Located about an hour across the Gulf of Chiriqui by boat from Islas Secas, off Panama’s southern coast, the 503 sq km Coiba National Park is the biggest (appr. 500 square kilometers) island in Central America and the largest uninhabited island in all of Latin America. Together with the nearby mainland, the Bahia Honda area, it forms one of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in Central America, inhabited by charismatic wildlife, both terrestrial and marine.
Declared a national park in 1992 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, Coiba was best known for 85 years (1919-2004) as a penal colony. Under the dictatorships of Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos, the place had a horrific reputation for extreme brutality, torture, and politically-motivated executions. As a result, locals avoided Coiba like the plague.
Click here to learn more about this island considered as one of the most biodiverse places on earth on this amazing Nat Geo publication.