Coiba National Park, Panama

Jan 29, 2019 - National Geographic Quest

Today we visited Coiba National Park. This natural reserve is home to the largest coral reef formation in the eastern Pacific, with more than 500,000 acres of marine ecosystem and 125,000 acres of forest. Interestingly, the island this forest occupies was used as a penal colony for more than 80 years, which yielded the even further unexpected outcome of an untouched expanse of marine and forest habitat.

We were able to experience this small paradise while hiking a local trail called Los Monos. There we saw birds such as crimson-backed tanager and the very elusive lance-tailed manakin. We also explored along the beach and the small islet of Granito de Oro, the latter being where snorkelers spotted Moorish idols, bicolor parrot fish, hawksbill turtles, and admired the colorful rocky reef formation. Snorkeling was paired with kayaks and paddleboarding, all of which capped our unbeatable tour and exploration of Panama.

Tomorrow we will wake up in Costa Rica, where the fun will commence!

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About the Author

Deibys Fonseca


Deibys Fonseca was born and raised in the mountains of western Panama. From a very young age, his interest in nature led him to become a volunteer guide for La Amistad International Park in the administrative headquarters of Chiriqui. His knowledge in geography and flora and fauna led him to participate in multiple wildlife research projects in his community, among which highlight a population census of bats, birds and plants developed by ANCON.

About the Photographer

Carlos Calvo Obando

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Carlos is a freelance wildlife photographer and photography instructor from Costa Rica. Passionate about travel and education, he also works as a certified naturalist guide on the beaches, jungles, and mountains of that beautiful tropical paradise. With 20 years of experience leading groups and making images and portraits of Costa Rican creatures and landscapes, he loves to share his knowledge and tricks with enthusiasm, simplicity, and a good sense of humor.

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