Coiba National Park is the biggest marine park in the Eastern Pacific. Its multiple islands, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters have long been preserved since until very recently, the island was a penal colony for the most dangerous criminals. Panama plans to preserve the area instead of developing it. Even though the island would be desirable to developers, Panama believes that keeping it natural is a much better plan in the long run.

National Geographic Quest made it to Coiba National Park this morning after navigating 120 nautical miles from Costa Rica. We visited the main ranger station, where we took a nature walk to observe many bird species, iguanas, and the endemic agouti. We hiked to the top of one of the hills, about 450 feet high, to the most incredible lookout point. We enjoyed swimming, kayaking, and, of course, the very popular standup paddleboard.

For snorkeling, we visited Coco Island, a little island with an amazing rocky reef and an incredible variety of fish species. The water was very clear today, and we got to see many different fish, including whitetip reef sharks and the beautiful Hawksbill sea turtle.