After spending three days learning about the tropical rainforest and culture of beautiful Costa Rica, we moved to our next destination, Coiba National Park, which is located in Panama. Panamanians consider Coiba to be the jewel of the Pacific Ocean. It plays a very important role in the conservation of marine wildlife.
Panama, Costa Rica, and Colombia share a marine corridor for important species like whales, dolphins, and hammerhead sharks. In 1919, the government of Panama created a prison on the island that remained open until 2000. When the prison closed, the Smithsonian grew interested in Coiba, and they set up a research station on the island. Recently, Dr. Hector Guzman led a team in an important exploration of deeper water, and they found new species of fish and soft coral reef.
On board National Geographic Quest, we landed early and dropped anchor in this amazing place. At 8:30 a.m., guests went to Cocos Islet for snorkeling and to the ranger station for nature walks. Midmorning, we swapped the groups, so guests had the opportunity to enjoy both activities.
After lunch, we offered kayaking and paddleboarding. Many guests participated, and everyone enjoyed these experiences. During the walk, guests had the opportunity to observe white-throated capuchin monkeys. We took some time to observe their behavior. On the island, the species developed different skills because there are no natural predators. This allows the monkeys to spend more time on the ground. They can open coconuts and have developed tools to open shells and clams.
Around 3:30 p.m., we moved to our next destination, Panama City, for the canal crossing.