Whether you visit Darién with a tour operator or on your own, you should pack wisely.
You will need trousers and long-sleeved shirts, partly to keep the huge variety of insect life at bay, but also because it can get quite cool during the night. Do not take or wear anything that resembles army fatigues or has a camouflage pattern.
You’ll be able to pick up basic provisions (including bottled water), but it is advisable to pack a small supply of food even so, plus a ration of bottled water, and water-purifying tablets. If you’re sleeping on a floor in a village you will need something to sleep on, in or under, and a mosquito net. Bring a cover for your pack for boat travel and damp conditions. Binoculars will greatly enhance your chance of appreciating the area’s abundant birdlife.
You should start taking anti-malaria medication well before you arrive. Note that chloroquine is not sufficient in Darién – check the exact requirements with your doctor before your trip. Also ensure you have insect repellent and anti-histamine cream, to sooth your bites.
There are only two banks in the region, both with ATMs: at Metetí and La Palma. It’s a good idea to bring a large stash of US$1 bills.