Today we anchored in front of the Barro Colorado research station, one of the most important tropical sites where environmental research is carried out. The place was formed when Lake Gatun flooded most of the rainforest nearby. Scientists from all around the world are contributing with tropical research projects that have been very helpful and important for the conservation, understanding and management of tropical resources.

A Smithsonian naturalist led the hikes in the research station and interacted with our guests and explained to them the methods, planning and execution of some of the latest research on the island of Barro Colorado. We also visited the famous pipeline road located in the Soberanía National Park, a very productive area known to be a hot spot for birdwatchers. The rainforest canopy held fascinating views as we climbed the tower of the Discovery Center, which allowed us to see this forest layer from above.

To end this wonderful Christmas Day, our beautiful National Geographic Quest crossed in daylight the Gatun Locks in the Panama Canal. This experience is like no other. We descended the locks with three sets of chambers down 85 ft to the Caribbean Sea – the best way to end our expedition.