August 2011
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Travel – Darién Gap, Panama – a forested region between Panama and Colombia

The Darién Gap is a forested region between Panama and Colombia, with the city of La Meil being a city in the region of Darien. This place is also one break in the Pan-American Highway. The interesting thing about this is that it is a 60 miles gap without roads and can be crossed only by a combination of foot and boat. One cannot drive and can only ship the vehicle to proceed from central to South America and vice versa. It separates Darien Province in Central America and Colombia which is in South America. On the Colombian side the gap is dominated by river delta and Atrato River with 80km of marshland that is half of the swampland. On the Panamian side, it’s a rainforest with 60m in the valley floors and the tallest peaks, Cerro Tacarcuna.
This place is home for Embera-Wounaan and Kuna Indians. On the Panamian side, Yaviza is the main cultural centre and corn, plantains and bananas are their major crops. There are two national parks called Darién National Park in Panama and Los Katíos National Park in Colombia.

Attractions of Darién, Panama

• The Pan-American Highway: It is a system of roads that measure 48,000 km (30,000 mi) long. It crosses North, Central, and South America. On the Colombian side, the highway is ending at 27 km (17 mi) west of Barranquillita, at Lomas Aisiadas and on the Panamian side the road terminates at town of Yaviza making it a total of about 100 km (62 mi). From South America to North America, there is a highway but breaks at the Darien gap.
• The Darién National Park: This Park is spread on a land area of about 5,790 square kilometers and established in 1980. It is known to be the largest national park in Central America and a UNESCO world heritage site. One can explore tropical forests, swamps, rocky coasts, sandy beaches, mangroves and a plethora of wildlife here in this park. There are two Indian tribes in the park limits.
• Gulf of Darien: Darien gulf is part of the Caribbean Sea and is on the north side of the Darien Gap. At this gulf, the Atrato River joins the sea. The gulf is bordered by Panama. The inner section of the gulf which is known as Gulf of Uraba is full of mangrove trees. One can access this gulf by boat. There are no roads but only hiking trails.
• Fort St. Andrew: This is the first Scottish settlement at Caledonia Bay. New Caledona settled in the gap area in 1700s. There is a shipwreck that can be viewed.

Darien Gap things to do:
• Bird watching: This gap area is full of rainforests in which there are many birds and jaguars, howler monkeys and slots too. There are about 900 species of birds to watch for. There are agents and companies which take the tourists to safe spots and for better viewing.

Darien Gap Festivals: There are festivals organized wherein one can get a taste of local culture, music and food.
• Panama Jazz Festival: This festival is famous for Latin American beats. It is the largest music festival in all of Central and South America. It is hosted in January for a week and in the Capital of Panama city.
• Festival de la Mejorana: This is a national festival and takes place at the end of the September. It is held annually. It is named after the guitar-like instrument—La Mejorana. It originated in a small town in Guarare called los santos. This festival has music, dancing, parades etc.
• Semana Santa: This is during the Easter week in Panama. It is a catholic festival with mass and prayers. The cathedrals are decorated at its best. There is celebration and dancing along with Spanish food.

Best time to visit / climate:
The weather of Darien is usually hot and wet. The humidity is higher at the Darien gap. As the mountain terrain is cooler than other areas, it is best in the mornings and evenings whereas afternoons are very hot.
The best time for travel is March and April as the weather is favorable. The rainfall time that is around May to mid November is rainiest and hence it is better to avoid this time of the year.

Location on Google Maps:

View Larger Map

How to get there:
The Darien Gap is a large section of jungle between Panama and Columbia, and Darien Gap transportation is useful if you are going to try to cross the jungle. The Darien Gap is a dangerous area, and travelers should use caution and careful planning when considering crossing this area.
Airplane: Darien Gap is best to cross on plane as there is no road transportation and vehicles need to be shipped. The flight is about an hour and twenty minutes from Panama to Columbia.
Boat: There are ferry services by companies but booking in advance is advisable.
By Foot: It is not recommended to go via foot.
Vehicle: There are no roads in the Darien gap.

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

Blogs / Sites about Darien Gap, Panama:
Blogs and reviews at
Blogs and reviews at lonely planet
Blogs and reviews at
Blogs and reviews at
Blogs and reviews at

Images and photos of Darien Gap, Panama:
Images at
Images at Flickr
Images at
Images at

Videos of Darien Gap, Panama:
• Darién Jungle Fever

• Darien Rain Forest

• Crossing the Darien Gap by Bicycle

• Crossing the Darien Gap from Panama to Colombia

• Darien Gap, Panama – Darien Project

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