Sarigua National Park
The national park was set up in 1985 on 8.000 hectares of land consisting of mangrove swamps, coastal zones and completely deforested areas in Herrera Province. It lies along a Pacific coastal strip between the mouths of the River Santa Maria and the River Parita on the bay of the same name.
The protected area extends over a fragile ecosystem known as 'albina', a completely deforested zone that was ruined by the activities of the people was colonized the area in the second half of the twentieth century.
The park's fragile coastal forests, which used to reach as far as the mangrove swamps, were totally destroyed to make way for grazing land, leaving poor acid soils exposed to the erosion caused by strong winds, winter rains and the ebb and flow of the tides.
The park lies in the most arid part of the country, where average annual precipitation is 1.100mm and average annual temperatures exceed 27° C, reading a desert like landscape unknown elsewhere in Panama. The beauty of the landscape, devoid of any kind of vegetation and criss-crossed by deep fissures and gullies caused by erosion, is one of the attractive features of this national park.
On the coast, there are still large mangrove swamps and some tracts of dry forest where macano trees (Caesalpinia coriaria), 'alconoque' (Mora oleifera) and 'piñuela' (Bromelia pinguin) can be found. Wildlife is scarce in this desert like environment, but on the coast various seabirds can be seen, including flocks of pelicans. 162 species of migratory have been recorded. In Sarigua, important archaeological remains have been discovered from an 11.000 year old fishing settlement, the oldest known inhabited place on the Isthmus of Panama, and from the oldest farming settlement in the country which dates from 5.000 to 1.500 years ago.
LOCATION: The Park is lies in Herrea Province on Parita Bay, 239 kilometers by road from Panama City.
ACCESS: there is access by road to the towns of Santa Maria and Parita. The protected area can also be reached by sea.
FACILITIES: the park has admistrative headquarters, but there are non nature trails.
ACCOMODATION:in the towns of Aguadulce to the North of the park on Chitré to the South.
USEFUL ADRESSES: for further information, contact the regional deadquarters of ANAM in Herrea (telephone 507 - 996 8216: fax 507 - 966-8165) or the national park offices tell 507 -966-8216