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Panama Nature and Wildlife

  • Spider monkey in its natural habitat
  • Large capibara male
  • Surface and underwater view
  • Red eyed green tree frog
  • Colorful toucan
  • Red-and-green Macaw

Despite its small size, Panama is incredibly rich in biodiversity. This biodiversity is a direct result of the country’s history. Nearly three million years ago, Panama became a land bridge that linked North and South America, allowing species from both continents to mix. Many scientists, therefore, say that Panama is “hyperdiverse”. While the country is quickly developing, the government is working to protect the natural landscapes and one-third of the country has been given protected status.

Panama is home to 218 mammal species including elusive cats like jaguars and pumas as well as more common monkey species like howler and spider monkeys. Anteaters, sloths and armadillos are present, while Baird’s Tapir is the largest mammal in Panama. With two coastlines, one on the Caribbean Sea and one on the Pacific Ocean, Panama hosts a vast array of marine life. Turtles like Leatherback Sea Turtles and Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are found in the country. Humpback whales can be spotted off the Pacific coast from June to September while whale sharks, nurse sharks and bottle-nosed dolphins can also be seen.

Panama is perhaps most famous for being a haven for birdwatchers. There are approximately 940 bird species found in the country, the largest number of bird species found in Central America. The Harpy Eagle is the national bird of Panama and is one of the most powerful birds of prey. Other birds found throughout the country include macaws, parrots, toucans and quetzals. Some of the best places for birdwatching in Panama are Cana in Darien National Park and Soberanía National Park.  

Recent years have witnessed an increase in government initiatives to protect Panama’s varied ecosystems that include tropical rainforests, mangroves, cloud forests, beaches and mountains. Approximately 22% of Panama’s land is protected through fourteen national parks. Some of the most popular national parks in the country are Soberanía National Park, Volcán Barú National Park, La Amistad International Park and Isla Coiba National Park.

Soberanía National Park hosts an amazing rainforest that is protected in part because it provides water for the Panama Canal. It is home to a variety of animals from both North and South America as well as many migratory birds. The highlight of Volcán Barú National Park is the Barú Volcano, the highest peak in Panama. Popular with birdwatchers, the park has both dense forest, and at its higher points, an intermittent cloud forest. La Amistad International Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is shared with Costa Rica. It gained World Heritage status because it is considered one of the most biodiverse regions in the Americas due to its virgin forests. Finally, Isla Coiba National Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is popular with divers and snorkellers. The park encompasses thirty-eight islands and the rich waters that surround them. Large schools of fish, dolphins, hammerhead and nurse sharks, whales, and manta rays as well as the second largest coral reef in the Pacific are all part of the park.



Panama Travel Information

At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to Panama.

Learn about the history and culture of Panama, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Panama's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Panama for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Panama tours today!


Extend Your Trip

After your Panama Tour, why not consider another of Goway's Latin America tours? These include a large selection of other exciting countries in Central and South America. We offer Chile vacation packages and Easter Island toursEcuador vacation packages which include Galapagos cruises, Peru vacation packages which include Machu Picchu tours and Brazil tours including Iguassu Falls tours among many others.



Book your Panama tour with Goway! 

LATIN AMERICA by Goway is an exclusive division that specializes in planning and organizing Panama tours and experiences. Choose from a simple city stopover, one of our island stays, a lodge and beach stay holiday for sun seekers or snowbirds and more. We want to be your first choice when next you go globetrotting to Panama.

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