The beautiful country of Panama is located on an isthmus that connects Central America to South America, with the Caribbean Sea one side and the Pacific on the other. When exploring Panama, you’ll immediately notice how the urban skyscrapers and subways are a stark contrast to the beaches and lush, green forests surrounding them. You really do get the best of both worlds here.
In this blog post, we’re going to be looking at the beautifully unique national parks that are spread out across the whole of Panama. If you’re looking for a nature-filled holiday, these are some great places to start.
The Coiba National Park is marine-based and situated on top of Panama’s largest island, Coiba, which stretches to 503 square kilometres. This area has a large variety of vegetation and animals, including various species of turtle, dolphin and whale. Some tourists have been lucky enough to spot humpback and killer whales – what a spectacle.
As there’s a high amount of wildlife living in the surrounding waters, plenty of tourists come here to scuba dive and snorkel, to get closer and swim alongside these majestic creatures, and explore the enchanting mangroves and coral reefs. As well as the rich marine life, you’ll also be able to see some stunning white sand beaches with palm trees in the background and the emerald sea in front.
The Barú Volcano National Park is just outside of Boquete, a small town that’s home to the only volcano in Panama. Tourists travel here to climb to the summit, past seven giant craters and all kinds of wildlife, and hopefully, see one of the big cats. Once at the top, if it’s a crystal clear day, you’ll be able to see both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, creating the perfect photo opportunity.
Add bird watching to your agenda if you choose to follow the Quetzals Trail. You’ll get the chance to see 250 species of birds through the various forests and meadows, the standout being the resplendent quetzal, an extremely elusive bird in Central America. During your walk, you’ll also get a magnificent panoramic view of the Boquete Valley in the distance.
The Soberania National Park is located only 25 kilometres away from Panama City, meaning it’s easily accessible if you’re staying in the capital. This tropical rainforest is home to the Chagres River, part of Gatun Lake, and many winding trails will take you on a journey through nature and show you things you’ve never seen before. It’ll surely be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Like Barú National Park, you will definitely see some amazing birdlife here, especially when strolling down Pipeline Road, where over 400 different species of bird are said to live. However, you may only be lucky enough to hear some birds rather than see them. So make sure you scrub up on your different bird call to identify the rarer species.
The Metropolitan National Park got its name from its location as it’s situated in the heart of Panama City. Being so close to the city centre means that this park is perfect for tourists who wish to escape its daily hustle and bustle and immerse themselves in the nearby nature and wildlife. You can choose to walk along the short, flat Roble Trail or push yourself through a challenging hike along Sendero La Cienaguita.
This dry, lowland Pacific forest is overflowing with animals and vegetation because of its climate. The species you can expect to see include two and three-toed sloths, however, you’d be extremely lucky to see them as they tend to get camouflaged in the tall trees. You’re much more likely to see Geoffroy's Tamarins swinging from tree to tree above you.
The Darién National Park is the largest in Panama yet it’s extremely remote; there aren’t any roads here so the large variety of wildlife isn’t disturbed. You need to come prepared with your hiking boots. Cana is a popular area for tourists as it’s a real hot spot for Macaws, hummingbirds and tanagers. So keep an eye out for a multicoloured flock of birds that could swoop past you at any minute and take you by surprise.
Pirre Station should also be on your list of places to visit. There’s a trail that’ll take you over the top of a waterfall to then come down and see a whole series of breathtaking waterfalls. Choose to take a dip or just snap plenty of photographs with the lush green fauna in the background.
If, after reading through this blog post, you wish to book a trip to Panama with us, to walk through these gorgeous National Parks yourself, call 0800 021 3237 or contact us via our website.
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