400 New Species Globally

First-ever illustrated global bird classification reveals 400 new species

Researchers spent four years gathering live footage and studying specimens in captivity around the planet.  They assigned scores to five characteristics:  measurements, songs, plumage, behaviors, and geographical relationships with one another. The scores on these characteristics led the researchers to believe that 462 species that were subspecies are actually new species.  Apparently with this new classification, the scientists believe that over one-quarter of the new species are threatened.

Click the photo to see the original article.

Migratory birds all over the place

The last few weeks have been very, very active for migratory birds.  We have had the chance to take some nice pictures of some of our visitors.  We have taken pictures at the pineapple hill, one of our favorite places to birdwatch at Tranquilo Bay, because it is an open area surrounded by forest.  The first line of trees is miconia, and right now those trees are full of juicy berries, that many birds like, not just the migratory ones.

Bird Watching Panama

Eastern Kingbird, Dickcissel, and Piratic Flycatcher.  Photo by Ramón Fernández Francés.


Panama Birding

Summer Tanager. Photo by Ramón Fernández Francés.

Birdwatching Panama

Veery. Photo by Ramón Fernández Francés.


Another use for plastic bags

Widecast has worked with a group of women in Costa Rica and Panama to create a variety of handbags made entirely of recycled plastic bags. These women and their communities collect plastic bags off of beaches and any other place where they may be found. The plastic bags are cleaned and then made into a yarn to be crocheted into bags. Each bag is made by one woman in the community. Her name is attached to the bag as well as a brief description of the process to make the bags.

In 2007 (as an example year) alone:

This project collected and reused more than 50,000 plastic bags and worked with more than 220 pounds of collected bags each month. The project placed collection containers in 12 supermarkets in the Automercado chain in Costa Rica and organized groups of weavers in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, representing more than 100 women. The project made approximately $20,000 in sales, 80% of which went to the women weavers.


These bags are being created as a tool to raise awareness of the problem with plastic bags for sea turtles specifically and our planet overall. Each bag is a unique work of art. No two are the same. The striped bag on the wall behind Catta is an example of these bags. We have a small selection of them for sale at Tranquilo Bay.

Books for a Better World

We all know what a difference a book can make to our own lives. Imagine if you didn’t have easy access to good quality books for yourself. Would you be willing to do something about it? The local island schools down here have very limited access to books.

We have a container scheduled to deliver some goods to us in Panama in July. We know how difficult it is to acquire good quality children’s literature in Spanish at reasonable prices here in Bocas del Toro. So, I contacted Books for a Better World to see about how we might be able to sponsor a library for one of the local public schools. Fortunately, Alice Finn Gartell, President of Books for a Better World thought it was a great opportunity to send books down to Panama.

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We have worked out a sponsorship rate for a small 50 – 60 book library for these schools. Normally, Books for a Better World requires a $350 donation to support this size library. We were able to get a reduced amount because Tranquilo Bay will be providing the transportation from the USA and out to the individual locations to deliver the books.

You can make any contribution toward sponsoring one or more of these libraries. We will group the donations together until we reach the reduced sponsorship amount. Tranquilo Bay will be donating the transportation of up to ten of these libraries from the USA to Panama. We will work with a variety of people to deliver the books out to the individual communities. Please contact me at info @ tranquilobay (dot) com if you are interested in sponsoring one of these school libraries and I will give you the details on how to move forward.

Green Living Project – Austin Premier

Just a quick reminder to any of you living in Austin, Texas – the Green Living Project is doing an Austin Premier of its Best of Global Sustainability program in Austin on March 24. See here for more information. Tranquilo Bay is included in Green Living Project’s Central American Expedition. We will be represented onsite by Panama Boutique which is a subsidiary of JB Journeys. Panama Boutique will have information about Tranquilo Bay and why you should choose Panama as your next vacation destination. Have fun!

Looking for a chef/cook

We are looking for a chef/cook. Our current cook has decided to go to work in his family’s business. Leo has been with us in our kitchen for over four years now. He originally worked with his sister as the second in line and has been our head cook for almost a year. He is leaving effective June 2011, as such, we are looking for someone, preferably a Panamanian woman, to begin working with us as soon as possible so that the two people can work together for a period of time.


This position is responsible for managing the kitchen and meals in their entirety. Menu planning is not the chef’s responsibility; however someone with the right experience may have this responsibility. Breakfast, lunch and dinner for up to 20 in the dining room and up to 8 staff each day. Our hotel is secluded – access to other islands is limited. Approximately 8 other staff members reside onsite in the staff dormitory. Our boat goes to town twice weekly for supplies, etc.

Due to our secluded location and since our staff is housed on the premises, the environment is very much like being on a ship. It is vital that our chef is secure, friendly and teamwork oriented. It is key that our employees get along with others well, both guests and staff. We need an individual who is healthy and highly dependable. English is not necessary (we have this job description in Spanish if you need it). We prefer a Panamanian for this position. This position calls for an individual who is professional and presentable. The chef position is a challenging yet rewarding one. Split shifts combined with the limited vacation schedule require a self-starter who is dedicated and remains focused on the job.

Because of our location, it is very difficult to replace any of our crew. We do expect a commitment from our employees to stay at least a year. It is important that our applicants understand the operation and what responsibilities will be required of them. Under normal circumstances, our staff works a six or seven day week for five weeks with a week off at the end of the five week period. This schedule is dependent upon guest reservations. It is possible during high season that the leave week be delayed due to guests on site.

We do not allow “partying” or dating within the staff living on site. We require that all staff abide by posted rules and regulations.


The salary will be between $500 and $1000 a month and is completely dependent upon the applicant’s experience, etc. We are only hiring Panamanians for this position. We pay transportation costs to and from this person’s home at the end of the five week period by bus. After a three month temporary period, we pay all social security and other governmental requirements. The person who fills this position will live on site. On site all meals are provided. Personal expenses are limited to mobile phone and personal toiletries. We do have internet and phone access which are available to this person during their off hours until 10:00 pm each night. Under normal circumstances there is a second person in the kitchen to help this person with meals and an additional person to assist with dish washing, etc. following each meal. We need a person who is ready to work and does not have specific lines set as to what is and is not a part of the job. This position is a great one for someone who thinks they are ready to have their own restaurant but do not yet have the funding to do so. This position allows someone to save money as it is impossible to spend money here. We do not require someone with experience. We will manage the responsibility level based upon the applicants and the ultimate hire.

If you know of anyone who might fit this position, please have them contact me at info @ tranquilobay .com. Thanks.

Much Better Adventures

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We are delighted to have been approved as full members of muchbetteradventures.com, a carefully selected collection of adventure providers who have a strong ongoing commitment to sustainability.

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