Location: Northwest Columbia to the west of Atrato River and East of Panama
Time to Visit: Throughout the year, but preferably between December and March
Preferred Timings: Daytime
How to Reach: By boat from Turbo to Sautata; Turbo is connected by flights from Medellin
Nearest International Airport: Turbo
The time required for sightseeing: 2 days
You do not find too many national parks that are rich in historical heritage, this is one of the select group. Although the beautiful sloping plains, the lush vegetations, and the great wildlife will be the first things to attract you when you reach there, you must remember that Los Katios is more than just that. It played an important part in US history: this was the spot through which most of the crossing over of the first North Americans took place. Moreover, this region, also called the Choco-Darien region, has a striking indigenous culture — dominated first by the Kunas and then by the Katie-Embera tribes.
For the records, Los Katios National Park Columbia is a World Heritage Site lying in the northwestern corner of Columbia between the River Atrato and Panama border. Spread over 72,000 hectares at an elevation of 50 m to 600 m, Columbia Los Katios National Park’s topography consists of alluvial flood plains and hilly uplands. The tropical rainforest is dominated by rubber trees, Palma mil pesos, captives, bros mum utile, kapok, and Hura crepitans. Of the total 669 plant species recorded in 1993, a quarter is endemic. Epiphytes and ferns form the undergrowths of this forest land. Aquatic vegetation like water hyacinth is profound. The exhaustive fauna comprising over 450 bird species, and nearly 550 mammal species make a tour to this park exclusive.
Importance of Los Katios National Park
In Los Katios National Park Columbia you get the opportunity of exploring the alluvial flood plains and marshy lowlands of Tapón del Dariíén, Ciíénaga del Cacarica, and Ciíénaga de Tumaradó which make up 47% of the total terrain. The remaining terrain of 53% is made up of hills ranging from 250m to 600m of the Serrania da Tacarcuna Mountains. Surrender yourself to the ethereal beauty of Tilupo and Tendal waterfalls, and the swamp of Ciíénaga de Tumaradó. The Atrato River which forms the eastern border of Los Katios National Park is supposedly the fastest flowing river emptying nearly 5000 cubic meters of water per second in the Caribbean Sea.
The wildlife of this National Park is incomparable to other reserve forests. Giant anteaters, Central American tapir, and bush dogs are typical of Los Patios. Spectacled caiman and jaguar are the top predators of this forest. Manatee and American crocodiles are the other reptiles to fascinate you.
Bird watchers have sufficient reasons to rejoice at Los Katios National Park. Choco tinamou, Tacarcuna wood quail, grey-headed chachalaca and speckled ant-shrike will delight you. If violet capped and rufous-cheeked hummingbirds interest you, then do not miss on this National Park of Los Patios.
Los Patios National Park is also a promising avenue for research scholars, naturalists, and scientists. The Darien Rainforest is a laboratory of biodiversity and offers great research and study material for enthusiastic learners. The taxa in this national park are a combination of those of Central and South America. This park lying within Conservation International Hotspot is a WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Global 200 Ecoregion and a WWF/ IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Center of Plant Diversity.
Reach Los Katios National by boats along Rio Atrato from Quibdo and Riosucio to Stata. Alternatively, take an enjoyable river ride from Turbo on the Gulf of Uraba to Sautata once again down Atrato River. Spend a couple of days is this magnificent forest and stay in jungle lodges.