Panama // Darién //

The Darién Highway

East of Panama City the DARIÉN HIGHWAY (the Interamericana) is now paved all the way to Yaviza, though lack of maintenance and heavy rainfall at certain times of year mean that you’re bound to experience some bumpy patches along the way. Just before the large reservoir that is Laguna Bayano, the highway passes through the quiet village of El Llano, where a side road leads up towards Guna Yala. From the lake the highway rolls on for 196km through a desolate, deforested landscape, passing Emberá-Wounaan hamlets, with their characteristic open-walled houses raised on stilts, and half-hearted roadside settlements. The highway ends on the banks of the Río Chucunaque at Yaviza, the start of the Darién Gap, though most buses only go as far as Metetí.