Places in Interior Darién
Riverside Sambú is an interesting stop, populated by Emberá and Cimarron people (whose ancestors escaped the slave trade by living in the jungle). Urban by Darién standards, it has an airstrip, hospital and pay phone. Given the ease of flying in here, it makes a good launch point to visit riverside Emberá and Wounaan communities and absorb the slow jungle pace.
Reserva Natural Punta Patiño
On the southern shore of the Golfo de San Miguel, 25km from La Palma, is this private 263-sq-km wildlife preserve owned by ANCON and managed by the organization’s for-profit arm, Ancon Expeditions. The only way to reach the preserve is by boat or plane. Landing on the tiny strip of ocean-side grass that’s called a runway in these parts is definitely part of the experience.
The mouth of the wide, brown Río Sambú is 1½ hours by boat south of Punta Patiño. Boats pass through spectacular jungle, gliding past traditional Emberá and Wounaan villages. Fortitude is a must. You will have to deal with hours on board under a broiling tropical sun with leaking gasoline cans onboard.
Tips and articles
What to do on the Panama Canal: adventure, wildlife and village life
It’s an engineering marvel, a multibillion-dollar commercial behemoth, and by 2016 an ambitious project to make it even bigger will be complete...
An Innocent Abroad: El Clavo
Dealing with illness or injury on the road is tough at the best of times, let alone when you're far from home and all that's familiar, in the depths of Panamanian jungle...
Urban oases: the best towns in Central America
Central America is one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet but its natural assets are just part of its allure...
Discover Panama's swashbuckling history
Panama isn’t just about tropical headgear and the world’s greatest shortcut – its jungles and crumbling colonial ports conceal a history of gold and plunder on the Spanish Main...