Panama is considered a region with a tropical rain forest ecosystem declared Biosphere Reservation and Human Heritage, has a great quantity of important species of animals and plants. At only 10 minutes from downtown Panamá you can have access to three National Parks: Parque Nacional Camino de Cruces: is considered the oldest rode built (year 1550) by the Spanish conquerors, which was used to transport gold from the South Continent to the North Continent. Its rich biodiversity of flora and fauna and its nearness to the Panama Canal, it makes it an interesting place to visit for the national and international visitor.
Chagres National Park: Located in the Province of Panama and Colon, has a area of 129,585 acres, surrounded by humid tropical woods (84%). The whole park protects the watershed of the Chagres River (only river in the world to flow into two oceans), the same was damned at the level of the Canal to form Gatun Lake (that for a long time was considered the largest artificial lake in the world and before was a great valley). Chagres National Park is the most important source of potable water for the cities of Panama and Colon, also forms part of the water supply (almost 50%) for the functioning of the Panama Canal.
“SUMMIT” Natural Park: Located at Gamboa, inside the National Park Soberania, it is considered the Botanic Garden and a National Zoo of Panama. The Summit Park was created in 1923 by the American authorities that governed the past Canal Zone, and the idea was to perform studies of plants and trees that would help to maintain the forest of the watershed of the Panama Canal. It is considered a recreational, educational, conservation and investigation center that shows the natural and cultural diversity of Panama. Different types of animals can be seen, such as: jaguars, tapirs, monkeys, reptiles and amphibians, birds, from guacamayas, toucans, parakeets, even the “Aguila Harpia” (most powerful bird of prey of the world). Summit is also, home for more than 150 species of trees, palms, and bushes of around the world. More information: www.summitpanama.org
Opened Monday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Cost: 1.00 dollar adults and children 12 years and older, 0.50 cents retired
Telephones: (507) 232-4850/4854
El Caño Archeological Park: It is a pre-Colombian archeological site located in the central area of Panama, very near Penonome (Province of Cocle). According to the excavations preformed in the 1970’s, it was determined that various funeral knolls were inside the area, it considered as a ceremonial and religious area were inhabitants of diverse Indian towns congregated. Also, you can see a diverse alignment of monoliths and various human bones. A museum that shelters archeological pieces found in the area, also exists.
La Amistad International Park: This park forms part of the Patrimony of Humanity, it is located between Panama and Costa Rica with a surface of 207,000 square kilometers (420,000 acres) of humid tropical forests and diverse fauna; 95% is located at the province of Bocas del Toro and the rest in the Province of Chiriquí. The principal aquatic routes are the rivers “Teribe” and “Changuinola”, both considered a potential for the hydroelectric development of the country.
How to get there? From the city of Panama, by airplane is one hour to the City of David or by the Interamerican Road is 6 hours approximately. From David is one hour to Cerro Punta and then 5 kilometers to the administration offices of the park in the town of “Las Nubes”.
El Copé Park: Also known as General Omar Torrijos Herrera Park, it´s located at The Pintada district (Province of Cocle), 40 minutes from the city of Penonome, in the highlands of the central mountain range, between the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, the temperature is between 20° and 25° degrees centigrade. The park has the name of General Omar Torrijos Herrera who died in an airplane accident in the year 1981. This place is ideal for ecological and adventure lovers, has spectacular natural landscapes, rich in biodiversity of flora (more than 2,000 types of plants) and fauna, all types of animals like: squirrel, snakes, boas, parakeets, toucans, monkeys, jaguars, white- tailed deers, tapirs, and some animals in danger of extinction (puma, “tigrillo”, peccaries), also there are more than 300 species of birds. The “Colibri pico de hoz” is considered the symbol of the park and the mountains of “El Cope”. This area is included within the National System of Protected Areas since 1986.
You can perform excursions and trips of ecotourism to different places of interest: “Mirador de los Altos del Calvario” (950 meters over sea level), “Cerro Zapillon o Cerro de la Cruz” (you can see the cities of Aguadulce and the colonial town of “Nata de los Caballeros”), the trail of “Los Helechos”, “Rana Dorada” and “Las Cruces” (on sunny days you can see both oceans), thermal waters, “Ojo de Agua-Garande” and “Las Golondrinas” falls, beautiful rivers of clear and fresh water, visits to nurseries of iguanas, “ñeque”, rabbits and lot of other attractions.
Costs: The Park has an entrance cost of 1.50 dollars for Panamanians and 3.50 dollars for foreigners. The park has boarding facilities in cabins (for more information you can call ANAM in the city of Penonome, telephones 997-7538/997-9077) for a cost of 13.00 dollars per day per person that includes: living room and dining room, stove, refrigerator, bathroom, electric light (solar panel), drinking water, etc.
How to get there?
You can board a public bus in the Albrook Transportation Terminal, at a cost of 3.00 dollars per person (one way) until the towns of “El Cope” and “Las Sabanas”. Also, you can get by car through the Panamarican Highway.
Others interesting Parks in Panamá are:
- Parque Nacional Isla Bastimentos
- Parque Natural Metropolitano
- Parque Nacional Portobelo
- Parque Nacional Cerro Hoya
- Parque Nacional Marino Golfo de Chiriquí
- Parque Nacional Sarigua
- Parque Nacional Volcán Barú
- Parque Nacional Altos de Campana
- Parque Nacional Soberanía
- Parque Nacional Darién
For More information you can contact the following:
(Courtesy of IPAT-ANAM):