Isla Iguana Natural Park, Panama

Dec 25, 2017 - National Geographic Quest


In 1513 the famous Spanish Vasco Nunez de Balboa decide to make some expeditions where over 400 men, both indigenous and Spanish, walked the dense jungle looking for a new frontier. After walking for a long time they saw in the distance a different mass of water and called it “El mar del Sur”, or the south sea.

Along with the Spaniards, National Geographic Quest decided to explore a different area into the Bay of Panama. We stopped at a beautiful natural park known as Isla Iguana, or Iguana Island. This island is located in Los Santos provinces. Most of the islands here are made of basaltic rock formations, which geologists relate with volcanic eruptions millions of years ago.

The government of Panama declared this area a national park in 1981. The island is now the home of more than 500 magnificent frigatebirds

What make this place unique is not only the beautiful white sand beach, but it’s also the perfect place for the delivery of humpback whales. This area is famous for big migrations of these giant mammals.

We had the opportunity to enjoy this amazing place by walking through the dry forest and looking for the owners of the island, which are hermit crabs, magnificent frigatebirds, mangrove warblers, and black iguanas, while also enjoying snorkeling and looking for different types of fishes like panamic sergeant mayor, Cortez rainbow wrasses, bicolored parrot fish, Pacific box fish, tiger snake eels, reef cornetfish, and others.

Afterward, the galley of National Geographic Quest prepared a wonderful meal, and we continued sailing for our next destination in this beautiful country. 

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About the Author

Amanda Clare

Assistant Expedition Leader

Born near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Amanda always followed her own path and pursued whatever piqued her interests and pushed her limits. She earned two B.A. degrees, one in history, one international studies, from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, she was commissioned into the United States Army, and while stationed overseas, Amanda traveled extensively and cultivated her love of adventure and exploration.  

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