Coco Island, Coiba National Park
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 18 Dec 2019

Coco Island, Coiba National Park, 12/18/2019, National Geographic Quest

  • Aboard the National Geographic Quest
  • Costa Rica, Panama & Colombia

During three days of exploration in Panama, we finished on a beautiful national park called Coiba. In the year of 1924, ex-president of Panama, Belisario Porras, created a jail to isolate the “toughest” people who used to live in Panama City. The island had 21 different prison camps under a sustainable prison plan, all prison camps shared crops, and all inmates had to plant crops to survive.

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 unexpectedly these prisoners ended up protecting Coiba.

Coiba today is considered the jewel of the Pacific Panama. It is part of a very important marine corridor that shared with Costa Rica, Colombia, and the Galapagos Islands. Some 80 percent of the national park is rainforest, and 20 percent is beach with white sand.

Today on-board National Geographic Quest, we stopped on a small island known as Coco Islet, but before doing any water activities we decided to walk through the rainforest of this pristine national park. The hike was meant for exercise, but along the way to see some of the birds and mammals of the area like the lance-tail manakin. We heard howler monkeys in the distance, but we did not see. After the walks, we return to the ship and some of our guest decided to enjoy the crystal water to do some snorkeling.

We spotted many kinds of tropical fish, like parrot fish, chancho surgeon fish, razor wrasse, trumpet fish, guineafowl puffer fish, bicolored parrot fish, and a green sea turtle swimming along the reef very slowly.

We also had the opportunity to kayak and paddleboard. In the afternoon, we started our departure to Costa Rica and on the way we saw pantropic spotted dolphin.

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