The first settlers of Panama date from approximately 9.000 years B.C. From that moment on human presence in the country has left interesting elements in important archaeological sites, like the ceremonial centers of Barriles and el Caño in Chiriquí and Coclé provinces.

The Darién National Park is inhabited by the emberá-wuonán or chocoes ethnic group that live in communities within the forest where they conserve their ancestral hunting, fishing and food harvesting customs, as well as their traditional huts that transport us to the indigenous past of America.  You can have an exiting, unforgettable, experience visiting an embera community that has barely changed in 5 centuries as one of our tours.

The Natives of the ethnic group Ngobe-Bugle or Guaymíes inhabit the highlands of the provinces of Chiriquí, Veraguas and Bocas of the Toro where they live amidst green mountains and beautiful landscapes. Their feminine Kuna tribal meeting roomwardrobe presents a variety of colors and geometric forms while male attire presents the " chaquira " ( a multicolor necklace) that can be acquired easily in their communities and crafts shops. They still practice ancestral rites like the " traditional Balsería " and other rituals.

Near the Ngobes there is the small indigenous community of the Bokotas, scattered in small villas similar to those that existed when the first settlers arrived on the Isthmus of Panama. To get to the Bokotas village you have to journey into the deepest sector of the tropical forest that is full of adventure, surprises and unpredictable natural consequences.

Our Recommended Book: The Art of Being Kuna: Layers of Meaning Among the Kuna of Panama
by Marilyn Salvador The remarkable arts and culture of the Kuna of Panama are accessible as never before in this comprehensive, beautifully illustrated volume. From the familiar reverse appliquÈd molas to music, dance, and verbal arts, the Kuna live their values and bind their people together. This focus and strength has helped them to resist outside forces and maintain their culture and self-determination in the face of peoples and governments far more powerful.

About the Author
Mari Lyn Salvador is the chief curator of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology and assistant professor of anthropology at the Uniersity of New Mexico.
The Kunas are the best known indigenous group of Panama. Famous world wide for their handmade Molas and a culture that is very rich in rites and traditions. They inhabit the Archipelago of San Blas (Kuna Yala Region) in the Eastern Caribbean coast of Panama, in palm-covered islands with coralline white sand and crystalline blue waters, where you can stay at hotels and cabins located in paradise-like tropical islands. Tour operators are recommended for your trip since their guides can best introduce you to the Indian culture. Excellent snorkeling.

The indigenous community of Teribe inhabits the rough terrain of the Bocas del Toro Province mountains and the margins of the Teribe River. This group is led by a " King " who governs the community by decree preserving the groups original traditions. In order to visit them it is necessary to undergo the extraordinary adventure of sailing through the Changuinola River on small boats with outboard motors, where you can observe the impressive rainforest, with its exotic animal sounds, a site worthy of taking photographs to preserve this memorable experience of the humid tropical forest of Panama. Contact your tour operator.

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