This morning, we began our exploration by walking the trails of Dolphin Quest Reserve, an ex-cacao farm turned conservation project that now practices rural tourism. Some guests participated in a forest walk while others decided to explore the property. In the afternoon, we repositioned National Geographic Quest in Golfito, a former banana harbor. Some guests explored by kayak and others enjoyed a Zodiac tour to visit the mangroves. It was a beautiful day. We had the chance to see scarlet macaws, toucans, wrens and tanagers. We also saw all four species of Costa Rica’s monkeys. When we came back from our exploration, bartenders offered mojitos to guests in the ship’s fantail. We ended the day by sailing toward Panama. We left behind us the mountains that surround Golfo Dulce, a beautiful gulf.
National Geographic Quest
Coiba National Park: Cocos Island and Rancheria Island
Coiba National Park is the largest marine park in the Eastern Pacific. Its multiple islands, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear water make it a choice destination for nature lovers. Coiba is Panama’s largest island at 493 square kilometers. Until very recently, the island was the site of a penal colony, which kept developers away and allowed the island to maintain its pristine condition. In 1991, it became the centerpiece of a 270,000-hectare national park, over 80% of which is oceanic. Not only is the number of terrestrial species (birds, reptiles, mammals) very high, but there are over 70 species of fish. The island is home to the second largest Eastern Pacific coral reef, and it offers the finest snorkeling found in the area. Today we snorkeled off Cocos Island. With easy access from a white sand beach, we found plenty of rocky reefs and incredible opportunities to observe thousands of colorful fish. We spent all morning here, and conditions were perfect for discovering the underwater world. After lunch, we visited the island of Rancheria, where we looked for birds, hiked, kayaked, and used paddleboards. Rancheria is a pristine island with perfect sand, palm trees for shade, and warm, crystal-blue water. We walked along a trail that led to a lookout from which we could see the layout of the islets and the big island of Coiba in the background. This was our last day in Panama, and we enjoyed it to the fullest.