Mobile Friendly Website

Panama Eco Lodge Website

We quietly released a new mobile friendly website last week.  We are still working out a few kinks, but all in all it is an improvement.  Regardless of the size screen one uses to look for an upcoming vacation spot in Panama, we have you covered.  The site has been fine tuned to make sure you get the content you need to make your vacation decision.  Come check us out and send your friends!

Guest Blogger : Ryan & Lara’s Honeymoon Video

Ryan and Lara were here earlier this month on their honeymoon which was given to them by their friends.  It was a generous gift and after having spent time with both Ryan and Lara I understand why friends would put together such a unique gift.  Ryan and Lara enjoy life and they share it with everyone around them.  They put together this video of their time here at Tranquilo Bay so that they might share it with you.  Enjoy!

How to put on a mask

How to Put on a MaskIt’s a few simple steps to put a mask on the correct way.  To have a successful snorkeling experience it is important choose the right mask and adjust it properly.  Today I am setting  together some simple tips to help you with mask selection and a proper handling.

Choosing the right mask

  1. Put the mask on your face and press slightly, don’t put the strap behind your head.
  2. Inhale a small amount of air through your nose and release your hands.
  3. The mask should stay on your face.

If it does, that means the seal of the mask is good, and you are using the right type of mask for your face shape. You can also try this when you put the snorkel in your mouth, move some face muscles to help to see how well mask seals.

It is very important to push your hair away from your face. If you are already in the water, and is water leaking in to your mask, a little bit of hair can easily be the reason why is water getting in to your mask.

The strap

  1. A common mistake is to put the strap directly on your ears; the proper place is behind/around your head. What holds the mask is a good seal, not how tight you put the strap behind/around your head.
  2. Masks have different adjustment mechanisms, check, when you have it in your hand how it works, to know, in case you need to adjust the strap, how to release it or tighten it.

Keeping the mask from fogging

  1. Spit into the inside face of the mask when the mask is dry.
  2. Move it around your fingers a bit.
  3. Rinse it in the ocean and you ready to go!

Snorkeling PanamaWell, I hope some of those simple tricks are useful for your next snorkeling experience. I hope you get your snorkeling gear on and get in the water to enjoy the underwater world soon!

Well hidden animal

Wildlife Panama

One of my favorite reptiles, besides turtles, is the Smooth Helmeted Iguana or Helmeted Lizard (Corytophanes cristatus). This lizard can reach about 11 cm in length, and usually has a light brown color, but can change color pretty quickly going from light brown, to olive or dark brown, allowing him to be very well camouflaged.  His habitat, dense forest, near dead branches and leaves, also hides him so people frequently miss this beautiful creatures.

This specie is found from the east of Mexico to the south of Colombia. The animals are usually found in trees from 2 to 5 meters above the ground, and are found close to the ground during breeding season. A common behavior of this animal is to “perch” in a branch, with its head up, and stay still, and when an insect walks close the insect is ambushed by the lizard.

Not much information about this secretive creature.  The status of the specie is unknown, but clearly, habitat loss could be a reason for reduction of the population of this peculiar animal.

Jan Axel’s Review of Tranquilo Bay

Family Birding Bocas del ToroJan Axel and his lovely family came for a quick trip in October.  We enjoyed having them here and watching them discover the birds of Bocas del Toro.  Jan and Gloriela had been to Bocas to see birds before, but it had been some years and they did not get to Bastimentos Island on their first trip.  Please click-through to the different blog posts Jan wrote to learn more about what they enjoyed during their stay with us – the birds, but also so much more.

Part One:  Escape to Bocas

Part Two:  Escape to Bocas

Part Three:  Escape to Bocas

Three-wattled Bellbird and Stub-tailed Spadebill

Two of the most interesting species of birds that inhabit Tranquilo Bay´s trails, have been very active lately, during the past month almost every time I go to the trail, I got to see them or, at least, I heard them calling. I am talking about the Three-wattled Bellbird (Procnias tricarunculata) and the Stub-tailed Spadebill (Platyrinchus cancrominus).

Birding Panama

The unmistakable sound of the Three-wattled Bellbird surrounding you, almost “hitting” you, happens only part of the year because during the breeding season (March- mid August) they are on higher ground (2300 -7000 feet). L.S. Crandall gives this explanation of the calling behavior, which I consider very precise (Zoologica, 1948, pp.113-114,pl.1) “The mouth is open widely, until the lower mandible approximates a right angle to the upper … the body is then pumped rapidly up and down for about five seconds. This movement then ceases and with the body, legs and wings rigid, as violent convulsion of the throat and neck is followed by the sharp metallic bell.”

Three-wattled Bellbird Once you hear the sound, it is unforgettable, and the first thought is always the same … How does it make it? followed by .. Where is it? Because they like to be in open perches in the canopy so they are normally under cover of leaves if you look up from the bottom of the trees. Now it is a very good time to get delighted by their call and their beauty.

Panama Birdwatching In the case of the Stub-tailed Spadebill, it is a year round neighbor in the forested islands of Bocas del Toro Archipelago, and only here … because this species is subplanted by the Golden-crowned Spadebill in Bocas del Toro mainland.

Even living here within the Tranquilo Bay forest all year-long, he is a very secretive bird, you can hear them but the call doesn’t always repeat, it is not the case now because they are very active, calling and playing around. You can see these “little balls” hopping around one after the other, providing also a great opportunity to make some good photographic shots.

Birding at Tranquilo Bay

Surprise Close By

A while ago, I was walking to my nursery, and I had a really nice encounter. Moving along the electricity wire was a Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni), behind one of the cabins, next to the main building.

I ran and called the kids, some of them came and we stayed behind some trees and watched “the traveler.”   What a surprise, we saw that this guy wasn´t really going too far, it had a plan, and we got to see it.  He got in between the two electrical wires and just stayed there like he was in hammock and took a nap!!!
Sloth Panama

After the nap we saw it moving along the electricity wire again.  This time he made his way, closer to the main building, to another spot, for another nap.
Wildlife Panama

On the Tranquilo Bay grounds, we can see both the Two-toed and Three-toed Sloths. Three-toed Sloths (Bradypus variegarus) are more common.  Also, Three-toed Sloth are  mostly active during the day which makes them easier to find. This particular find was very special because Two-toed Sloths are mostly nocturnal, but the nocturnal habits are not always a rule, as you can see in these pictures.
Panama Two-toed Sloth

Next generation in the backyard – Striped Basilisk

One of the things I love of living surrounded by forest is that you often get unexpected neighbors; the last one was a pretty female of Striped Basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus). A while back I had a pretty male of the same species sunbathing in front of my bedroom window every day for weeks.   Now we have a nesting female right in front of our bedroom door.   We were able to see her digging the nest, near our habanero pepper plants and covering the eggs afterwords.  She laid six eggs which is an impressive number for this small animal.

I leave you with some pictures of the pretty mama and her clutch of eggs.

Panama Wildlife Lizard Nesting Bocas del Toro

Reef beauty – Spotted Drum

A few weeks ago, I saw, what it is for me one of the most amazing fishes of the reef: the Spotted Drum (Equetus punctatus).

Snorkeling Panama

It is an uncommon species of fish that can be seen snorkeling on Caribbean reefs so of course It is always a nice surprise to find one.  I met this one near the dock, on top of a big red coral near the mangroves. This magnificent fish stayed for days, I know this because every day I went to snorkel I checked to see if it was still there.

Mangrove SnorkelingThe day before I wrote this post the pretty Spotted Drum was still here, I will keep checking every time I get in the water around the red coral, to know if our spectacular neighbor is still here.

Several guests here at Tranquilo Bay got to see this stunning animal. I hope it will make of the big red coral his permanent home. Before this set of encounters, I had seen this fish twice, once was a young one (which it looks very different from the adult) and the next time was an adult.

Kirsten Hines’ Review of Tranquilo Bay

Eco Lodge Dock

Kirsten Hines, Jim Kushlan, and George Angehr visited us in April.  We were a stop on their seabird survey.  During their time in Panama, they covered some serious ground.  The next time we are in the city we will definitely be checking out the Biomuseum and George Angehr’s work.

Please take a look at Kirsten’s review of her trip and Tranquilo Bay specifically.  Tranquilo Bay was the last stop of their trip, so it is at the end of the trip review.

Thanks to Kirsten for taking the time to write up such a detailed review of her trip and her stay with us.  We appreciate it and we know how much it can help others who are making plans to travel to Panama.