Darien Gap Trek to the Monkey Stone, aka Yarre Mongara

Expedition: Darien Archaeological & Terrain Research Expedition

Destination: Darien Gap, Panama

2-Fold Mission: To cross unchartered terrain in the Darien Province from Puerto Quimba to Playa de Muerto to mark a new route through previously unexplored densely forested jungle lands, and to find lost petroglyphs (ancient stone engravings or carvings), including the mysterious Yarre Mongara, or in English “Monkey Stone”, first documented by world-renowned explorer, Robert Hyman, with the aid of Embera elder, Daniel Castenada.

Crew: XplorMor Team, 1 heroic Embera Guide named Bernardo, 2 Panamanian Guides from Jungle Treks, 1 Englishman Expedition Leader/Coordinator from Secret Compass, a bold female Doctor from the British Military, 4 intrepid English Explorers, and a group of Embera porters.

Darien Gap Trek by XplorMor, #dariengap, #yarremongara, #moneystone, #jungleexpedition, #xplormor

End of the road at Puerto Quimba, Darien Gap, Panama by Julia at XplorMor

Our expedition members ventured from the United States and the United Kingdom to Panama City, to meet our Panamanian guides for trekking the Darien Jungle. We were on board to photograph and document the expedition and its findings.

Darien Gap Trek by XplorMor, #dariengap, #yarremongara, #moneystone, #jungleexpedition, #xplormor

Carrying our Gear to the Dock at Puerto Quimba by Julia at XplorMor

We departed Panama City by private bus, travelling the Pan-American Highway, headed east.  Before the highway ended, we turned off to Puerto Quimba where a boat was waiting to carry us up river from a primitive wood dock to a muddy shore in the heart of Darien.

Darien Gap trek by XplorMor, #dariengap, #yarremongara, #moneystone, #jungleexpedition, #xplormor

Our boat (straight ahead with low canvas cover) to take us up-stream into the Darien Gap of Panama by Julia at XplorMor

SENAFRONT (Servicio Nacional de Fronteras de Panamá), Panama’s border patrol, was regularly posted along the highway, and greeted us on the dock at Puerto Quimba. We were prepared with extra copies of our passports and an authorized letter of intent for our expedition.  Though they hindered our progress at times, they did not prevent us from reaching our goals.

Darien Gap trek by XplorMor, #dariengap, #yarremongara, #moneystone, #jungleexpedition, #xplormor

SENAFRONT on the dock at Puerto Quimba by Julia at XplorMor

On the dock, we had to move aside and wait to board our a boat until a coffin was loaded on to another river craft. Not something you see every day, but part of living in a remote wilderness where much access is only possible by boat and foot.

Darien Gap by XplorMor, #dariengap, #yarremongara, #moneystone, #jungleexpedition, #xplormor

Transporting the Dead. Puerto Quimba, Darien Gap, Panama by julia at XplorMor

Expedition continues up river to Camoganti: Navigating the Impenetrable Darien Gap

Watch XplorMor Darien Gap Trek slide show, and for more information on trekking Panama visit Jungle Treks and Secret Compass. 


  1. Sienna September 14, 2014 at 10:10 AM #

    Incredible adventure. Looking forward to more 🙂

    • Julia September 18, 2014 at 8:37 AM #

      Great! Thanks for your feedback! 🙂

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