Today we enjoyed one of the most amazing cultural experiences Panama has to offer. We visited the people of Guna Yala in their amazing archipelago of incredible islands. In the morning we visited the village of La Maquina, where we were greeted by many of its 500 inhabitants. We learned about their culture and looked at the different art and souvenirs they sell to visitors, especially the molas. We also enjoyed the beach on one little island, with crystal clear water and white sand the snorkeling was amazing.
National Geographic Quest
Today was our last expedition day, and it was a sunny and beautiful day with lots of nature and plenty of wildlife sightings. Different options were offered in the morning, including a visit to Barro del Colorado Island with hikes into the rainforest, Zodiac rides around the island, and walks in the Rainforest Discovery Center. Barro del Colorado Island is one of the most studied places on Earth. Scientists from the Smithsonian Institute use the forest as a living lab, and research is conducted in many different branches of biology. Today we discussed the Neotropics, coatis and their routes, the decomposition of organic matter by ants, and the dispersion of seeds by agoutis. We spotted several bird species, including lattice-tailed trogons, great tinamus, and antbirds. In the interior of the forest and from Zodiacs, we spotted howler monkeys at the edge of the forest near Gatun Lake. We enjoyed a surprise spotting of the American crocodile. Finally, in a more remote area in the Gamboa region, some guests did their best to photograph the hummingbirds in the Rainforest Discovery Center. During a walk in the rainforest, they spotted monkeys nearby. We could not have finished the week in a better way. This morning was a great wrap up of the whole expedition. The forest presented its best self with a nice breeze and low humidity and heat, which triggered a substantial amount of wildlife activity. From reptiles to mammals, we had a little bit of everything. As if all that was not enough, we had the chance to travel around the lake in pangas in the afternoon. We enjoyed a lot of good surprises, including a sighting of tamarin monkeys. This completed our list of five possible monkey species to see during the expedition. One of our house specialties was also spotted: the snail kite. No matter which walks our guests took or which activities they participated in, they are leaving with a new understanding of the dense biodiversity in this part of the world. Every single day of this trip, we had multiple opportunities to enjoy the animals that live in the heavy, rainy forest, and we feel very grateful for that. There is no doubt that it is worth it to get out there and look for what we love during an incredible adventure in nature. Thanks to our guests for coming to this part of the world and joining us on this expedition. It was simply fantastic.