Isla Iguana

Mar 10, 2020 - National Geographic Quest


After cruising during the night from the Bay of Panama, National Geographic Quest dropped its anchor in front of Isla Iguana Wildlife Refuge. Isla Iguana is a small island off the eastern coast of the Azuero Peninsula. Declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1981, Isla Iguana protects marine birds, tropical fish, and a large coral reef.

This 136-acre (55-hectare) reserve is surrounded by the oldest coral reef in the Gulf of Panama. The island itself attracts a variety of avian species, and is especially famous for its frigate colony, which includes some 5,000 birds.

We disembarked right after breakfast to explore this reserve. Our guests had the opportunity to walk around the premises and had a lovely encounter with the wildlife of this white sandy hidden paradise.

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About the Author

Cristian Moreno

Undersea Specialist

Cristian is a Panamanian born in Chile.  He grew up in Panama City until the age of 19 when he returned to Chile to go to college where he received a degree in metallurgic civil engineering. Since 1995 he has been working as a freelance naturalist in Panama.  Specializing in bird watching and ecology, he also has a passion for indigenous cultures, hiking and trekking.  He is a certified scuba diver and is often found exploring coral reefs along the Caribbean coast of Panama.

About the Videographer

Matthew Ritenour

Video Chronicler

Matthew grew up on the Gulf of Mexico, where a love of geography, culture and history were instilled at a young age. He studied anthropology at California State University, Chico, and soon began working at the Advanced Laboratory for Visual Anthropology (ALVA), a documentary production studio that focuses on sharing the results of anthropological research with the public. As a cinematographer and editor at ALVA, he documented research on everything from the effects of drought in California, to looted petroglyphs in the Sierra Nevada high desert, and the global trade in emeralds.

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