A remarkable ecosystem, it is a true dream for birdwatchers, botanists and entomologists. This is a land of lush rainforests and large rivers, run by indigenous communities such as the Guna, the Embera and the Wounaan. It’s at the very end of Central America and, naturally, the almost impenetrable gateway to South America.
Darien is the largest and least inhabited province in Panama, located east near the border with Colombia. An important part of this state is divided in ”comarcas” run by indigenous such as the Guna, the Embera and the Wounaan. There, native law is applied and the local chiefs or ”caciques” rule.
This is a land of lush rainforests and large rivers even though since the late seventies ”civilization” penetration has taken its toll on nature. In spite of this situation the
Darien is the largest and least inhabited province in Panama, located east, at the border with Colombia. An important part of this state is divided in ‘comarcas’ run by indigenous people such as the Guna, the Embera and the Wounaan. There, their native law is applied and the local chiefs or ‘caciques’ rule.
This is a region of untamed wilderness and landscapes although since the late seventies the arrival of “civilization” has taken its toll on nature. In spite of this, the Darien rainforest is still relatively untouched in the comarcas and in the large National Park, and wildlife still includes remarkable and endangered species such as tapirs, jaguars and the elusive harpy eagle. The coasts of Darien are equally interesting, from the beautiful Bay of San Miguel, discovered in 1513 by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa when the Isthmus of Panama was crossed for the first time from ocean to ocean, to the rocky shores between Punta Garachine and Jaque, where the rainforest falls into the Pacific Ocean from impressive cliffs.
It is accessible by car through the Pan-American highway (to Yaviza only) and by plane using the small airports of El Real, La Palma, Sambu, Garachine, Jaque.
Tours and activities:
- Jungletrips and visit of Guna, Embera and Wounaan villages in the comarcas
- Jungle excursions, hikes and treks in the Darien National Park from El Real or Cana
- Visit La Palma, capital of Darien, only accessible by boat
- Visit the mangrove areas in the Bay of San Miguel, the small Wounaan village of Boca de Lara and the Embera village of Mogue
- Boat trips in the Bay, a great spot to see marine birds
- Sport-fishing from Tropic Star Lodge near Jaque, which has claimed over 200 world records
This artificial lake is the largest in Panama after Gatun Lake. Its name comes from a black slave who rebelled against the Spaniards during the 16th century. It has a beautiful lanscape of rainforest and small farms.
The highlight here are the spectacular caves, only accessible by boat. Lots of life inside, including sleepy caimans and poison-dart frogs! This peaceful lake is also a great place to observe birds.
Tours and activities:
- Boat rides
- Visit of the caves
- Visit of Embera Indian village