Barro Colorado Island & Gatun Lake, 11/6/2022, National Geographic Quest
National Geographic Quest
Costa Rica, Panama & Colombia
Today we had the opportunity to visit the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute facilities in Barro Colorado, the largest man-made island inside the Panama Canal. In the afternoon we explored part of the Panama Canal’s watershed, known for being a great hotspot of biodiversity.
Mauricio was born and raised in Panama City. He is studying at the University of Panama to obtain his bachelor’s degree in Biology and has worked on research projects collaborating with institutions like the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute an...
The Panama Canal is not just one of the Seven Wonders of the Industrial World; it is also home to one of the world’s leading institutions for tropical research. Today we had the opportunity to visit the canal and the research institution. We spent our morning inside the canal at the Smithsonian’s research facilities. In the evening, we finished our Panama Canal transit on the Pacific side.
The Guna Yala is a group of natives that live along the Caribbean Coast of Panama. They have land farther into the continent, but the paradisiac islands are their most important asset. The Guna Yala archipelago is composed of more than 400 islands; the vast majority are uninhabited. About 35 islands have a village. In the morning, we visited one of the villages. We learned about the culture and looked at the art and souvenirs the people sell to visitors, especially the Molas. We also enjoyed the beach on one little island. With crystal clear water and white sand, snorkeling was amazing.
We began the morning by exploring the Darien Rainforest. A bit of rain at the beginning of our hike drew out the birds, and we were not disappointed. We heard howler monkeys in the distance and had spectacular sightings, including toucans and a trogon. Our quest to find a sloth continues. In the afternoon, we examined the nearby coral reefs with a quick snorkel and then explored the village of Capurgana, where we visited a local school. The students dazzled us with their dance skills, and many of us were inspired to join in the festivities. Afterwards, we enjoyed a cool beverage at the Flamingo Bar, where we were served some delicious local fruit.