The province of Bocas del Toro has two national parks, one of which is a world heritage site. One park, Bastimentos National Marine Park, covers a large portion of the archipelago. The other park is Palo Seco Nature Reserve on the mainland and reaches up to the Continental Divide.
The Bastimentos National Park 13.226 hectares, of which 11.596 hectares are part of a marine area. The Caribbean Sea breaks aginst the nothern shore, and here Playa Larga is an important nesting place for marine turtles. On the south coast of the island, there is the calm Almirante lagoon with its mangrove islets, surrounded by corals and sandy shallow waters over sea grass (Thalassia Testudinum).
The National Park contains much wildlife, but they are difficult to find. Sloths, White faced and Howler monkeys are common. There are no interior trails so you can only see what is visable from the coastt.
In the large mangrove swamp, you wull find both red mangrove (Rhizophora Mangle) and white mangrove (Laguncularia Racemosa) are predominant. In the intrior of Bastimentos Island there is a freshwater lagoon. Here you will find freshwater Turtless (trachemis scripta), Caymans (caiman crocodylus) and Crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus). The Zapatillas Cays, at the north-east end of the park, are made up two islands surrounded by white sand beaches and coral reefs.
With average annual temperatures of 26° C and average precipitation of 3.000 mm, conditions on Bastimentos Island are favourable for the growth of dense tropical rain forests. Among plants to be found are with crabwood (Carapa guianensis), 'nispero' (Manilkara zapota), guaruba (Vochysia hondurensis), oak (Tabebuia rosea) and yellow tree (Terminalia amazonica).
Of the 28 species of reptiles and amphibians living in the park, 17 are threatened of endangered. Four turtle species nest here including the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata).
In the mangrove swamps look out for the yellow warbler (Dendroica petechia), and, in the forests, the poisonous red frog Debdrobates pumilio.
And in the rain forests you can see the three-wattled bellbird
(Procnias tricarunculata), crowned woodnymph (Thalurania colombica), band-tailed
barbthroat (Threnetes ruckeri), and blue-headed parrot (Amazona menstruus).
Mammal species in the protected area include 13 bat species including the bulldog
bat (Noctilio leporinus). And in the forest canpy, the capuchin monkey (Cebus
capucinus) and the night monkey (Aouts trvirgatus), two-toed sloths (Choloepus
hoffmani) and three-toed sloths (Bradypus variegatus).
Bocas del Toro Information