San San Pond Sak
Located in Bocas del Toro, next to the City of Changuinola on the Costa Rican border, the protected area is an important habitat for an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, with conservation efforts focused on two critically endangered species: manatees and sea turtles. In addition to these two, 36 other endangered bird species; 24 endangered mammal species and 7 endangered reptile species also depend on this wetland for survival. This wetland and its health influence marine areas and some of the most important rivers of the region, such as the Changuinola, San San, and Sixaola.
Due to its vital importance, the area was designated a protected wetland in 1994 (Resolution 020-94 JD, August 2, 1994) and is part of the National System of Protected Areas of Panamá (SINAP). Furthermore, in 1998, this wetland became part of the La Amistad Biosphere Reserve (RBLA), along with La Amistad International Park, Volcan Baru National Park, Wetland Volcanic Lagoons, Fortuna Forest Reserve, Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park, and Palo Seco Reservation. The wetland is also a designated site to of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, also known as “The Convention on Wetlands, by UNESCO. Its protection is of vital importance for Panama and our planet.
This amazing adventure brings you close and personal with manatees, nesting sea turtles and other wildlife as you learn about the importance of their ecosystem and meet the community members involved in the many efforts to preserve it.
San San Pond Sak Multi-day Program (2 days, 1 Night)
Day 1_ Transfer to San San Pond Sak
This morning, you will meet your Isthmian Adventures Certified Naturalist Guide at your hotel to be transferred to the domestic airport of Albrook for our one hour flight to Changuinola in Bocas del Toro.
After arriving in Changuinola we will meet one of the site guides of San San Pond Sak Wetland and transported to the headquarters offices of AANMECONA, on the banks of the San San river. Along the way, your guide Will introduce you to the rich and fascinating history of the area. Have you ever heard of the Banana Republic, The Mezquito King, or the War of One thousand Days? All of this and more is part of the rich history of our destination.
Upon arrival to the AAMVECONA you will be briefed about the community-based organization and prepared to board your boat at the pier for our transfer to the Field Station on the Beach of the San San Pond Sak Wetland.
Here we will spend two days and one nights exploring this fascinating protected area.
The San San Pond Sak Wetland
From here on board the AAMVECONA expedition boat, transferring to the field station on San San Pond Sak beach, we will explore the San San Pond Sak river.
One will notice the change in landscape from the first fields filled with cattle and water buffalo,
passing though sections of the banana plantations, tracks of recovering forest, and finally the lush wetland. As we travel our guide will teach about of all the threats and the efforts to protect this fragile ecosystem. Along the way frame by the landscape the inhabitants of the wetland are there to greet us and allow the guide to share their fascinating natural history, northern jacanas, neotropical cormorants, sloths and more, much more, until we arrive to the Field station, settle inn and prepare for our next outing.
Day 1_ The Mangrove Ecosystem
Canoing the mangroves
After settling in and dropping our bags at the field station, we head out to explore the mangroves of San San Pond Sak by canoe. The mangroves, are an
important component of the wetland, being one of the most ecologically diverse habitats on the planet. Fascinating and unique, these mangroves are critically important for a variety of species, under and above water. As we explore the mangroves, our guide will introduce us to the many adaptations that allow the flora and fauna to tolerate both salt water and periodic complete submersion of their root systems. The canoes allow us close proximity and peace and quiet
to absorb the beauty of our planet and contemplate the imperativeness of its conservation.
Lunch is as fascinating as the wetland
Bocas del Toro gastronomy
Bocas del Toro’s gastronomy features a wide variety of ingredients and styles influenced by its local, Spanish and Afro-Caribbean heritage. Food on the coast is based mainly on seafood, plantain and coconut, but many other ingredients are brought into the kitchen depending on the season and availability.
Among the most well-known and popular dishes of the local population are rice with coconut, bon bread, Jonny cake, one-pot ron don, cod with Akke fruit, stuffed fish, fufu broth, empanada patty, platin tat, cod towers, and other delicious dishes.
As part of an authentic culinary experience we will enjoy tastes of the local gastronomy. Each menu for each visit may vary according to the season and availability of ingredients.
After lunch we will have some free time on our own before our next activity where we will be introduced to the sea turtle conservation project of San San Pond Sak. This downtime is a perfect opportunity to rest or enjoy the beach.
Sea Turtle conservation
Since prehistoric times, 100 million years or more, sea turtles have lived in the oceans of the world. Today, there are only seven species of sea turtles left remaining in the world, three of which visit San San San Pond Sak beach to nest, the giant leatherback being the most common. AAMVECONA has been involved for many years in the conservation of the Sea Turtles of San San Pond Sak. During our discussion and presentation with the volunteers dedicated to this project, we will learn about all about the sea turtles that visit, and most importantly, participate in the conservation efforts. Depending on the season activities include, building and maintenance of the nursery, helping staff with the night patrolling of the beach and relocation of eggs,
or be part of the magic moment of releasing baby turtles into the ocean.
Day 2_ Departure and Manatees
At the arrival of the Spaniards to the Caribbean coast of Panama, the manatees were abundant, but after having been hunted for centuries for their meat, their numbers declined. Today, in Panama they are relatively rare.
After breakfast, we board our expedition boat for the journey back to Changuinola and our flight to Panama City. Along the way, in the company of our local guide, we make a stop at a viewing platform tucked in the mangroves, using bundles of bananas and plantain to coax the shy creatures into view. Here we will learn about their natural history and the many conservation efforts to preserve the species while we wait for a magical glimpse at these incredibly gentle giants.
Day 2_ Flight Back to Panama City
In Changuinola we catch our short flight back to Panama city, where we say good bye to our Isthmian Adventures guide and either continue on to further destinations and adventure travel or make your way home.
Please note, our San San Pond Sack adventure can be combined with other destinations throughout Panamá, and even neighboring countries, Costa Rica and Colombia. Our sales staff is happy to assist planning your next once in a lifetime travel experience!
2 pax $450.00 plus 7% ITBMS sales
4 pax: $360.00 plus ITBMS sales
6 pax: $335.00 plus ITBMS sales
8 pax: $320.00 plus ITBMS sales
10 pax: $310.00 plus ITBMS sales
Roundtrip Airfare (Subject to Change): Pax $275.00 ITBMS sales
Included in Package:
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner within the program.
- All land and water transportation within program.
- Lodging at Field Station.
- Site guides services and expenses.
- Administrative Assistant’s services and expenses.
- Related entrance fees.
- Services of an in-bound land operator for transportation re-confirmations and tour operations.
Not Included in Package:
- International airfare.
- Local airfare.
- Gratuities and extras in hotels.
- Meals not specified in the itinerary or package.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Personal equipment.
Local airfare prices change depending on the season and other factors. Isthmian Adventures will
provide this cost based on the dates of the guest request.
ISTHMIAN ADVENTURES DISCLAIMERS AND POLICIES:
Prices and itineraries are correct at the time of printing; however, they are subject to change due to tidal/weather or local conditions, availabilities, or factors beyond our control.
To confirm a reservation we must receive a 50% deposit at the time of booking a tour. The balance of the cost of the tour is due 30 days prior to the first day of the tour.
Cancellations made with more than 30 days notice from the first day of the tour are subject to a full refund of the deposit. Cancellations made between 30 and 15 days prior to the first day of the tour are subject to a 50% refund of the total cost of the tour. Cancellations made within 15 days of the first day of the tour are not subject to refunds. All cancellation requests must be done in writing.
Limits On Isthmian Adventures’ Responsibility
Acts of God and the Like
Isthmian Adventures IS NOT LIABLE for acts of God, fire, acts of government or other authorities, wars, civil disturbances, riots, terrorist acts, strikes, thefts, pilferage, epidemics, quarantines, dangerous incidents at sea, land, and air travel, and other similar acts or incidents
beyond its control.
The traveler represents that neither he or she nor anyone traveling with him or her has any physical or other condition or disability that would create a hazard to himself or herself or others participating on the tour.
Isthmian Adventures purchases transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant services, and other services from various independent suppliers that are not subject to its control. Isthmian Adventures cannot, therefore, be liable for any property damage, personal injury or death that may occur due to (1) any act or omission of such a supplier, or (2) defects in or failures of any aircraft, vessel, automotive vehicle, or other means of transportation that is not under its control.
Optional Activities That May Be Dangerous
Optional activities will be available at some of the places you will visit. Some of these activities carry with them the inherent risk of serious personal injury. These activities include, but are not necessarily limited to: (a) scuba diving; (b) horseback riding; (c) canoe or kayaking; (d) white water rafting trips, among others. You should be aware that your personal safety cannot be guaranteed. Should you elect to participate in such activities while you are on tour, you are, of course, free to do so. However, you must understand that such participation will
be at your own risk and that Isthmian Adventures assumes no responsibility for your safety.
Under these terms, travelers under the age of 18 are required to have the consent of the parent or guardian whether they are traveling together or not.
This agreement shall be construed, interpreted, and enforced in accordance with, and shall be governed by, the laws of the Republic of Panama.
Isthmian Adventures recommends that passengers purchase travel insurance.