Panama is more than just a canal... much more, and what you find here depends on what you are looking for :P ... if you are not quite sure what that is, don't worry..! in this blog i'll try to show you just a little bit of this beautiful country... check it out!
Like Chiriqui, Veraguas also is a very diverse province. It is the only province with coasts on both the pacific and the carribean sea (although you actually don´t have access to the carribean coasts) and it has an majestic mountain scenery.
Santiago - the capital
The city offers a couple of good hotels and restaurants, to make your stay comfortable. While you are there, you should definetly visit the Veraguas Regional Museum where you can see, among other things, archeological exhibits. It is open from Monday till Friday. Also visit the school "Escuela Normal Superior Juan Demostenes Arosemena", which is considered a national monument due to its architecture. It was built in 1936 and contains paintings of Roberto Lewis, including the paintings "The holocaust of the Race" and "Indian Nobility". You see Indian princesses riding on slaveborn litters.
San Francisco de la Montaña
You should definetly check out Veraguas' amazing mountains. A good destination is this small town with a beautiful old baroque church whose altar is recently restored by a Vatican artist. It shows carvings that demonstrate a mixture of the Spanish Catholicism and the Indian culture. On the way up to this village there is a great refreshment stop: the farm El Rosario. You can buy fresh yoghurts and cheeses, and they even offer to take a look at the working farm and the paso horses. If you want to, have your first experience of milking a cow!
Coiba National Park
This is one of the most treasureful national parks of Panama, located in front of the Pacific Coast of Veraguas. It is 2,700 square kilometers of islands, forests, beaches, mangroves and coral reefs. In the heart of it lies Coiba Island, Panamas largest island. The remarkable preservation of this island is mostly due to the its use as a prison since 1920, which has kept people from setteling there. Because of its outstanding nature, the Panamian government declared it 1992 a National Park and since then, ANAM and several private institutions design strategies to protect the park.
The biological wealth of this island is amazing. There are more than 36 mammal species that you find nowhere else in the world! The park also include the reef Bahia Damas, which is the second largest reef in the eastern Pacific! You will find humpback whales, dolfins and large turtles there.
To have acces to the park you need to contact one of the various tour operators in Panama, which offer ecotours to the Coiba island such as diving or fishing trips. It is only possible with a permission of ANAM. The only overnight facility is the ANAM ranger station, that offers several 2 room cabins with air conditioning. The diving tours are an amazing experience, as you can see all this life in the coral reefs and swim with turtles!
There are several places where boats are departing to the island, the most popular one is probably Santa Catalinas beach.
Santa Catalina has been just a small fishing village in the Chiriqui Gulf for a long time. Lately, it has been discovered by surfers from all over the world and developped into a surfers paradise. You will find several surf camps there, low cost hostels and a few restaurants. It is also the best place to depart to Coiba Island, because it is just about an hour away.
The village has become the host or the international surf contest aswell.