Country Guide » National Parks
With close proximity to Panama´s capital at just 15 miles north of Panama City, Soberania National Park is 48,287 acres of protected rainforest. Offering some of the most accessible outdoor recreational opportunities in Panama, this national park provides ample opportunity for wildlife sightings and also plays an intricate role in the function of the Panama Canal and the protection of its surrounding habitats and wildlife.
Established in 1980, Soberania National Park forms part of the protected corridor that runs along the Eastern border of the Canal. This protected area including Soberania, Parque Camino de Cruces and Parque Natural Metropolitano, ensures the efficiency of the Panama Canal, which requires large quantities of water, and uninterrupted movement of wildlife. This safe movement of passage is especially important for birds. Panama has long been known as a birder´s paradise. Boasting 940 avian species, Panama is considered one of the world´s best birding locations. The Panama Canal represents one of the top migratory passages for birds in the western hemisphere, and the protected areas corridor ensures the safety and protection of this unique ecosystem.
Aside from being an ecological safe-haven, Soberania National Park is also home to great hiking trails and wildlife sightings. The most popular of these trails is Pipeline Road. This flat 17-mile “road” provides incredible opportunities for wildlife sightings. Over 380 species of birds have been observed and it is not uncommon to see monkeys, sloths and the occasional reptile. There are also numerous other trails in the park ranging from short and quick to all-day hikes. 6.2 miles of the historic Camino de Cruces is located in the park providing a great hike and also a bit of history. The trail was constructed in the 16th century by the Spanish and was used to transfer merchandise and gold between the two oceans. Ruins of an old village are still present on this trail making a great resting point during the hike.
Located along Pipeline Road is the newly constructed Panama Rainforest Discovery Center. This is a great place to stop to get some information and also to retrieve a map of Soberania National Park and its trails. Follow the Discovery Center´s trails or venture out on your own on one of the many other trails: either way you´ll have a complete day of outdoor adventure.