Panama

Panama is a country in Central America with coastlines on both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean. It is situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America and is the narrowest point of a land bridge between the two continents, sharing the biodiversity of both. The ease of travel and a wide array of experiences make Panama one of the most attractive destinations in the world. Panama offers sandy-beach islands on both coasts, tropical rainforests scattered with pristine waterfalls, and green, misty mountain valleys spread with coffee plantations framed by volcanoes. Rainforests are some of the world’s most biologically diverse habitats exposing you to unique plants and animals you won’t find outside of Central America.

Locales

The Pearl Islands is a group of 200 or more islands and islets (many tiny and uninhabited) about 30 miles off the Pacific coast of Panama in the Gulf of Panama. The most notable island is Contadora Island. Contadora was said to be used by the Spanish conquistadors as a stop for taking inventory of booty before returning to Spain, hence the name (Contador means counter or bookkeeper in Spanish). The Pearl Islands are an exciting destination combining adventure and beautiful secluded beaches.

Isla Cebaco and Punta Nariño ‘The Lost Coast’ is well known for its sport fishing, Scuba diving, and whale watching. The island is home to abundant wildlife within its forests and sizeable private teak plantations. Besides fishing, Isla Cebaco offers excellent surfing on the southern coast.

The Azuero Peninsula and the ‘Tuna Coast’ is a large peninsula in southern Panama. The Pacific Ocean surrounds it to the south, the Pacific and Gulf of Montijo to the west, and the Gulf of Panama to the east. It is a world-class surfing and fishing destination.

Coiba Island is also one of the last places in Central America where the scarlet macaw (Ara Macao) is found in large numbers in the wild. The island is about 75% forested with a large fraction standing ancient forest. Coiba Island is home to rare flora, and fauna found only on the island. The island also harbors tree species that have long disappeared from the mainland due to deforestation and over-harvesting. The island was declared a national park in 1992, and in July 2005, UNESCO declared the entire Coiba National Park a “World Heritage Site.” It is also home to some of the best diving in the world. When you are at Coiba, you can truly escape the modern world.

The Darién Gap is a break in the Pan-American Highway consisting of a large swath of undeveloped swampland and forest within Panama‘s Darién Province and the northern portion of Colombia’s Chocó Department in South America. The gap begins in Yaviza, Panama, and ends in Turbo, Colombia, and is 106 km (66 miles) long. The Darién Gap is home to the Embera-Wounaan and Kuna (and the former home of the Cueva people before their extermination in the 16th century). Travel is often by dugout canoe (piragua). You will love staying in our rustic house on the beach.

Expeditions and Excursions

Travel the world with Outdoor Leadership Institute on our wildlife safaris, small ship cruises, active adventures, family trips, diving and photography tours, Corporate Retreats and more.

Darien Jungle Expedition

You will be staying in Panama City on your arrival day. Panama is a vibrant city worth visiting, great restaurants and the night life is world class.

Lost Coast Expedition

Experience the incredible diversity and beauty that Santa Catalina, Isla Coiba and the Lost Coast have to offer.

Sustainable Forestry

You will be staying in Panama City on your arrival day. Panama is a vibrant city worth visiting, great restaurants and the night life is world class.

Cultural Preservation

Explore and learn about the rich and diverse mix of cultures within this fascinating and beautiful country.

Conservation Efforts

Conservation efforts strive to protect natural resources. Some conservation is accomplished by setting aside national parks and wildlife preserves, while other conservation works target specific threats to particular species. Read about our various Conservation Efforts below.

Sustainable Forestry

A balance between society’s increasing demand for forest products and the preservation of forest health is critical to the survival and prosperity of forest-dependent communities in Panama.

Ocean Awareness

Our Turtle Preservation Program in the Darien has grown from 150 to 250 nests. The program pays local people to preserve and protect the nest sites and to reach the sea once hatched.

Cultural Preservation

The Embera who are indigenous to Panama are facing threats to their lands and culture due to development. Preservation of this culture and history is critical.

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