La Amistad National Park
The cross-border La Amistad National Park (Parque Internacional La Amistad – PILA) covers an area of 207,000 hectares of spectacular highland and cloud forest landscapes that are unique within Panama.
La Amistad National Park has been a Unesco biosphere reserve since 1983. The park is hardly accessible for tourists, but two easily accessible paths give visitors a good insight into the ecosystem of the cloud forest. The first of them, called Sendero el Retoño, starts at the ranger station Las Nubes (the road here is now completely asphalted), from where it describes a short, 2 km long round through secondary forest and crosses clear mountain streams on small wooden bridges. Early in the morning and at dusk, this route is excellent for birdwatching. Much steeper is the Sendero La Cascada (4 km long), which leads past several viewpoints over the treetops of the cloud forest to the name-giving waterfall. Las Nubes is currently developing a biological research station with a visitor centre, library, organic farming and sale of products, and overnight accommodation.
So far 263 species of amphibians and reptiles have been discovered, the majority of them lizards. Among the mammal species represented are tapir, jaguar, puma, ocelot, peccary, skunk and various species of monkeys. Over 400 bird species have been counted, including the endangered Quetzal and the Eagle.
A good starting point to visit the La Amistad National Park is Cerro Punta.