Visitors must bring their own towels and will probably want to bring sheets, though the latter can be rented at the station for US$3. Because there is no electricity, or even kerosene lanterns, bringing lots of extra flashlight batteries is a good idea. Bring a good water purifier or purification tablets unless you don’t mind toting water all the way from El Real.
The rangers keep the grounds of the station well groomed and clear of debris. But within about 100 meters of the station the forest is literally crawling with venomous fer-de-lance snakes. You’re unlikely to come upon one, but never wear sandals and shorts outside the immediate station area. In the Darién I generally wear boots and long pants even in camp, especially at night.
Visitors should pay the national park fees ahead of time at the ANAM office (tel. 299-6965, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri.) in El Real.
Travelers must bring their own food, usually from El Real. The rangers will cook and wash dishes for a small tip. Around US$5 a day for a small group is about right. It’d be a nice gesture to bring enough food for the rangers, too.
Remember that these are forest guards, not hotel staff.
They’re your hosts, and you’ll have a more enjoyable time if you’ve won their goodwill. If you arrive without a guide, consider hiring a ranger to take you on the trails , though their wilderness skills and knowledge of the area vary. Again, do not venture far on a trail without a competent guide.