Bob’s Travel Pix


About the Darién

The Darién Provence, Panama

The Darien Provence on the border of Panama and Columbia is one of the most diverse and remote regions in Central America. At over 3 million acres The Darien Provence includes the Darien National Park which is the largest National Park in Central America at 1.3 million acres. It possesses one of the richest  of the American tropics and is home to many endangered species such as the Jaguar, the Giant Anteater, the Harpy Eagle and the Tapir.  Also known as the Darien Gap due to the gap in the Inter-American Highway between Panama and Colombia where
the highway ends in Panama and doesn’t continue again until you are far into Colombia. There is a fascinating history of gold prospecting in the jungle and of failed crossing attempts. The Scottish empire was almost completely decimated by a failed settlement here. The Darien is mostly uninhabited mountains, jungle and swamp lands. There are three different indigenous groups who live in the area. These groups are, the Wounaan (from the Colombian Choco), the Kuna (mostly living in the Kuna Yala /San Blas Islands and the Embera. The Embera live in small “Comarca’s” or villages throughout the Darien and each small village is part of the general “Comarca”, or regional community.
These incredibly gracious, proud and warm people that you see in these photos and movies are Embera and are living in the Comarca’s “Villa Cresia” and “Churoco” and “Pavarando” near the banks of the Rio Sambu in the Darien, Panama. This was the first time the village of Churoco ever sang and danced for a gringo. Both villages went to great preparations to share their culture and traditions when they heard that a “gringo” might be visiting. After the song and dancing the Cacique or Chief of Churoco took me hiking into the forest to see an ancient forest of massive giant trees. Upon return we had a lunch of chicken soup and rice that was awesome! Both villages have incredible Artisans weaving and carving natural fibers, woods and seeds
from the jungle into great works of art. What a joy it was to see these communities living and working for the good of all and taking care of each other in the tribal way, something that we in the “new world” have all but forgotten how to do but what I believe is the way that we are hardwired to live our lives. I have never felt so welcome in any other place as I did here in the Darien.

The other gringo you see in these photos and movies is Michael Harrington, the owner of SambuHause, an adventurer’s dream come true in the middle of the jungle with running water, electricity and the best hostesses you will ever meet. (photos of Maria and Augustina on the Sambu page). They are like your Mother in the jungle and take care of their guests with Darien style hospitality and great care. Every detail is taken care of for you. Home cooked meals and cold beer awaits your return while you explore the river, the forests and the Indian Villages with local guides. You can choose to return to SambuHause each night or continue your adventures further into the Darien and sleep in the jungle or in one of the villages. No matter, you will definitely have the time of your life in the Darien.

I will never forget these people nor will I let more then a year pass before I return. The Darien is a very special place and once you enter, you will leave a part of yourself there and you will take a new part out with you.

Here are some links to info about the Darien. It is a fascinating place and I encourage you to read about it.

Thanks for visiting,

    Bob  2008

Article in Outside Magazine

(First article I read about the Darien. I knew I would go there before I even finished the article).

The World Conservation Monitoring Centre (a .pdf file full of interesting info)

International Journal Of Wilderness

Embera of the Darién

Smithsonian Institute The Darién

The Darién National Park

The Effect of the Colombian Conflict in the Darién

The above link is a great resource for many links about the Darién

BBC Uncovers Scots Jungle History                                                                                 

Letters From The Darién; dated 1699

The Scottish Darién Disaster

More on the Scots Darien Disaster

SambuHause Home base in the jungle

Sambuhause Blog