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Quezal- Spot a mythical golden-head quetzal: Within your jungle walks, keep your eye out for the legendary bird of Mayan, Toltec, and Aztec kings. The quetzal bird is so beautiful and rare that European settlers once believed it to be a figment of the natives’ imagination. Now, bird watchers from around the world flock to the region in hope of realizing this lore.
Playa de Muerto- Spend an evening in Playa de Muerto—the coastal region and home of a traditional Embera village. The area, whose name literally translates to Beach of the Dead, will enliven your trip by introducing you to local Indians and their traditions as well as some of the most virgin rainforest out there.
Yaviza- While you can’t forget your national visa or passport, you will forget the concrete jungle that is modern civilization as we know it. Stop over in Yaviza, the final point on the Pan-American Highway, where you’ll find the ancient ruins of an old Spanish fort which at one point protected an entrance to vast colonial gold mines.
Wildlife- Well, you won’t be getting attacked by any animals on this trip, but the Darien is about the closest place to see nature at its purest. Seek out the elusive jaguars and pumas and monkeys that call this jungle home. Taking photos home with you is OK. Taking animals is not.
Filed under: Darién on June 11th, 2008