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Coiba National Marine Park

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Revision as of 16:08, 7 October 2014 by NoToSharkFinning (talk | contribs) (added listing Coiba Lost World Ecolodge)

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Coiba National Marine Park

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Coiba National Marine Park in the the Gulf of Chiriqui in the Pacific West of Panama.


The park consists of the island of Coiba (the largest island in Central America) and 37 surrounding islands and islets, all of which are about 30 miles off the Panamanian coast in the Gulf of Chiriquí. From 1919 to 2004 this island was a penal colony and quartered political prisoners and some of the most dangerous criminals in Panama. Known as Panama’s Devil’s Island, the government closed the penal colony in 2004, and turned it into the largest marine park in Central America. UNESCO named Coiba National Marine Park a World Heritage Site in 2005 [2] identifying more than 800 marine species in the waters surrounding the park.

Coiba is known for its superior diving and was recently said to have the best diving "to be found along the Pacific Coast from Columbia to Mexico".[3]

Get in

Though its remote nature has helped to preserve the flora and fauna, it also served to deter visitors. It is about an hour long boat ride from the coastal town of Santa Catalina or two hours from the fishing village of Boca Chica or Mariato on the West Coast of the Azuero Peninsula. Most travelers rely on tour operators to reach the island. In the early morning, the journey is usualy pleasant, but in the afternoon the sea can be choppy and the boat ride somewhat uncomfortable. This journey’s inconvenience is negligible, however, compared to the opportunities for scuba, snorkeling and sport fishing Coiba offers.

The immediate surroundings of teh ANAM station are not very exciting. To get to the good trails and the good snorkeling spots, you need a boat. The trails are easy and not very long, a coupe of trainers or sturdy sandals are good enough to get around, certainly in the dry season. ==Get around==

See and Do

Scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute have proclaimed Coiba an unparalleled destination for discovering new species. Rachel Collin, a Smithsonian project coordinator said, "It's hard to imagine, while snorkeling around a tropical island that's so close to the United States, that half the animals you see are unknown to science.” [4] Its unique location protects it from the damaging winds and other effects of El Niño, allowing it to sustain the uninterrupted evolution of new marine species including whale and tiger sharks, sperm whales, sea turtles, angel rays and giant schools of fish. It is also the last refuge for a number of threatened terrestrial animals such as the crested eagle and several sub-species of agouti, possum and howler monkey (including a Coiba Island Howler Monkey). The park is gaining a reputation for being what the Moon travel book calls a “Garden of Eden”; touting the second largest coral reef (Bahia Damas Reef) in the Pacific.

Eat and drink

There are no restaurants at Coiba National Marine Park. There are a few restaurants in Boca Chica : Wahoo Willy's, located in the town's small port area, and at the local Inns, Gone Fishing[5] and Seagullcove [6].


The only overnight facility available in the Coiba National Marine Park is at the ANAM ranger station on Isla Coiba [7]. The station has several modest 2 room cabins with air conditioning.
There are resorts and hotels close enough to make Coiba a day trip, like Gone Fishing[8] and Seagullcove [9], located near the fishing village of Boca Chica (considered to be the go-to place for fishing in the Gulf of Chiriqui) that offer comfortable bed and breakfast experiences in moderate price ranges. New luxury resorts are planned for locations in the Gulf of Chiriqui in the next few years, like the Resort at Isla Palenque [10] and Playa Grande [11].
Another popular option is to go to the small village of Santa Catalina. Several diving and tour operators are happy to take you from there. It is about 1.5 hours by boat. Accommodation on Santa Catalina ranges from budget (for example, Blue Zone Surf Camp [12]: dorms start at USD 10) to mid-range (for example, Palmeras [13]: bungalows start at USD 28) and premium (for example, Cabanas Time Out [14]: bungalows start at USD 80).

  • Coiba Lost World Ecolodge, Cebaco Island (El Jobo), +507 67524516, [1]. Our beautiful, beach front, eco-lodge is located on the unspoiled island of Cebaco nestled between Coiba National Park and the nationally protected marine area of Montijo Bay. Cebaco is known as the emerald jewel set in the azure Pacific Sea. The incredible island of Cebaco is covered in dense rainforest and rare tropical hardwoods with numerous hiking trails leading to cascading waterfalls, white sand beaches, black sand beaches and a myriad of tide pools waiting to be discovered. Visit the turtles nesting on the beaches, watch the whales gliding by, snorkel the beautiful coral surrounded by dolphins and an abundance of fish and sea life. Surf one of the greatest breaks in the world, kayak around the island, participate in our wildlife and marine conservation studies or just relax on the beach and enjoy the many activities we offer at the lodge. Coiba Lost World Ecolodge is your portal to discovering the hidden world of Coiba National Park. As our guest you experience so much more than just staying with us, you can immerse yourself in our many marine and wildlife conservation programs learning about the rare and unique species in the park. Join us in our baby sea turtle hatchery protecting the eggs of these endangered animals and helping us to release the babies back to the sea. Dive or snorkel with us and help in our studies and research of manta rays, the many species of whales, whale sharks and corals. Enjoy our classes on underwater photography and how to photograph these endangered species. Hike the primary rainforest with our experienced naturalist guide and join in our studies of the rare birds, monkeys and endemic species found nowhere else in the world. Children love our Starfish Adventure Club where they can have fun and learn about all the amazing animals while parents relax on the beach or set off on one of our many expeditions.

Get out

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