Barro Del Colorado Island

Feb 08, 2020 - National Geographic Quest

Today we awoke halfway through the Panama Canal, in front an island, a manmade one, created when the United States flooded this area to create the waterway for the canal. The island is better known as “BCI” which stand for Barro Del Colorado Island, translate to Red Mud Island for its type of clay color soils.

BCI is not only the largest island on the Panama Canal but is one of the most studied tropical rainforests in the world, which research going back even before the construction of the canal and it’s been managed by the Smithsonian since 1923.

National Geographic Quest is one of the few ships allowed to stop here in its transit as guests visit BCI to learn about the research, explore by forest trail and shoreside excursion by Zodiac.

After our morning on BCI we got a canal pilot on board National Geographic Quest to finish our cruising of the Panama Canal, one of the engineering marvels of the world.

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About the Author

Federico Chacón


Federico Chacón, or “Fico” as he is better known by his friends, started guiding one-day nature tours on weekends and holidays at the age of 18 right at the time he started studies at the University of Costa Rica. It was just a part-time job, that was mainly his brother’s idea, but little by little it grew to become his career and his passion. 

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.

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