From the Field: A Little Piece of Heaven Snorkeling in Coiba National Park

From the Field: Lisseth Alfaro, Expedition Guide from Safari Voyager

After 5 days navigating the Pacific Ocean and seeing the magical rainforest, we stopped at the beautiful National Park on Panama called Coiba. We were in front of Canal de Afuera Island - it's located in the northern part of the National Park. Canal de Afuera is 220 hectares, mostly covered with primary forest and dense vegetation. It's a place in the middle of nowhere with a beautiful white sand beach and great coral reef.

Sandy Beach in Costa Rica / Panama

In such a beautiful spot, we were eager to jump in the water and do some snorkeling! But safety first - we had to be patient and listen to the guide's instructions and safety talk.

Afterward we jumped in and were able to experience the amazing coral reef. Coiba is famous for the diversity of sea life - you might see goldfish, white tip shark, pufferfish, and hawksbill and olive ridley sea turtles. The area is important because it protects a varied ecosystem and this high level of diversity.

We were swimming in the area surrounding an island that separated from land 12,000 years ago - nearly the time of the last ice age! Then magic happened. I teared up - I saw my dream come true. I was swimming with sea turtles. A beautiful hawksbill looking for sea sponges to eat swam in front of us.

Hawksbill turtle swimming in green water

After hours of swimming, we were ready for different water activities, taking the chance to see the coral reef from a different perspective. I was on my paddleboard, getting pictures and talking to my guests. After that, a little bit of kayaking and beach time. I cannot explain how blessed I feel. Perfect afternoon, nice weather, white sand beach, funny hermit crabs, pelicans flying, I thought nothing could be better. Some snorkelers came and said they even saw a white tip shark and a sting ray.

Expedition guide Lisseth Alfaro in a kayak

Time flies in paradise! We had to leave and continue to our next amazing destination for tomorrow's adventures. At the end of the day, Coiba said goodbye with an incredible sunset. We were lucky to witness a little piece of heaven.