Granito de Oro

Dec 26, 2017 - National Geographic Quest

This morning we disembarked at a beautiful and well-represented coral reef on the Pacific side of Panama called Granito de Oro, which in Spanish is translated as “little grain of gold”. The natural site was perfect for activities like snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding, or just relaxing on the beach under the shade of coconut trees. The reef extends hundreds of thousands of acres in this pristine tropical ecosystem where a white sand beach greeted us with abundant hermit crabs moving among our footsteps.

While at Granito de Oro, we saw a lot of colorful schools of fish such as panamic sergeant major fish, moorish idol’s, bi-colored parrot fish, pufferfish, butterfly fish, and many more. A great surprise for the guests was also an encounter with a green sea turtle who was passively swimming along the shoreline. Some of the white-tipped reef sharks also swam close enough for snorkelers to get a great view of this ancient marine creature.

In the afternoon, it was time to explore the national park of Coiba, which was a former prison that was in operation from the 1919 - 1991.  In the present day, the park’s natural history is preserved due to the dangerous past that pushed away many hotels and modern developments that would otherwise compromise its natural ecology.

The environment is a young rainforest with abundant plant life, such as the monkey ladder vine or the heart of the ocean bean plant.  From the trails, we got a glance of the lanced-tailed manakin who sang effusively from the deeply-tangled vegetation. We even got a chance to watch them leaping from branch to branch. 

At the end of the day, our guests where really happy to share a beautiful sunset on the bow of National Geographic Quest while enjoying a nice cocktail drink.

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About the Author

Adriana Diaz


The oldest of three sisters, Adriana was born in Alajuela, Costa Rica and still lives in this same province. Her interest in biology started at a very young age when she was immediately attracted to the beauty of nature and the secrecy within the forest elements. After taking part in several volunteer programs related to biology subjects, she was later inspired to study biology with an emphasis on tropical ecology and sustainable development. By 2010, Adriana obtained a bachelor’s degree at Universidad Latina de Costa Rica.

About the Photographer

Frank Simms


Frank is a naturalist guide with a long career path involving his beloved Costa Rica. He grew up in Escazu, a small town surrounded by blue and green mountains in the Central Valley. His admiration for nature and wildlife turned him into an autodidact photographer, and he feels most comfortable, relaxed and happy when sharing his knowledge with visitors.

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