El Cope National Park is a cloud forest reserve - with lush dense vegetation and many rubber trees.
The El Cope section of Cocle province was a favorite spot of the former dictator of Panama, Omar Torrijos; his favorite spot being the remote mountain town of Coclesito, where he had a farm, airport and fields: he died near Coclesito in a plane crash in July 1981. He was monumental in creating El Cope National Park as a protected area.
This park is not very well known. Which makes it more attractive to some travelers! The road after you reach the small mountain village of El Cope is very bad - a 4-wheel drive vehicle is a necessity. The drive up to the cloud forest is a visually spectacular one - you will pass small houses with orchards in the back yard - chickens running free everywhere you look - and school children in uniforms peering at you from behind the school walls. As you wind your way through the hills you will get a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean miles away beyond the orange and mango groves.
Once you reach the park, a small $3 fee is paid to enter. There is a small workstation where the staff dine and sleep and a visitors center - THERE IS NO CREATURE COMFORTS HERE - bring water and food with you. There are cabins with cots if you wish to stay over-night. To get a glimps of some wildlife staying the night is a good idea - the creatures are more apt to be around in the wee hours of the morning.