Some 17km south of El Real, as the lemon-spectacled tanager flies, is the Rancho Frío sector of Parque Nacional Darién. It’s home to Station VIII (sometimes called Pirre Station, not to be confused with the station at the top of Cerro Pirre near Cana). Rare bird species here include the crimson-bellied woodpecker, the white-fronted nunbird and the striped woodhaunter. It's a riveting spot for birdwatchers.
The excellent trail network includes a two-day trek to Cerro Pirre ridge and a one-hour walk through jungle to some cascades; the Cascada del Río Perresénico is about a half-hour away on foot. Neither should be attempted without a guide as they are unmarked – if you get lost out here you’re finished.
Visitors must write in Spanish to Panama City's SENAFRONT about their travel intentions in the Darién and carry photocopies of the letter and their passport with them; these may be examined at checkpoints.