Rivers, Beaches, Jungles, Sport Fishing and an Indigenous Culture to Discover

Darien, is the largest province in size and extends to the northwest of Colombia, and forms the physiographic link between Central America and South America. It is the region of the country with the least amount of population, and it is characterized by having a warm and humid climate full of tropical and cloud forests, mangroves and low mountain ranges. It is a mysterious land filled with exotic plants, unique fauna, and indigenous peoples.

Tuira River

This river is the largest in the country and the second longest with 230 kilometers. It is an important transportation artery, being considered a means of fluvial communication by allowing the passage of small boats through the towns of La Palma, Cheougana and Real de Santa María.


Fishing is very popular among adventurous people who visit this river, as it is full of fish. Usually after a few minutes of casting the hook they start to bite.

Another activity is taking canoe or canoe rides after an afternoon of fishing.

Where to stay:

Along the river there are no facilities to spend the night, it is better to hire local tourism services that can book one of the places to stay in El Real or Yaviza.

Where to eat:

In this sector there are no restaurants, meals are provided by the tourism agency that conducts the tour. In Yaviza there are several restaurant options where Panamanian and international food is offered.

How to get:

By car it is possible to arrive in just over five hours on the Pan-American Highway passing through East Panama until entering Darien and reaching the town of Yaviza. From this urban center you take the boat that runs along the Tuira river.

Darien National Park

It is the largest national park in Panama, with 5,750 km², and the largest protected area in Central America and the Caribbean. It is a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, being considered after the Amazon as the most important natural lung of the continent.

The extensive territory has an endless number of virgin tropical forests, premontane and montane forests, cloud forests and dwarf forests, as well as large mangrove swamps. There are also meandering rivers like the Tuira or the Chucunaque, an amazing variety of unique wildlife.


This forest park has two popular areas to visit. The first is Santa Cruz de Cana, an area where a Spanish miners lived when discovering gold in 1665. Today, it is one of the best places in the country for bird watching such as macaws, tanagers, piprids, eagles, and hummingbirds. It is also possible to explore one of the five hiking trails in the area, from where you can see the forest and the old mine.

The second zone is the Pirre station, another hiking destination, a site that has exuberant nature and abundant wildlife, such as woodpeckers, monkeys, tamarins and sloths.

Where to stay:

At the Pirre station you will find all the basics to spend the night, with a bathroom and kitchen, if you need to bring sleeping equipment and food to cook. The rest of the Park does not have infrastructure, it is only possible to camp in places previously approved by the local authorities.

Where to eat:

In this great jungle it is only possible to take what is planned during the tour and the stay at the Pirre station.

How to get:

This trip is only for the adventurous people, it is recommended to go with an experienced local guide or tour. The park is located 325 kilometers from Panama City on the border with Colombia. From Panama City, you can take a flight to El Real, the closest community to the park. If you want more adventure, travel by road to the community of Yaviza and continue by boat to El Real.

Dead beach (Playa Muerto)

Located within the Darien National Park, it is one of the mandatory sites to visit, where the green jungle, the strong waves and the sand between black and gray invite you to explore. A fishing village with little commercial development but with really beautiful and natural landscapes. A paradisiacal place of incomparable beauty.


Visit exotic mangroves full of unique landscapes and activities that every tourist should do, such as:

Walk on the Oh Wandra trail (Harpy Eagle Trail), tour to watch humpback whales in their season (July-October), turtles watching: their spawning and/or release of hatchlings; as well as enjoy dances, traditional foods and indigenous crafts.

Where to stay:

By contracting a tourist package with an agency, it is possible to spend the night in the residences of the indigenous people and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Where to eat:

Usually the visits are made with “tours” prepared by indigenous tourism agencies, which allows cultural coexistence with the locals and try their gastronomy made mainly from marine products.

Bahia Piña

This site is located along the southern Pacific coast of Panama in the Darien province, about 56 kilometers from the Colombian border. It is the most important place for fishing in Panama, where more than 200 world fishing records have been recorded, more than anywhere in the world. It is home to the Zane Gray Reef, a vast underwater mountain, rising from the sea floor and peeking to the surface. The current carries plankton to the reef, which attracts small fish, which captivate the larger fish that feed on them.

Activities and where to stay:

The Tropic Star Lodge is the main point for world class sport fishing trips in the Panamanian Pacific. This lodge was built as a private refuge in 1961 with an 18-room complex, which since then has attracted lovers of sport fishing, world entertainment celebrities and travelers looking for a safe and comfortable place to explore the intense natural beauty of Darien. This lodge that is defined more as a fishing club, has more than 250 world records.

They also offer more activities, since this “lodge” has a swimming pool, marine kayak rental and a massage room. If what you want is to relax on a white sand beach, this natural paradise has one, just 30 minutes walking.

Another activity is to carry out a two-hour expedition on foot that leads to Rio Piña waterfall and where it is also possible to do bird watching, being the Gray Falcon, the large green macaw, the white-tipped dove, the woodpecker and the hummingbird. the most viewed spices.

Where to eat:

The only place to eat is in the exclusive fishing lodge where the most requested menu is the catch of the day, prepared by talented chefs.

How to get:

It can only be reached by plane on a flight that lasts between 45 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes from Panama City, depending on the aircraft and the weather. It can also be reached by private boat, a day trip.


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