Gabriela Pedrotti 2020-11-12 10:43:14

Coiba National Park is considered one of the largest paradises on earth and it is located in Panama, less than five hours by car from the capital, in the province of Veraguas. 240 kilometers separate Panama City from the town of Santa Catalina, where a small boat can take you to the islands on a journey that takes about an hour.

The archipelago is also recognized as the third largest marine park in the world, after the coral reef of Australia and the Galapagos Islands. Coiba National Park was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, in 2005, because of its enormous biodiversity and intact nature due to the fact that for almost 90 years this island housed a prison and, therefore, its ecosystem remained unchanged and wild.

The archipelago has an area of 270,125 hectares of which 260,543 are marine with 38 islands and islets. The main and largest island is the homonymous Coiba island, with an extension of 493 kilometers of which more than 70% are lush jungle. The islands are home to 1,450 species of plants. Among the animals are estimated 36 species of mammals, 147 types of birds and 39 amphibians and reptiles, including the famous Tito crocodile. It is the habitat of the beautiful red macaw, as well as the crested eagle, howler monkey, white-faced monkey and white-tailed deer. There are dozens of endemic species that only exist in this place, in addition to the various species of turtles that have chosen these islands to spawn year after year.

Coiba houses a curious story. From 1919 to 2004 this island was a prison where dangerous criminals were held and in the last years, during the Noriega dictatorship, political prisoners. It was probably chosen because of the difficulty that prisoners would have to escape, and the dissuasive complicity offered by the sharks that surround the island. Today it is possible to walk among the ruins invaded by vegetation, which creates a mysterious scenario. In this place and under that lush jungle you will find trails of different length and difficulty such as Cerro Gambute where you can go hiking, bird watching and explore pristine and deserted places.

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