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Destination: Gulf of Chiriqui Panama

The Gulf of Chiriqui is located off the Chiriqui Province of Panama. To reach this destination you can either go by boat from the port of Pedregal (10 minutes from David) or car from the town of Boca Chica.

This area boasts a lower level of rain than the rest of Panama, making it a very attractive destination. Temperatures year round are fairly consistent, with daytime temperatures in the 80s and 90s and nighttime around 70s.

This area in the Pacific gulf of Panama has the second largest reef in the Pacific and innumerable small islands in many archipelago including Central America’s largest island, Coiba Island and Coiba National Marine Park. This area is home to the richest mangroves and rarest pelagic marine species in the world. Lonely Planet Panama calls the Gulf of Chiriqui an undisputed gem. It has a reputation as a world-class sport fishing destination, as evidenced by Saltwater Fisherman Magazine, which named it the best place in the world for catching the Black Marlin in their April 2009 issue. The Moon handbook on Panama says the Gulf of Chiriqui is so large and species-rich some consider it a small sea. Well known among insiders for its boating, sport fishing, surfing, scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities, the unspoiled and largely undiscovered coastal and marine environments in the area rival the best on the Pacific coasts of Central America and Mexico.

The area of the Gulf of Chiriqui includes:

• Boca Chica – Located 32 miles from David is the main jumping off point for the islands in the Gulf of Chiriqui, including Boca Brava and Isla Palenque. Boca Chica sits on the Pacific coast just North West of the islands that make up the Gulf of Chiriqui National Marine. Long a little fishing village, Boca Chica moves to a slow tempo, housing tourists and big game fishermen in a few quaint, family-owned inns.
• Gulf of Chiriqui National Marine – The park consists of the archipelago 25 islands, including the main island, Isla Parida as well as Isla Secas, Bolanos, Gamez and others. Established in 1994, the park is known for its green iguanas, humpback whales, hammerhead sharks, dolphins, multiple species of sea turtles and giant rays. Tours can be arranged to visit the islands to spend the day or overnight.
• Coiba National Marine Park – Frequently referred to as the Galapagos Islands of Central America, Coiba National Marine Park is composed of the island of Coiba and 37 surrounding islands and islets, all of which are about 30 miles off the Panamanian coast. In 2004 by the Panamanian government turned it into the largest marine park in Central America. UNESCO has named Coiba National Marine Park a World Heritage Site, identifying more than 800 marine species in the waters surrounding the park.

The Coiba National Marine Park is gaining a fine reputation for being what the Moon travel book calls a “Garden of Eden” touting the second largest coral reef in the Pacific. Though its remote nature has helped to preserve this gem, it also serves to deter visitors. Tours can be coordinated from the Boca Chica part of the gulf or from the coastal town of Santa Catalina.

For more information please view: “Destination: Santa Catalina and Coiba”

Activities

• Fish for black marlin, sail fish, snapper, dorado and more
• Scuba or snorkel and see humpback whales, sea turtles and giant rays
• Hike a remote tropical island and see howler monkey families in the trees
• Swim on dozens of secluded beaches with white, tan or zebra striped sand
• Sail, kayak or motor boat the more than 25 islands
• Surf in uncrowded beaches in Morro Negrito
• Go horseback riding to the spectacular waterfall near Boca Chica

Hotels in the Gulf of Chiriqui:
• Boutique Hotel Cala Mia in Boca Chica
• Morro Negrito Surf Camp
• Propiedad de Paradise in Isla Parida
• Hotel Boca Brava in the Island of Boca Brava
• Seagullcove Lodge in Boca Chica

Tours in the Gulf of Chiriqui:
• Explore, Relax and Snorkel in the White Sand Beaches in the Gulf of Chiriqui
• Sea Kayak in Gulf of Chiriqui National Marine Park
Fishing in the Gulf of Chiriqui:
• Sport Fishing in Panama: Gulf of Chiriqui, Hannibal Bank and Coiba


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