The Amistad Friendship International Park is split between Panama and Costa Rica and covers 207,000 hectares It was created in 1979, by an initiative of the Panama and Costa Rica governments and stretches over the mountains of the Cordillera Central, between the provinces of Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro. There is a great bio-diversity of flora and fauna. Seven of the twelve life zones are located in it. The park is a World Heritage Site and protects the headwaters of several rivers that drain into both the Pacific and the Atlantic basin. The principle rivers that it protects are the Teribe and Changuinola (a source of hydroelectric power for Panama).
The Amistad Friendship International Park is 500 kilometers from Panama City.You get there by car from the towns of Cerro Punta, Piedra Candela, Rio Sereno and Boquete. There is an administrative office with a visitor’s center, a camping area and a guiding trail at Las Nubes (Chiriqui). Several natural trails lead into the inner areas of the park; of note are the La Cascada and Retoño Trails. There are shelters in Culebra and Cotito. There is another administrative office in Teribe (Bocas del Toro). There are hotels at Cerro Punta.
The park has a number of volcanic rock outcrops, steep valleys, and the highest mountains in Panama, including Cerro Fábrega (3,325 m), Cerro Itamul (3,279m) and Cerro Echandi (3,162 m). The average annual temperatures fluctuate between 15º C on its high peaks, to 24º C on the sedimentary plains of the Caribbean-facing slops. The average annual rainfall ranges between 2,500mm and 5.500mm making it extremely humid.
Very humid premontane forests grow in the lowest sedimentary plains. The climate becomes very humid tropical forests in the Cordillera Central . Above that there is premontane rainforest, low mountain rainforest, and montane rainforest. Finally, there is the sub-alpine pluvial paramo, which is found around Cerro Fabrega.
One hundred species of mammals has been recorded, including the howler monkey, black-handed spider monkey, white-throated capuchin monkey, and the night monkey or jujaná (Aotus lemurinus). The park is also the home of populations of threatened species like Baird´s tapir, groove-toothed squirrel, olingo (Bassaricyon gabbil) and the shrew. The five species of cats found on the Isthmus are also present in this area.
There are 91 amphibious species recorded in the park, including the harlequin frog and the spiny toad. Among the 61 species of reptiles one may find the mountain salamander, the letmal coral snake and the oropel snake.
Out of the more than 400 bird species recorded in the protected area are the harpy eagle, the endemic glow-throated hummingbird, the magnificent quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), the umbrella bird, the three-wattled bellbird and the crested eagle one of the biggest and most endangered birds of prey in the region.
Panama National Parks