Believe it or not, I'm heading to Panama, again! I thought that after my 2010 trip that that would be it - for a long while. But, after doing my usual weekly search for great flight deals, I came across an out-of-this-world deal from Air Transat. Previously, my flights to Panama have been in the range of $1200-$1400 CDN round-trip, with a connection either in Los Angeles, Miami, or Houston. This flight deal however was better; much better. For a round-trip, taxes included, non-stop from Vancouver to Panama City, the flight is just $499 CDN. How could I pass on this opportunity?
I mentioned the deal to Joanna, but she didn't share the same enthusiasm for going as I did - something about saving her vacation time to visit family in the U.K. Yikes! Comments like that in the birder's world are like blasphemy, but who am I to judge. Looks as though I'll be birding on my own. Or not.
Shortly after finding the deal and deciding to go, I called my parents to let them know. Low-and-behold, Dad expressed interest in going again, much to my surprise. So, with little less than a 10 minute discussion about the logistics, we were ready to book our flights. Here's how it'll pan out.
1) Catch ferry from Victoria to Vancouver on February 13 and fly from Vancouver at 7:30am on the 14th direct to Panama City, arriving at 5:50pm.
2) Bird like mad - Tocumen Marsh (hopefully), Cerro Azul (hopefully), Cerro Campana, El Valle, Summit Gardens, Metropolitan Park, and possibly Pipeline Road and Gatun Lake.
3) Fly direct from Panama City at 7:30pm on February 21 and land in Vancouver at 12:20am on the 21st. Catch the ferry back to Victoria first thing in the morning on the 22nd and go to work.
Assuming all goes well, the trip should be a hoot (no pun intended) - and it will give me a chance to try out the new Panama bird field guide (shown below).