This park is located south of the province of Veraguas. With a surface of 270,125 hectares (650,000 acres), this park protects three kinds of ecosystems: the island, the reef and marine life.
***Coiba Marine Park, considered one of the ten top diving spots in the world, is home to the second largest coral reef in the Eastern Pacific and the best diving "to be found along the Pacific Coast from Columbia to Mexico" according to Lonely Planet.
In Santa Catalina, Scuba Coiba runs eco-tours and whale-watching trips for $70pp. Two-tank dive trips to Coiba national park start from $250pp. Ancon Expeditions (anconexpeditions.com) runs multi-day land expeditions to Coiba from $300pp.
From Panama City you can take a plane to Santiago (30 minutes) in the province of Veraguas or by car in 4 hours (245 kilometers or 140 miles). Once in Santiago you have to make a 25 km. drive to Puerto Mutis where you take a boat to the island (between 2 to 6 hours depending on the weather and on the type of boat).
The Quebrada Grande (Big Creek) nine hole executive golf course plays through Valle Escondido, crossing the beautiful river four times. This is one of the only courses in the world that plays through a working coffee plantation. The spring weather keeps it cool, fresh and green year round. With at least two tee boxes on each hole you can play 18 holes and find it very challenging and enjoyable.
Valle Escondido, or Hidden Valley, is a Residential Resort Community of unprecedented tranquility and beauty. Nestled in some of Panama’s most amazing natural landscape, Boquete has been rated the #1 best offshore retirement destination in all of the Americas by the American Association of Retired People (AARP) because not only is it a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life, but it also has every modern convenience and amenity you could need.
Activities include golfing on a pristine, natural golf course, horseback riding and hiking through virgin forest, cycling and mountain biking, canoeing and rafting crystal clear rivers, exercising at our high quality gymnasium, sport fishing, diving, and much, much more besides. Not one for white water rafting? Then why not go bird watching, or take one of our coffee tours through working plantations and state of the art processing facilities? On the other hand, if you’re someone who is more into history and culture than sporting activities, Boquete will entrance you with its many Indian cultures, as well as petrogliphs and artifacts left behind from civilizations past
That's the name the Kuna Indians give to their territory in Panama. In English, it's San Blas Archipelago. In Spanish, you'll see Comarca de San Blas (implying an autonomous territory, I think -- which it is) and Archipelago de San Blas.
Here's Steve, the cool Aussie in our sailing party. He was on his own and so was I, the others came in two's. So Steve and I were assigned to the same cabin. As I was the oldest member of the crew, and Steve the youngest, at first I was a little sad for him. But right from the start, I showed what stuff I was made of and everyone became a friend. Steve never missed an occasion to hone his gentleman's skills and to include me in every possible activity aboard, like I was his partner! Thanks Steve, for understanding that age is not a dividing border for the young at heart!
This was such a neat tour because of some of the out of the way places we got to visit while here. We got to meet local people and saw how they lived. This morning we had been hiking up in the mountains. The jeeps that took us up there, brought us down and we walked down the road to the coffee plantation which was on slopes of the mountains. The grounds around the house were full of beautiful flowers and shrubs and flowering trees. We watched Green Violetears feeding in the Red Bottlebrush. We went to the pavilion (see photo) where we were served a nice sandwich and coffee(what else) or hot chocolate to drink but it was hard to eat with all of the beautiful birds to watch. After that we were shown some parts of the plantation and saw how the coffee beans were grown, picked and stored.
Our guide with Caligo (the tour company) had arranged for us to have lunch one day at a local place. We arrived at Meson Tia Toya in the area of Cerro Azul at lunch time. The wooden house shown in the photo is on a large piece of property on a beautiful hillside. The main room is a large open room with a bar and tables set up here and on the porch overlooking the beautiful grounds planted with flowers and shrubs. We had a choice of chops or chicken. After our guide gave our orders, we then birded the grounds while the ladies cooked it in the kitchen in the back. We were the only ones here. The children of the owners were very curious about us but also quite shy. They did agree to let me take their photo. We ate on the porch. The meal was rice with saffron, cabbage and tomato salad, roasted chicken or chop, and pineapple juice to drink. It was good.
On an island called Isla Naos, connected to Panama City by a causeway. Operated by the Smithsonian Institute, this center has a museum with marine exhibits, two aquariums, and a nature trail through a small forest harboring sloths and iguanas. Open Tuesday to Friday 1 pm to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is US$2.00, 0.50 kids
A sacred burial ground is part of the remnants of the Natá nation, named after their cacique (chief) Natá. There are burials on display, which have been excavated from the large funerary mounds, and it is estimated that there are hundreds more in the surrounding area. Near the burials stand the ruins of what is thought to have been a solar calendar
Inaugurated on December 29, 1979 this small museum has stone and ceramic artwork dated between AD800-1500. See the mural and captions inside for a glimpse of Natá life and their first contact with Europeans.
Open Tu-Sa 9am-4pm, Su 9am-1pm. Adults US$1, including a guide in spanish. students and children US$0.25.
The Darién National Park and the Comarca Emberá-Drua (a semi-autonomous indigenous area) are two areas that have been set aside in Panamá to prevent further environmental destruction and to protect the remaining homelands of the Three Indian tribes that live in the park, the Embera, Waunana and Kunas.
UNESCO has Categorized the Darién National Park in 1981 as Worldwide Patrimony and in 1983 as a World Heritage Biosphere.
Panama’s largest national park, is an almost impenetrable wilderness between Panama and Columbia, the deepest areas are crawling with columbian smugglers and guerillas. Nevertheless, Darién’s rivers, jungles, and indigenous communities can be explored safely on tours from Panama City.
The Cana Field Station located in the Darién National Park is one of the 10 top birding locations in the world. Extractive industries are held at bay while sustainable rainforest products such as tagua provide an incentive to safeguard these biologically and culturally important areas for future generations.
for more see my travelogues about "Tagua"
Why don’t spend wonderful days in one of the relaxing islands in the world? Your dream island is called Taborcillo. A mirage of palms and white, sandy, beaches.
An enchanting island with an incredible plant and animal life, luxuriant vegetation and exotic fruit.
And there is another special feature to this island: it was the proberty of the famous actor Johne Wayne. Although is just a thirty minutes flight from Panama City, it has remained almost untouched by man. It is situated roughly 40 km (by sea) from Panama City (or 3 km off the coast).
This misty coffee-producing town in Chiriquí Province, about 300 miles (473 km) west of Panama City, is known for its flower gardens and gorgeous mountain scenery. Boquete is the most popular starting point for treks to the summit of Volcán Barú, Panama’s highest peak, and the 5-mile-long (8 km) Quetzal Trail (Sendero Los Quetzales).
This park bordering Panama City is one of the most accessible rainforest areas in The World; why? This 655-acre wilderness park lies totally within the limits of Panama City
It is just 10 minutes from Downtown; and has nature trails and more than 250 species of birds and 40 types of mammals. This park is also the site of a tropical research center and a towering crane used to study the forest canopy. The visitors’ center is open 8 am to 4 pm daily. Admission is $0.50.
Baru Volcano is the highest mountain in the republic.
This mountain is the only spot in the world where (early in the day) you can see both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans at the same time. The hike is steep but easy to follow climbing through the rain forest. Panama is home to at least 940 different species of birds, and holds various world records for many years in bird counts and observations. This area is noted for the famous, but elusive quetzal a large beautifully plumed bird with a distinct call. The hike is approx. 14km each way.
Few people climb to the top...see the web cam in the web adress below.
There is a really great canopy tour that was only 20.00 when we were in El Valle. To the left is a pic of the jungle you'll buzz through, via cable, if you like this sort of thing.
To take part in the tour, just ask around town and pretty much anyone will give you directions. Alternatively, you can ask around for the map of the town and sorroundings. This map has directions to the canopy tour and it's about a 20 min. walk from town. It seems that tourism was a fairly new concept to the people of El Valle and the printed map was about all the tourism-based collateral they had.
Unlike some other parts of Panama, very few people speak English here, so be sure to learn a bit of Spanish before visiting. They'll appreciate your efforts and you'll appreciate being able to partake in basic communication.
A trip to the mountain village of El Valle, outside of Panama City and about an hour and a half by road. A small market that only opens on Saturday and Sunday. The local Indians bring their wares to sell. Beautiful baskets are the main attraction but there is a large fruit and vegetable market also.
Whilst there, visit the small El Nispero zoo and take in the lovely views and cool air.
You'll have to grab a cab out to the drop off point (a short ride) and hike for about an hour in the sweltering heat to get to these hot springs. Just ask a local or cabbie and they'll tell you how to get there. Once you've hiked in, you'll have to pay the property owner $1.00 USD to use the facilities (if you can even call them facilities). Chances are, you'll be far too hot to want to step into these steamy bad boys. I opted to hang out in the refreshing river that swings by the property. The choice is yours.
The property owner also rents out a couple of rooms (very basic) for 3 or 4 dollars a night and can sell you a much deserved soft drink as well. Very secluded, quiet and relaxed.
This place is WAY off of any path, never mind the 'beaten' path!
All in all, we enjoyed our experience at the hotel. It is well located, hence you are close to...more
Private island off Bocas del Toro Panama, , Panama
Good for: Business
Valle Escondido, Boquete, Panama
Good for: Business
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