Darien Jungle, Panama Cruise Port

Cruising to Panama can be the adventure of a lifetime, and the Darién Gap (which is within both the Darién Province in Central America and Colombia's Chocó Department in South America) intensifies that adventure. Here you'll find yourself surrounded by nature at its wildest; with flat marshland courtesy of the Atrato River and mountainous rainforest on the Panamanian side, this is a world that many travelers have never encountered. Home to the Embera-Wounaan and Kuna Indians who tend to travel through the area via dugout canoe (piragua), the small population has corn, cassava, plantains, and bananas as their staple crops. Crossing the Gap has been done in many ways over the last century in addition to via boat, notably by off-road vehicles, motorcycles, by bus, and on foot. For an exciting excursion into the unknown, here are some of our favorite experiences for the cruise port of Darién Jungle, Panama:
 
  • The entrance into the Darién Jungle begins with a simple footbridge in the town of Yaviza. Once you can walk instead of travel by boat, you might see the traditional Emberá Indian home, built on stilts because of frequent flooding. Their log ladders also serve as a communication device: if notches are facing out, visitors are welcome; if rolled under, the resident prefers not to be disturbed.
     
  • The Darién National Park (Parque Nacional Darién) is the most extensive of all national parks of Panama and one of the most important world heritage sites in Central America. Here you'll find everything from swamplands to sandy beaches to the tropics, and a plethora of wildlife. The most common animals here are the parrots, tapirs, and macaws; it’s also home to endangered species such as Spotted Paca, Guatemalan Black Howler, Night Monkey, Central American Agouti, and others.
     
  • Along the way, you may come across the farmers growing plantain bananas, which are then shipped Yaviza and eventually sold in Panama City.
     
  • Fishing enthusiasts might want to try their hand in the Turia River; the waters are full of fish, and a local guide can help you find the best spots for a great catch.
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