Coiba National Park & Granito de Oro

Dec 12, 2018 - National Geographic Quest

During three days of exploration in Costa Rica we saw the fauna and flora of this wonderful country. It’s now time to explore Panama, where we’ll stop to see the most important marine national park.

In 1924, ex-president of Panama, Belisario Porras, created a jail to isolate some of the tougher criminals of Panama City. The prisoners had to plant crops to survive, and the island had 21 different prison camps that all shared crops.

The prisons expanded during the eighties when Noriega had control of the country. Noriega kept sending more Panamanians who were opposing him to prison, and these prisoners ended up protecting Coiba.

Today Coiba is considered the jewelry of the Pacific Ocean of Panama. It’s part of a very important marine corridor that we share with Costa Rica, Colombia, and the Galapagos Islands. 80% of the national park is rainforest, and 20% is beach with white sand.

Aboard National Geographic Quest, we stopped on a small island known as Granito del Oro where we had the great opportunity to snorkel. We spotted many kinds of tropical fish, sea turtles, and white tipped sharks, plus some of our guests walked through the primary rainforest of Coiba.

We also had the opportunity to kayak and paddleboard. We started our departure to the bay of Panama, and on the way, we saw different types of dolphins like pantropic spotted dolphins and bottlenose dolphins.

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About the Author

Joshua Hall


Joshua Hall was born in Panama City and raised in the highlands of the Chiriquí province.  He studied ecotourism at a university in Panama and is currently pursuing a degree in tourism business administration.  His love of nature can be attributed to a lot of time spent traveling with his mother, a nurse at the Social Security Hospital.  In 1983, a foundation called Abundant Life was created in Panama.  The foundation was made up of a group of doctors and nurses with a passion for helping those in need.  They were pioneers in going to communities in Chiriquí, sometimes hiking more than 12 miles, where they took medicine, meals, and other needed items, often opening up trails guided by the indigenous residents.  Joshua participated as a child with his mother and developed a love for nature, rainforests, mangroves, coral reefs and the indigenous communities of Panama.

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