Our journey aboard National Geographic Quest began in Panama. We crossed the Panama Canal and explored the canal’s tropical rainforest. After we exited the canal, we moved southwest. On our last day in Panama, we stopped at the most important national park of Panama, Coiba.

For many years, Coiba was known as a prison. In 1919, President Belisario Porras created a penitentiary to isolate prisoners from the rest of the population. Prisoners had to work very hard in the fields to produce their own food. In 2000, the government relocated the prisoners and created a national park. Coiba is now considered the most important marine national park due to its diversity of fauna and flora. There is also a high level of biodiversity underwater within the large coral reef. Recently, the government of Panama extended the protected area of Coiba from 20,000 km to 68,000 km due to Coiba’s importance for migratory species.

We dropped anchor early in the morning and divided guests into two groups. We offered snorkeling and walks around the ranger station’s garden. During the walk, we had great opportunities to see scarlet macaws, white-throated capuchins, mealy Amazon parrots, agoutis, black hawks, yellow-headed caracaras, and American crocodiles. On the second round of walks, we had the opportunity to see more wildlife. We returned to the ship to enjoy an amazing lunch prepared by the galley. In the afternoon, we returned to the ranger station for paddleboarding, kayaking, and swimming.

Around 15:30 we returned to the ship and saw some pantropical spotted dolphins.