Estudio Nuboso
El Jilguero Reserve

El Jilguero Reserve

El Jilguero Reserve in the western highlands of Panama is the birthplace of Estudio Nuboso.

A second home built by the Spalding Elton family in 1981, it has been an intimate and integral part of our founder’s early life and experiences which led her to start daydreaming about a studio in the clouds, since 2006. Named after the Black-faced Solitaire which has a unique song and is heard regularly there, El Jilguero Reserve is a family-run cloud forest haven; a small retreat space amongst magnificent wilderness and beauty. Located at the entrance of the Volcán Barú National Park, three kilometres above Cerro Punta, Chiriqui.

Over the years, the Reserve has hosted bird watching weekends, musicians composing and recording albums, film editors, nature photographers, a permaculture workshop, biology field trips, family reunions, day retreats for groups and our very own Art and Science LAB in 2015. The reserve provides a cozy, beautiful space in which to relax, think, walk, contemplate, connect, create, share and experience the wonders of the cloud forest. Friends, family, artists, scientists, birdwatchers, and nature-lovers are invited to experience its magic. It is a place to recharge, as well as for understanding, appreciation and conservation of this special and increasingly rare ecosystem.

This satellite image shows the advance of the agricultural frontier characteristic of the area, even in lands considered part of the Baru Volcano National Park.

The Reserve consists of 7 hectares, most of which have mature cloud forests, and a wooden house with a fireplace, where six people can sleep comfortably. Because it’s high up in the highlands, temperatures range between 10-16 Celsius (50-60 F) at night and 18-25 Celsius (65-75 F) during the day. The forests are home to endemic trees and plants, and the area is famed for birdwatching, the Resplendent Quetzal is regularly seen in the Reserve, as are Black Guan and highland species found only in the Endemic Bird Area of the Chiriqui-Talamanca highlands in Panama and Costa Rica. Thanks to connectivity with the cloud forests surrounding Volcan Barú, Panama ́s highest mountain, over the forty years since the house was built, puma, cacomistle and peccaries have been sighted on the trails. The Sendero Los Quetzales (Quetzal Trail), Panama’s most scenic and best known hiking trail, goes past the Reserve and continues through the Volcan Barú National Park, connecting Cerro Punta with Boquete.

In the face of the rapid loss of ecosystems and biodiversity around the globe, places like this are becoming more and more important, providing room for silence and restorative healing through reconnection with self and nature. Contact us for more information or inquiries about a visit.