Soberania National Park is the true place to go for bird watching in Panama! You find this national park only 40 minutes from Panama City. Hundreds of animal and plant species live in this rainforest, but the park became famous because of the 525 different species of birds that live there. The park is a real biodiversity ‘hot spot’ due to the presence of both primary and secondary rainforest, marshes and streams. A paradise for nature lovers!
In the park, you find an enormous variety of hiking trails through this beautiful nature. Pipeline Road is in particular a nice trail. This path starts from the city of Gamboa. During the Second World War, a pipeline was built here to transfer fuel from one coast to another. Today it is known as one of Panama’s best birdwatching spots. Near the entrance of Pipeline Road you will find the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center with a 30-meter-high observation tower in the middle of the forest. From here you have a beautiful view over the canopy of the jungle.
The powerful river Río Chagres runs through the forest near Gamboa. Several indigenous Emberá-Wounaan tribes live on the river banks and you can visit these communities accompanies by a guide.
Other tours include a visit to a botanical garden and zoo, where you can see more than 15,000 plant species and various rare animal species, including tapirs and jaguars.
You can also hike the fairly unknown Camino de Cruces trail. This route runs from Panama City (Casco Viejo) to the port of Venta de Cruces, which was used by the Spaniards in the 16th century to transport textiles, spices, gold and silver. Today, the path is widely used by nature lovers. Like the Old Gamboa Road, this trail is located on the south side of the Soberania National Park.
After a visit to the Panama Canal, we went to Soberania National Park. A great experience! Our local guide, who spotted much more than we did, was of real added value. I thought it is really special that you can experience beautiful nature so close to the big city.