August 2011
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Travel – Coiba National Marine Park Chiriquí, Panama

Coiba National Marine Park is on the island of Coiba which is the largest island in Central America. There are 37 surrounding islands and islets which are 30 miles off the Panamanian coast in the Gulf of Chiriquí. During the period 1919 to 2004, this island was a political prisoner’s jail, and a penal colony for criminals in Panama. It is about twenty miles to the southeast of Las Secas and one can reach by boat to this archipelago. It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. This island is known for superior diving and known to be the best along the Pacific Coast from Columbia to Mexico. One can watch for the new marine species including whale and tiger sharks, sperm whales, sea turtles, angel rays and giant schools of fish and some of them are new to science. The crested eagle and several sub-species of agouti, possum and howler monkeys are housed here. It has been given the name of Garden of Eden and is known as the second largest coral reef in the Pacific.

Attractions of Coiba National Marine Park, Chiriquí, Panama:
• Diving: The Secas Archipelago with its neighboring island groups like Ladrones, Paredas and the Coiba National Park and the park being an UNESCO World Heritage site gives us the best adventure diving in the world. This island is governed by five oceanic currents and is rich in eco-regions. The Tropical Eastern Pacific, the islands of the Gulf of ChiriquÌ and the marine biodiverse life and habitat is unique here and is not there in other islands like the Galapagos and Coco Islands, Costa Rica. One can watch about 800 species of fish which include about thirty-three species of shark including the Reef White Tip, Scalloped Hammerhead, Bull, Tiger, and the bizarre Guitar shark.
• Kayaking – Sailing – Surfing: There are hidden coves, reefs, beaches along with mangrove forests which is the biggest attraction of this island. One can go through all of these through a Kayaking safari. There is a blow hole which is also known as Buffona which is a natural phenomenon on Isla Cavada. One can do the best surfing from April through October.

• Whale watching: One can watch the humpback whales only once in a point of year as these are migratory whales. This archipelago shows their acrobatic behavior as these leviathans of deep travel miles on icy waters, with winter feeding at the poles.
• Bird Watching: The Frigate bird colony on Coco Island at Islas Secas Resort is worth watching and a beautiful experience as one can watch many species of birds on the archipelago.
• Islas Ladrones: This Island is in the Gulf of Chiriqui. The word Ladrones means “thief” in Spanish. Islas Ladrones is situated to the south of Boca Chica and is 27 miles to Boca Chica. This island is the ideal point for sport fishing and scuba diving. This island is full of fish life and divers can see many varieties of fish species like king angelfish, damselfish, surgeonfish, parrotfish, triggerfish, wrasse, gobies, blennies and Moorish idols. This island is unique as from May to November giant Manta rays make an appearance and on a year round basis one can species of eagle, mobula and devil fish. Sharks such as the white-tip, black-tip and nurse are also seen all through the year along with humpback whales. Among the activities are scuba diving and diving with a visibility of 30-80 meters and Snorkeling. Boco Chica is an ideal place for scuba diving and sport fishing.
• Islas Secas is in the Gulf of Chiriquí and is an island. This island, Islas Secas is situated to the east of Boca Chica and is 16 miles to Boca Chica. This island is also another ideal point for sport fishing and scuba diving in the Gulf of Chiriquí. The visibility is good in dry months and right for sport fishing as the fish flock from corals and rock to form schools. One can also see White-tip sharks, rays and turtles along with moray eels, lobster and nudi branches and Humpback whales. One can watch the humpback whales only once in a point of year.
• Isla Palenque: Isla Palenque is in Gulf of Chiriquí and is an island. The word Palenque actually means a refuge for escaped slaves and this is given this name is due to Central America’s colonial periods Indians who were indentured to work in the Spanish mines in those times. It is situated off the western Pacific shore and near the Costa Rica border. To its north is Boca Brava and is linked by a narrow bridge. This island is about 400 acres (1.6 km2), with 5 miles (8.0 km) of coastline and over 1-mile (1.6 km) of beaches. The island is mostly full of ecosystems of tropical forest that have mangroves, lagoons, and littoral forest and is home for many species of plants, flowers, animals and birds. Families of howler monkeys, Northern Tamandua Anteater, the Nine-banded Armadillo, White-nosed Coati, Crab-eating Raccoon, Agouti, Woolly Opossum, and the Mexican Hairy Dwarf Porcupine, kinds of rabbits, squirrels and mice. Among large reptiles are the Emerald Basilisk, Black ctenosaur, Green Iguana, and Spectacled Caiman along with multiple species of frogs, salamander, lizards and snakes. Among the birds are Toucans, Parrots, Woodpeckers, Frigate birds, Hawks, and Owls along with multiple varieties of Hummingbirds.
• Boca Brava: This is an island in Panama in the Gulf of Chiriquí. One can access Boca Brava from the Enrique Malek International Airport located in David. From Boca Chica, one can access by a boat. Boca Chica is a small fishing village that is 5 miles from Boca Brava.
• Parque Nacional Marino Golfo de Chiriquí is in Gulf of Chiriquí and is a national park. This national park was found in 1994 and spread over 14,730 hectares or 36,400 acres. This area has coral reef, mangrove swamp and marine meadows with forests and white sand with temperate air and weather. This has been given the tag “one of Panama’s best kept secrets.” It is one of the hot spots of Bouquet. It has an archipelago called Las Isla Parida where one can see green iguanas, humpback whales (from August to October), Hammerhead sharks, dolphins and multiple species of sea turtle on its island beaches.

Best time to visit / climate:
The best time to visit this place would be April through October. One can do the best surfing from April through October.

Location on Google Maps:

View Larger Map

How to get there:
This marine park is about an hour of boat ride from the town of Santa Catalina and about two hours from Boca Chica. One can access Boca Brava from David’s Enrique Malek International Airport. Boca Chica is a small fishing village that is 5 miles from Boca Brava. Boca chica is about an hour from David’s Enrique Malek.
To go around, the archipelago can be rounded in the water by using a boat.

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers):

Blogs / Sites about Coiba National Marine Park, Chiriquí, Panama:

Images and photos of Coiba National Marine Park, Chiriquí, Panama:

Google Search

Youtube videos:


Tito crocodile in Coiba Island (Panama)



Fishing Coiba, and Montusa Panama

Coiba Nataional Park, Panama


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