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As far as hiking habits go, ours tend to always lead us well off the beaten path. We’ve taken tumbles into poisonous plants, trodden on venomous snakes, and been chased off Australian military bases by ferocious rottweilers.

During some of our more adventurous hikes we’ve found ourselves stranded in the Australian Outback for days, gasping for air at 19,000 ft above sea level, and in a tug of war with Amazonian squirrel monkeys over the ownership of our GoPro.

You can now add “stuck in a bat cave in the Panamanian jungle” to our list of hiking exploits.

Stuck in a cave with a few hundred bats.

Stuck in a cave in the Panama jungle with a few hundred bats.

Surrounded by a belt of tropical rainforest, trekking off the beaten path in Panama is fairly easy to achieve. And Soberania National Park is the best place to do just that. With over 400 species of exotic birds, and over 105 species of mammals, the park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, and a great way to spend a day hiking through the real Panamanian jungle.

Dropped in the middle of the rainforest with a promise transportation would return to meet us again at the end of the night (it didn’t), we were so far off the beaten path there was nothing but intense vegetation in sight.

Trekking further and further into the jungle, the forest quickly became more and more dense. We were sweating profusely from the heat and humidity, dedicating one hand to continually swatting away mosquitos, though the adrenalin of the adventure kept us going. The trail soon disappeared and we began blazing our own path through the intense overgrowth.

We were scanning the rainforest for the likes of sloths, coatimundis, monkeys, toucans, kinkajous and tropical birds, though instead, found ourselves stumbling through the dark in an abandoned pipeline from World War II as vicious looking bats flew at our face.

I mean, afterall, if you found yourself in the middle of the jungle in Central America and stumbled across an abandoned pipeline, wouldn’t you choose to step inside too?!

Abandoned Pipe-line in the Panama Jungle. Would you go in?!

Abandoned Pipe-line in the Panama Jungle. Curiosity got the better of us.

Abandoned in the middle of the jungle.

Abandoned in the middle of the jungle. of course we had to go inside.

Heading in with the GoPro in hand.

Heading in with the GoPro in hand.

The sheer amount of bats within this pipe-line was terrifying. Though we had already ventured in too far to turn back.

They clung to the cement walls in groups, staring us down like a riot squad just waiting for the order to attack. When one flew, they all flew. It was a flurry of a hundred screeching bats and all we could do was duck to shield our face.

Their sharp tiny teeth glistened in the darkness as they snarled at us from above for interrupting their peace.

With our GoPro extender in hand, we made the best of the situation and decided we may as well try to get some kick ass photography out of the ordeal.

That day we spent 2 hours in a bat cave in the Panamanian jungle.

It was incredibly difficult to snap a decent photo, and especially to catch one on camera mid flight with wings spanned. Half the problem being that I would jump and scream like a little girl as they took flight centimetres from my face!

They lined the walls like soldiers watching for the order to attack.

They clung to the cement walls in groups.

Scary looking bats!

When one flew, they all flew.

Of course

Attempting to get a good photo.


About Mapping Megan

Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure!  Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Follow their journey on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.


  1. What an adventure! Loved the words, and the photographs!

    • Thanks Kerri! So glad you enjoyed the post lol yes, it was quite an adventure!

  2. You are braver than me, once I knew there was bats I would have been out of there. Takes me back to my first trip to Bali along the Petanu River in Ubud and as soon as the flash went off to take a pic inside a cave what seemed like hundreds of bats flew all at once. Eeeek

    • Lol Mike loves all of that stuff – I won’t tell him about the bats in Bali lol he’ll have a flight booked for us in no time :D!

  3. GIRL, what are you talking about? Look how cute and fwuffy they are ;)

    I had to laugh at your first photo though, all I could think was ‘that GoPro won’t save you now!’

    Sara | This Girl Loves

    • They’re all cute and fluffy until they start flying at your face :P!

      Lol yes, the GoPro was our weapon of choice … at least if we were to be eaten alive it would be caught on camera and someone 20 years from now might eventually find the footage lol I’ve watched too many travel horror films!

  4. This was a great post & fun! Very nice pics from the bats, too! We’ve been on a few “bat hunting” adventures, too. :D

    • Thanks Piritta! So glad you enjoyed it! Lol it actually became surprisingly fun after a while!! So glad you have an adventurous spirit also!

  5. Wow what a crazy experience :D

    • It was definitely memorable!!!

  6. OMG. I would not follow you on this one! Great photography and story. You ate both brave and crazy. Xo

    • I’m surprised I even followed him in :D!!

  7. Cool! I was thinking of that show ‘Lost” when you came across that pipe in the jungle. Must have struck you as weird?
    Nice pics of the bats.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Ive never actually seen “Lost”! Heard all about it though lol I’ll have to go through and watch the series!

  8. Holy cow, man! Brave I’d have been outta there

    • Was definitely an adventure!

  9. Wow, looks like an adventure for sure! Certainly let you with a crazy memory and story to tell! You got some great shots of the bats too!

    • That it did! So glad you enjoyed the post!

  10. Great pictures! I got lost in a cave in Laos for an hour! felt like 4! Thankfully no bats. Not that I could see anyway.

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