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  • Writer's pictureCari Mackey

Trees and jungles of Panama - the inspiration for Avatar's Pandora.

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

In Colorado, there are less than 50 species of trees. If you asked me about 5 minutes ago, I would have guessed less than 20: Aspen, a few species of Pine, Spruce and the magical Cottonwoods of the rivers. In Panama, there are over 3,000! Whoah, that's outrageous but not surprising if you have ever had the experience of walking a jungle trail. When walking or paddling through these jungles, you can't help but think you just might be in Pandora. The similarities are uncanny from Bright Orchids, to the Tree of Souls, Bioluminescence, Palms, and of course, Woodsprites. I'm convinced James Cameron drew some inspiration from an experience in Panama especially the theme of the conflict between humans and nature. The Tree of Souls. How deeply did that resonate with not only the characters of the film but humans in general. Obviously, that was the whole point. Trees represent life after all, we simply cannot live without them. Panama has the highest forest cover of any country in Central America which certainly helps paint a picture of its beauty. From the cloud forests of Volcan Baru (11,411ft/3,478m) to the mangroves of Morrillo, it's impossible to name all those trees but it sure is fun trying! Coming from Colorado and now being surrounded by countless gigantic beautiful trees, the energy and connection is intense and inspiring. Every time we go into the mountains, you can feel the energy in your soul. Of course, like everywhere we are also surrounded by the devastation of those immense ancient trees and it's devastating to witness.

“She said all energy is only borrowed, and one day you have to give it back.”Neytiri.

So, we do our part by having planted almost 200 trees on our property, and sharing this magical place with others. We guide guests through the nearby Cerro Hoyas National Park knowing that that experience alone helps to protect these magical places.

Cari and Ryan Mackey

Owners and Hosts

Morrillo Beach Eco Resort

TURTLE TIME! We are just 2K away from making our goal of providing materials for our local Turtle Center Conservation Foundation. This way to make their day!

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