By Shannon E Johnson
A sauna does more to open the pores of skin than to relax an unduly stressed mind. Adventure or ecological tourism is an appropriate antidote for people who are exhausted by weekly commute and work schedules. That is why even planning for a vacation many months down the line gives so much pleasure!
Unusual destinations for vacations are not easy to find. Many of the most prominent or promoted places are either overly full of fellow vacationers, or simply bereft of essential infrastructure. The trick seems to find a place that is close to nature and secure at the same time. The Darien National Park which straddles the very stretch of Panama is a top choice worth considering for an entirely refreshing vacation.
Panama City is an obvious gateway to a vacation in the narrow strip of land that separates two of earth’s largest oceans. The Darien National Park is a good 250 miles away from the city. The wealthy can hire a small private aircraft for a quick hop to the very edge of the Park, but the ardor of a combination road and boat journey to the UNESCO-recognized bio-reserve and World Heritage Site for most people is also rewarding in its own right.
Tour operators are not unjustified in warning against vacations in some parts of Panama, because the jungle border with Colombia is infested with brigands. However, the network of scientific stations that dot the Darien National Park, offer vacationers both safe harbor and enjoyable technical guidance as well. Everyone can enjoy a memorable vacation here, free of undue risks.
The Darien National Park rises from the golden sands at the feet of the Pacific Ocean, to a height of nearly six thousand feet, over the course of over a million acres. It is therefore a nature lover’s paradise, with at least three distinct eco-systems merging seamlessly in to each other. The sturdy mangroves just beyond the sand, lush sub-tropical forests, and volcanic regions, provide an incredibly versatile palette of plant and animal life forms.
The quintessentially Central American location of the Darien National Park makes it a year-round destination of choice for a birding vacation. The vegetation not only supports a beguiling array of avian species, but falls within every bird’s eye view of migrating flocks as well. Even the most accomplished bird watcher can look forward to novel sightings at the Darien National Park, while people who have taken to this entirely pleasurable hobby before, can become avid enthusiasts after a vacation here.
Wild life adds value to every vacation, and the Darien National Park has stellar attractions in this respect. This is the only place on earth where some seven types of mammals, including species of a gopher and a fox can be found. Even the more common species of invertebrates and other animal groups delight visitors in the salubrious and pristine environment of the Park.
The piece-de-resistance of the Darien National Park vacation charm is the contented and sustainable co-existence of indigenous tribes with migrant races from the Caribbean. These communities seem to hold endless lessons for modern civilizations in confrontation with each other, as they live simply but wisely together in peace. The cultures and conventions of these communities add immeasurably to the animal and plant charms of a Panama vacation.
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