Playa Muerta, Panama

The village Playa Muerto lies in the beautiful Darién National Park, in Panama’s (south-) eastern-most province of the same name. Bordering with Colombia, the Darién province is densely covered by rain forest and sparsely populated, at only 4 inhabitants per km2. Its capital is La Palma.

The Darién National Park is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and extends across some 5’750 km2. The Park is among the largest and most precious protected areas in Central America. It includes a stretch of the Pacific Coast and makes up almost the entire border with neighboring Colombia. The Park boasts an exceptional variety of habitats, such as sandy beaches, rocky coasts, mangroves, swamps, and lowland and highland tropical forests, which are home to a remarkable variety of wildlife.

Representatives of two Indian tribes live on the Park’s riverbanks: approximately 200 Kuna Indians and 1’000 Wounaan and Emberá, together referred to in literature as Chocó Indians. Both tribes are indigenous to Panama and Colombia and have long shared the same territory. Their recent history and their culture are similar. They do, however, speak different languages; their traditional roles – Wounaan were artists, Emberá were warriors – set them apart; and they are politically organized as distinct groups.

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