25 km north of Panama City, on the eastern shore of the Panama Canal, lie 222 km² of dense tropical rainforest. This is Soberanía National Park, a pristine landscape of undulating hills and steep slopes decked in clusters of lush cuipos, lianas, and royal palms. Established in 1980, the park stretches from Limón to Lago Gatún, and is home to more than 1,300 varieties of plant and over a 100 different mammal species. The Pipeline Road, initially constructed for pipeline maintenance during WWII, also attracts avid birdwatchers from across the world, regularly flocking to the area in the hope of catching a rare glimpse of one the shyer representatives of the 525 avian species found here . Visitors can also walk the Las Cruces Trail, dating back to the 16th century when it was used by Spanish conquistadores to carry Peruvian gold across the isthmus. This is no remote wilderness, however; at just a 40 minute drive from the city, Soberanía National Park is one of the most accessible rainforests in the world.