The small riverine town of SAMBÚ, the most developed settlement for many kilometres around in this part of the jungle, is the best place to base yourself for affordable exploration in Darién. Although there’s little to do in the town itself, a day spent among the locals lends valuable insight into the simple and tough livelihoods of those inhabiting this culturally diverse and isolated community. Moreover, the boat trip up the sinuous Río Sambú is a thrill in itself.
Exploring the area around Sambú is most rewarding if you are flexible about where you want to go. Activities range from day-trips hiking in the surrounding rainforest, or fishing and birdwatching on the river, to overnight stays in Emberá communities such as Villa Queresia – or, when water levels are high enough, remote Pavarandó, a village marking the last navigable point of the Río Sambú. Your accommodation may be able to fix you up with a guide, and you can organize a guide via the tourism committee in Puerto Indio if you want to explore the comarca itself.