This morning, National Geographic Quest anchored in front of Coiba’s ranger station. Coiba is the biggest continental island in the region and the most pristine reservoir of flora and fauna with a high level of endemism. Its Indigenous population failed to survive the Conquistador Era, but the island they once wandered remains pretty much the same.

The island preserves around 75% of its original flora along with very special fauna. Ironically, this was achieved due to the enormous fear the island inspired for local people. Declared a penal colony in 1919, the island developed a reputation as a place of no return. It was this mentality that prevented people from visiting and developing the island, which allowed nature to remain intact.

After the penal era ended and due to the pristine state of the island’s ecosystems, Coiba was and ideal island for preservation. Coiba National Park was created even before the penal colony closed in 1992.

Today we had the opportunity to snorkel off a nearby islet called Cocos. The water was crystal clear, and we observed several species of fish, whitetip sharks, hawksbill sea turtles, and more.

Later in the afternoon, we visited the main ranger station to enjoy kayaking and standup paddleboarding. Needless to say, it was a day spent in paradise!