Coiba is an ecological gem. After learning about this area we were convinced that you would be as excited to explore this lost world with us as we are to share it with you!
Please click here to learn about our sea kayak trips and tours of Coiba.
Often referred to as “Panama’s Galapagos’, Parque Nacional Coiba was established by the Panamanian government in 1991 which protected both Isla Coiba and its surrounding waters as a national park. The legislation also allowed for the penal colony on Isla Coiba to continue operating since its presence was considered a deterrent from development. The penal colony has since closed and the park was expanded in 2004. July of 2005, Coiba was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A Biological Research Station has been constructed and the park now charges an entrance fee to visitors to help fund park protection and maintenance. ANAM, the Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente or National Authority of the Environment, helps monitor and protect the area.
Parque Nacional COIBA encompasses over 2,700 square kilometers of islands, forests, beaches, mangroves and coral reefs. Spanning over 430 000 hectares in total, Coiba is one of the world’s largest marine parks. Among the spectacular marine and terrestrial environments within the Parque is the largest uninhabited tropical forested island in the Americas measuring 242 hectares.
Flora and Fauna
Coiba Island and the surrounding waters are an extraordinary repository of biological wealth as eighty-five percent of Coiba’s jungle serves as a haven for birds and mammals found nowhere else on Earth. It is a refuge for 150 bird species, including 21 endemic species and rare birds such as the Crested Eagle and the Scarlet Macaw which have all but disappeared from the rest of Panama. There are a total of 36 species of mammals many of which are unique to the Parque such as the Coiba Island Agouti and the Mantled Howler Monkey; the latter is considered to be at high risk of extinction. The main forest types on Coiba Island are tropical moist forest, very moist premontane forests, and mangrove. Remarkably, most of the interior of Coiba Island is still unexplored botanically.
Equally incredible are the marine ecosystems of the area. The reef of Bahia Damas, the second largest reef in the Central Eastern Pacific, covers an expanse of 160 hectares and is known for its clarity. Here you can snorkel and/or dive and be witness to many species of rare Eastern Pacific coral. Some of the sea life found in these waters includes orcas, dolphins, whale sharks, humpback whales, manta rays, large schools of pelagic fish, barracudas, three kinds of marlin, moray eels, white-tip and tiger sharks. Sea turtles are observed often and some of the white sand beaches are used for nesting between April and September. Visibility can be unpredictable due to high food content but one is likely to see a variety of impressive creatures regardless.
In short, Coiba offers secluded white sand beaches, a great underworld, tons of wildlife, hikes along jungle trails, an old eerie penal colony, remote surf breaks, and fresh water rivers. Coiba is one of the greatest remaining natural treasures in Panama and a haven for us to explore.
Let Fluid introduce you to this unbelievable environment and create an experience that will last a lifetime. Explore Coiba!