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This park is located south of the province of Veraguas. With a surface of 270,125 hectares (650,000 acres), this park protects three kinds of ecosystems: the island, the reef and marine life. This park is a group of islands with Coiba being the biggest one and Ranchería (Coibita), Jicarón, Jicarita, Afuerita, Canal de Afuera, Uvas, Contreras and Brincanco islands (153,582 hectares or 370,000 acres) together with some marine areas of 216,543 ha (520,000 acres). Which make this one of the most extensive marine parks in the world.
Coiba itself, with 49,300 ha. (120,000 acres) is the largest island of the American Pacific and because of its geographical isolation, a penal colony was established here in 1910, which still exists today. Because of this situation, the forest on the island has remained untouched. From Panama City you can take a plane to Santiago (30 minutes) in the province of Veraguas or by car in 4 hours (245 kilometers or 140 miles). Once in Santiago you have to make a 25 km. drive to Puerto Mutis where you take a boat to the island (between 2 to 6 hours depending on the weather and on the type of boat).
Because of the penitentiary located here, you must get authorization from the Directorate of Penal Correction in the Ministry of Government and Justice and from the National Environment Authority (ANAM) Without these authorizations you can not get on the island.
Also is very important to mention that the islanda was a penal colony established in 1912 and closed in July of 2004: the last 8 prisoners were taken from the island in July. It’s obvious to see why the island was chosen as a penal colony; it’s far from the mainland and the waters around the island are infamous for aggressive sharks and strong currents. The island is very remote; the coastline near the island is not populated and the nearest town is hours away by boat. The island is also very large: ten miles wide and thirty miles long. Coiba Island is the largest island on the Pacific coast of Central America. Coiba is mountainous, covered in thick jungle and home to very poisonous snakes.
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|Dive sites (5)||Quality||Avg depth||Max depth||Experience||Dive type|
|El Cholo||- / -||19.8 m||22.9 m||CMAS ** / AOW|
|El Porton||- / -||20 m||30 m||CMAS ** / AOW|
|Isla Granito de Oro||13 / -||12 m||15 m||All divers|
|La Viuda||- / -||19.8 m||29.3 m||CMAS ** / AOW|
|Mali Mali||- / -||20 m||30 m||CMAS ** / AOW|
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