The Tropical Life

Whew, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted..a lot has gone on since I first arrived here in Panama just two months ago! It’s been a dream, staying at Casa Cayuco and helping out with guests, slinging drinks from behind the bar and taking folks into the forest on the hunt for red frogs, sloths, monkeys and birds. Dave and Suzanne are magnificent, hard-working human beings who have created such a beautiful refuge and place for guests to experience the beauty of the forest and Caribbean and all they have to offer. And Mina is my little buddy for life.

And oh the wildlife..

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Nonetheless, I have a big new adventure ahead of me, as I’ve been invited to become the third guide at nearby Tranquilo Bay Eco-Adventure Lodge. I’m going to be sad to leave the amazing friends I’ve made here, but I believe that I will be much more in my element and put to good use at Tranquilo which is a lodge hugely dedicated to birding–I mean, they have a 60ft birding tower for one thing, where you can watch in awe as parrots fly by at eye level! I’m going to start out shadowing their star guides, Natalia and Ramon, who have an infinite knowledge of not just the birds and wildlife of the archipelago and mainland Panama, but also the life under the sea.

How on earth did this happen? Well, I’m certainly still reeling and can’t believe this has basically fallen into my lap! How it fell into place was, Dave and Suzanne had family visiting and gave me a week or so off and they set me up to spend several days at Tranquilo. Renee, Jim and Jay have run this lodge for 10 years and have created a stunningly gorgeous haven for both nature-loving guests and the enormous variety of garden and forest birds that reside there along with the long-distance migratory birds that spend their winter months here in Panama. They’d been looking for a third guide to add to the team and, with the skills and knowledge of the birds and tropical ecosystems I’ve gained over the course of my ~2 years spent in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and here in Panama, I managed to fit the bill..with glee!

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View from their birding tower, Casa Cayuco is close to the farthest right of the island quite a ways in the distance. I think they’re waving!

Dave and Suzanne were kind enough to let me fly and so, I’ll be here at Casa Cayuco for another few days to help with some big groups that are coming and then they’ll take me the 10 minute boat ride down-island to my new home. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity and I already know that every minute spent with Natalia and Ramón will massively increase my knowledge of this tropical world I adore so deeply and get so much out of sharing with others. I’m looking forward to starting out shadowing them as they lead birding hikes on the mainland where we’ll be seeing a wider range of species in a variety of ecosystems as I work toward eventually leading those very tours myself!

This is a pretty incredible new development and I will certainly be keeping you all updated. Also, check out my Patreon page where I’m headed right now to upload my newest video, Hidden Nature of Casa Cayuco. Thanks so much for following along!

About Stacey M. Hollis

Tropical guide and naturalist at Tranquilo Bay Eco-Adventure Lodge on Isla Bastimentos set within Panama's Caribbean Bocas del Toro archipelago. My aim is to share my passion for birds and the awesome biodiversity of the tropics while spreading the word about the importance of environmental conservation.
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