Lake Gatun, Barro Colorado Island & Gatun Locks

Jan 25, 2019 - National Geographic Quest


On the last day of our trip, we anchored just off Barro Colorado Island. Established in 1923, BCI is known as a research hub for tropical rain forests. Once a mountain, it became an island after the flooding of the valley to create Gatun Lake, the largest reservoir for the Panama Canal waterway. BCI is an enclosed habitat where scientists can study rainfall, soil, forest dynamics, howler monkeys, agoutis, wild cats, and all things related to rainforests.

Today, we had the chance to explore BCI by foot or by Zodiac. There was also the option of visiting the Gamboa Discovery Center. No matter the choice, we were all able to enjoy the sight of monkeys, tamarins and birds. And more importantly, the satisfaction of a full week of learning and adventure.  

After lunch, our ship headed toward the Gatun Locks, the final set of gates that will take us into the Caribbean Sea, our final destination before the end of our trip. 

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About the Author

April Salas

Guest Speaker

April Salas is a 6th grade social studies teacher at Mendez Fundamental School in Santa Ana, California. She has a master’s degree in reading from California State University, San Bernardino and received her bachelor of arts in history and teacher credential from the University of Redlands. She has been teaching for nine years and is always seeking new learning opportunities to help engage and support her students. She was the first teacher in Banning Unified School District to teach a course at the middle school level in geographic information systems (GIS), making her site one of a few schools to offer the course in Southern California. Currently in Santa Ana, April leads her site’s AVID program, which empowers students with 21st century skills so they can be college—and career—ready.

About the Photographer

Carlos Calvo Obando

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Carlos is a freelance wildlife photographer and photography instructor from Costa Rica. Passionate about travel and education, he also works as a certified naturalist guide on the beaches, jungles, and mountains of that beautiful tropical paradise. With 20 years of experience leading groups and making images and portraits of Costa Rican creatures and landscapes, he loves to share his knowledge and tricks with enthusiasm, simplicity, and a good sense of humor.

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