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Panama, Panama, Panama
Greetings from Panama! My name is Marina Ehrman and I have been a professional tour guide and promoter for Panama Tourism and Travel Company since 2005. I love what I do and am proud to share what my country has to offer. It is filled with endless leisure and commercial attractions, friendly happy people who open their doors to all visitors. Panama is a country of incomparable natural beauty with a variety of tourist attractions, beautiful beaches in the Pacific and Caribbean. The tropical climate year round with its diversified flora, fauna and indigenous groups make it one of the most important of Ecotourism in Latin America. I invite you to know our country’s history, culture and also enjoy the cuisine, folklore and traditions that only a place in the world can provide………Panama! Contact me and I’ll organize your visit and will be happy to welcome you in Panama. For more information on Panama, follow my Facebook page and my blog. Visit
Showing posts with label coiba island. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coiba island. Show all posts

Penal Colony of Isla Coiba Tour

Mention Isla Coiba to the average Panamanian and treasured marine park and abundant ecosystem are probably not the image that pops into their mind.  For modern day citizens of Panama, stories of imprisonment, torture and death are more like to come to mind.
Coiba Island was Panama’s version of Devil’s Island.  From 1919 to 2004, the penal colony on Isla Coiba was home to the country’s most dangerous criminals as well as home to many who found themselves on the wrong side of the political struggle.  At its peak, The Coiba Island Prison housed 3000 inmates in about 30 camps spread around the islands.
“Los Desaparecidos” was the name given to the hundreds or even thousands who disappeared in Panama under dictators Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega, never to be seen again.  It is believed that many of these unfortunate individuals either ended up in unmarked graves near the Coiba’s penal colony or to have been dismembered and fed to the abundant shark population in its surrounding waters. 
After the fall of the dictatorship, Coiba resumed its role as a criminal prison camp rather than political prison.  In its final days, prisoners were the run of the mill thieves, murders and rapists serving their debt to society by farming and ranching the island to provide for their own existence.
The prison is now closed.  The prisoners have been relocated to other facilities and anything of value has been removed from the site.  The remaining structure is slowly being reclaimed by jungle and the marine air.  Its crumbling buildings and simply marked graves serve as the only memorial to Coiba’s dark history.

The fear of the prison and its inhabitants inadvertently resulted in preservation of the largest untouched rain forests in the Americas.  Because of the deterrent of the penal colony, about 80% of the islands forest remains virgin and unmolested.  A true silver lining in one of man’s most horrible moments.  Of course, with the prison gone and the supervising staff woefully under funded, Coiba’s next challenge is fending off poachers preying on the abundant wildlife of the park.

Tourism Attraction: Veraguas Province

Veraguas Province is located in central Panama, and is the only province with both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. The capital of Veraguas is Santiago, which is the fourth largest city in Panama. The town of San Francisco De La Montana is close to Santiago, and here you can find a gorgeous church with baroque style architecture dating back to the beginning of the XVIII century. The province of Veraguas also encompasses spectacular mountain terrain along the Cordillera Central that rises as it continues into Chiriqui Province. Veraguas Province offers tourists and visitors close contact with nature, while exploring it’s rainforests, mountains, beaches and islands where there are more than 200 varieties of orchids, more than 400 species of birds, as well as a diversity of mammals, reptiles and insects.

Veraguas includes several islands including Cebaco, Isla Jicaron and Isla Gobernadora. The largest is Isla Coiba, which includes Coiba National Park . This park has the second largest coral reef in the Central-Eastern Pacific Ocean, and is one of the largest marine parks in the world. Isla Coiba also has beautiful beaches such as Playa Damas and Playa Blanca. Other parks in Veraguas include Santa Fe National, Yeguada Lagoon Forst Reserve and Montuoso Forest Reserve.
In addition to its mountains and jungles, Veraguas also offers beautiful beaches, such as Playa Santa Catalina, Playa Mariato, Malena and Torio, which provide great opportunities for recreation, surfing and fishing. In particular, Playa Santa Catalina is well known throughout the world, especially in the surfing community.