The island of Coiba in Panama is a protected paradise declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Coiba National Park, spreading over 270,000 hectares, is situated on the Pacific coast of the region of Veraguas in the Gulf of Chiriqui.
This group of 38 islands and islets forms part of the same marine biological corridor as the Galapagos Islands, Cocos Island and Malpelo Island and is one of the places in all America where nature is best preserved.
During almost 100 years Coiba was used as a penal colony spanning the dictatorships of both Omar Torrijos and then Manuel Noriega. Visitors were strictly forbidden until 2004. The isolation of the island allowed the flora to develop and the species to take over.
Nowadays Coiba is the dream destination and one of the most favorable environments in the world for hiking off the beaten trail, to go deep-sea diving, to nature watch and to go fishing. One must not forget to visit the prison and relive Panama´s past.
Declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2005, the tropical humid forests of Coiba Island possess a broad diversity of bird and mammal life and many endemic plants. It is also the last stronghold of several endangered species such as the Harpy Eagle and the Scarlet Macaw that have virtually disappeared in the rest of the country.
Coiba is surrounded by the second largest coral reef in the East Pacific. The marine and land life is very varied and it is not uncommon to spot humpback whales, sea turtles, sharks (33 recorded species) and orcas! As you can tell the Coiba marine world is a veritable ecotourism paradise. Far from the tourist trails, Coiba is well worth a visit!
• Trek to Coiba, Treasure Island (5 days)
• Panama, beyond the Canal (11 days)