With the exception of Ecuador's Galápagos Islands and Isla de Coco in Costa Rica, few destinations off the Pacific coast of the Americas are as exotic as this national park covering the 503-sq-km Isla de Coiba. Although just 20km offshore in the Golfo de Chiriquí, Coiba is a veritable lost world of pristine ecosystems and unique fauna.
Isolated for the past century due to its status as a notorious penal colony, Coiba offers travelers the chance to hike through primary rainforest and snorkel and dive in a marine park with increasingly rare wildlife. However, with virtually no tourist infrastructure in place, you’re going to have to plan hard (and pay top dollar) to really see it up close.
Coiba was declared a national park in 1991, and in 2005 Unesco made it a World Heritage site.