Barro Colorado Island / The Panama Canal

Dec 16, 2018 - National Geographic Quest


This morning National Geographic Quest anchored in front of the bay of Barro Colorado Island; a former hill hilltop is now isolated because of the creation of the Gatun Lake.  Barro Colorado is one of the first research centers in tropical America.

Our guests explored the island some by hiking along its trails, while others decided to do Zodiac cruises.  Both outings came back with reports of troops of howler monkeys and many species of birds; one of which was the snail kite, a very common raptor in the area thanks to the environment created by the lake.

Later in the afternoon, the adventure continued and after weighing anchor, National Geographic Quest cruised towards the Culebra Cut and the Pacific set of locks, but not before gathering everyone on the sun deck to enjoy some delicious ceviche and practice some Latin dance.

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About the Author

Maguil Céspedes

Naturalist

Although Maguil was born in San Jose, he was raised in the countryside of Costa Rica, and it was this experience that provided him with a deep knowledge of and a profound love for the rural life of Central America.  It was this passion for nature that led Maguil to study biology at the University of Costa Rica, where he received his master’s degree in 2002. His thesis explored the genetic structure of big leaf mahogany, an endangered species of tree that is commercially extinct in much of Central America.

About the Photographer

José Calvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Nicknamed “Indio” (Indian) because of his powers of observation and quiet nature, José has almost two decades of experience working as a naturalist and photography guide; as well as being recognized as an expert birder and nature photographer in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity — over 893 bird species have been recorded in the country. Since very young José spent all of his free time in the outdoors in the forest, where he soon fell in love with the birds. He particularly enjoys listening to their calls, and watching their behavior. Oddly enough, another one of Jose’s passions is science and technology, and because of this, he was among the first in Costa Rica to experiment with digital photography. As the technology quickly improved so did his love for it.  He truly believes that nature photography is the perfect combination of both of his passions.

About the Videographer

Matthew Ritenour

Video Chronicler

Matthew grew up on the Gulf of Mexico, where a love of geography, culture and history were instilled at a young age. He studied anthropology at California State University, Chico, and soon began working at the Advanced Laboratory for Visual Anthropology (ALVA), a documentary production studio that focuses on sharing the results of anthropological research with the public. As a cinematographer and editor at ALVA, he documented research on everything from the effects of drought in California, to looted petroglyphs in the Sierra Nevada high desert, and the global trade in emeralds.

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