International expedition to Panama

From 11 to 15 January 2017, an international cave expedition took place in Panama. The expedition was attended by researchers from the United States, Britain, Ireland, Italy, Costa Rica, France, Poland and four Bulgarians, under the flag of the Bulgarian Speleological Federation. The event was organized by scientists and researchers from various fields of science.

The purpose of the expedition was to explore the hard-to-reach and unknown region of Bayano in eastern Panama.

The area is accessible only by boat, and the climate is strongly influenced by the artificial lake “Bayano”, which determines the way of life of the local population of the ethnic group “Kuna Yala”, which subsist mainly on fishing and agriculture. Some of the best-preserved rainforests in Panama grow around the lake.

So far, 50 caves have been known for the country. During the expedition, 10 caves were discovered and described, some of which are connected in a complex underground system, which may be the longest in Panama. Several precipices were also explored, the most interesting of which is the “Magic Hole” – so named by the locals due to the fact that something once released into the cave disappears forever. In addition to speleological activities, which included ecological research and mapping, studies of the aboveground fauna were made.

In a limited time spent there, the area has been found to have great potential and more in-depth research is needed, which we hope to do soon.