Coiba National Park
Located in the Chiriqui Gulf in the Pacific coast of Panama, the national park was formerly the site of a penal colony for the worst criminals in the country. Now, Isla Coiba is a pristine paradise for divers, snorkelers and nature lovers. The UNESCO World Heritage Site covers 430,825 acres and 38 islands, including Isla Coiba. The park is accessible only by permit from National Authority for the Environment but numerous tour operators in Panama offer eco tours, fishing and scuba diving trips and they will be able assist in securing the appropriate permits. The tours depart from several different locations along the Panamanian coast but the closest access point to the park is from Santa Catalina, approximately an hour and fifteen minute boat ride. The second-largest coral reef in the eastern Pacific, the park is home to colorful tropical fish, hammerheads, nurse sharks, dolphins, manta rays, sea turtles and whales.
La Amistad International Park
Located in the northwestern corner of Panama, in the Chiriqui Highlands, the UNESCO World Heritage Site features one of the most biodiverse regions in the Americas. Designated an international park because half of the land is in Panama and the other half is in Costa Rica, the park is managed by both nations. With unspoiled forests along the Talamanca Range, the region is home to more than 400 species of birds and 100 species of mammals. Although large portions of the park are inaccessible, there are several walking trails suitable for all ability levels starting near Cerro Punta.
At 11,400 feet, the Baru Volcano is the highest point in Panama and is also the only volcano in the country. Located near Boquete, in the Province of Chiriqui, the volcano is surrounded by a National Park of the same name. One of the most visited parks in Panama offers 35,000 acres of volcanic remains and tropical rainforest to explore. The La Nevera and Los Quetzales trails travel through the rainforest and provides the opportunity to see exotic birds such as Quetzal or Toucan. Whether you take a guided tour or travel on your own, it is approximately a four-hour hike or a 45 minute drive in a 4 x 4 vehicle to reach the top of the volcano. If the weather is clear, you will be able to see both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean from the summit. You can also explore the area further by following one of the trails that leads to the different craters of the volcano.
Article Written By Betsy Bender
Betsy Bender is a media consultant with experience in publishing, event management, media relations, digital media and television production. Specializing in entertainment, travel and sports, Bender has worked with high-profile personalities, facilitated publicity campaigns for network television programs and traveled to more than 100 cities in eight countries, including Russia and Australia.