 years Burbayar has served the scientific community as a prime location for their work thanks to its accessibility, protection status and life abundance. Organizations such as the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), Gorgas Institute for Health Research and Yaguará carry out field research within the reserve on a permanent or regular basis.
Only 90 minutes away from Panama City (70 minutes from Tocumen International Airport) Burbayar is the most accessible private nature reserve in Panama. And from Burbayar, northbound, one can reach the San Blas islands in 30 minutes. It takes the same time to reach Bayano Lake on the opposite direction. This unique advantage offers more possibilities to explore different habitats and to encounter new cultures.
At Burbayar we are committed to the protection of the rainforest and the wildlife found within the reserve, to provide the opportunity to visitors to explore, learn and enjoy its natural attributes, to offer support to science in favor of conservation. We are also working with our neighbors to guarantee the area’s long term conservation status and sustainable economy through ecotourism. The best way to accomplish this is by educating the future generations. Burbayar supports the local school by providing workshop on environmental education and guide training.
About the Lodge
Burbayar Lodge reopened its doors in 2019 under new management maintaining the same tradition of homestay hospitality. The lodge underwent important renovations and it now offers inviting cabins with private bathrooms, comfortable orthopedic mattresses, ceiling fans and 24-hour electricity. Other creature comforts include reading lamps and charging stations for cameras, smart phones and other electronic equipment. The cabins are strategically located within a short distance of each other and of the main house, but with the necessary privacy. The screened windows have shutters which may be opened or closed as desired.
The main house offers a common living room, a reference library, hammocks and hummingbird feeders. The dining hall is located in the main house’s front terrace where all meals are served family style. Meals are well balanced following Panamanian traditional cooking. The kitchen is prepared to accommodate special menus as long as they are requested in advance.
A drinking water dispenser is located at the main house which is accessible at all times. Guest are expected to bring their own reusable bottles.
The pathways between the cabins and main house are exceptional for bird and butterfly watching and visits by Geoffroy’s tamarins and other small mammals are not uncommon.
The gardens are natural and host a variety of tropical plants including unique orchids.
Accessibility: 90 kilometers away from Panama City
Accommodations: 6 private cabins
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner (family style). Wine and beer available (honor bar)
Communication: Cellular signal is available and most providers offer roaming service.
ITINERARY: 3 Days / 2 Nights
Day 1 – Panama City to Burbayar
Early afternoon pick up from your hotel in Panama City for the transfer to Burbayar Nature Reserve.
The 90 minute ride will take place for the most part along the PanAmerican Highway due east. This is the famous 30,000-kilometer (18,840-mile) road that traverses the American continent from Alaska to Patagonia with a 60-kilometer gap at the border between Panama and Colombia a couple of hundred kilometers away from the turn onto the Llano-Carti Road, due north, that will take you Burbayar.
Arrive in time for a good birding session around the cabins.
After dinner explore one of the inner trails in search of nocturnal species.
- Lodging at Burbayar, Meals: D
Day 2 – Birding at Burbayar
Awake to the raucous call of the Howler monkeys and after a cup of coffee head out to the trails. Today you will explore the trails surrounding the lodge. Return to have breakfast in the company of the resident hummingbirds. The feeders around the main house currently host 10 different species of humminbirds. Continue birding the surroundings during the high sun. Lunch and rest before heading down to the Llano Carti Road for some exceptional birding.
After dinner explore one of the inner trails to search for nocturnal species
- Lodging at Burbayar, Meals: B, L, D
Day 3 – Birding Burbayar – Return to Panama City
Wake up before the crack of dawn and after breakfast head to reserve’s outer trails. This morning you will look for more representative species of the area.
Lunch and birding along the surrounding trails
Mid-afternoon transfer back to Panama City
Meals: B, L
FREQUENT ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT DOES IT INCLUDE ? Round trip transfers from Panama City, birding guide fees and expenses, 2 nights of lodging, meals as listed (B=breakfast; L=lunch; D=dinner), admission fees. It does not include: Personal gear (binoculars, etc.), alcoholic beverages, gratuities.
WHO CAN GO ? Minors must travel with a responsible adult. To participate in some activities the minimum required age is 16 years.
WHAT SHOULD YOU TAKE ALONG ? At least 2 liters of water (camelback or bottles) sneakers or boots, a cap, sun-block, a light jacket or windbreaker (in case of rain), a towel and dry set of clothes for the ride back.
WHAT SHOULD NOT BE BROUGHT ? At day trips leave object than can be deteriorated by water or valuables like jewels, cash, credit cards, etc.
PRICE: Best available rate based on 4 or more participants for 3 days / 4 nights
Price per person in double occupancy basis: US$450.00 + 7% tax
Single occupancy supplement fee: US$75.00 + 7% tax
Price per person in double occupancy basis: US$175.00 + 7% tax
Single occupancy supplement fee: US$40.00 + 7% tax