Cenegon del Mangle Wildlife Refuge

The 776-hecatre (1,917-acre) Cenegón del Mangle Wildlife Refuge is located on the Azuero Peninsula near Chitré. The refuge helps protect an elaborate mangrove system, as well as critters like herons and caiman.

0 - Cenegon del Mangle Wildlife Refuge, Panama
1 - Cenegon del Mangle Wildlife Refuge, Panama

Visitors can stroll along a half-kilometer boardwalk that winds through black mangroves. The walk is short and provides good opportunities for spotting several types of heron, including tricolored heron, great egrets, and cattle egrets. In fact, some of the herons that live in the fountain at the presidential palace, known as Palacio de las Garzas (Palace of the Herons), are pulled from here.

Aside from the herons, visitors may be able to spot caiman or crocodiles, which tend to be more visible between June–September, when the herons nest. Iguanas can also occasionally be seen lounging along the branches of the mangroves. In total, there are six species of mangroves growing here.

Cenegón del Mangle is also home to La Cueva del Tigre (Tiger’s Cave), an archaeological site that dates back some 12,000 years. It is believed that La Cueva del Tigre was used as a prehistoric shelter.

The Cenegón del Mangle Wildlife Refuge is a 45-minute drive north of Chitré.