Expedition Stories

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Coiba Island National Park | Panama
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 12 Dec 2019

Coiba Island National Park | Panama, 12/12/2019, National Geographic Quest

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

Today was our first day in Panama. As a way to begin our exploration of this leg of our journey, we visited Coiba Island Marine National Park. Coiba was the grand entrance to this diverse and intricate country. The very low tide that welcomed us, gave us the uncommon opportunity to get closer views to the richest and endemic species rich coral reef of Granito de Oro Isle.

The diversity of this rocky shoal treasure goes from the Rock Blenny hoping out of the water to hide from predators to the white-tipped reef shark that frolicked the bottom of the reef as swimmers and snorkelers went by.

Once a penal colony, the prisoners at Coiba grew their own food and care for their own cattle. This farming severely damaged some of the fragile coastal ecosystems of this, the largest island of the coast of Central America. The island use switched to a marine based tourism destination in 2004 thanks to the designation given by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. However, even before that, Lindblad Expeditions was visiting the Island since the early stages of its transformation.

Once the kayaks and paddleboards were empty, we packed the equipment and began our longest navigation towards the most renowned attraction in Panama. Our way to the Panama Canal was enhance by the presence of pantropical spotted dolphins, bonito jacks feeding near the surface of the water, dozens of Galapagos shearwaters, laughing gulls, black terns and brown boobies.

Will navigate all night to be on time with our old-time friend, the Panama Canal.

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Rincon de la Vieja Volcano & Hacienda Guachipelin

Costa Rica and the Panama Canal


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