Expedition Stories

Our fleet navigates the world in search of adventure. These are the stories they bring back…

Barro Colorado Island and the Gatun Locks

José Calvo, Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 30 Nov 2019

Barro Colorado Island and the Gatun Locks, 11/30/2019, National Geographic Quest

  • Aboard the National Geographic Quest
  • Costa Rica, Panama & Colombia

Today, the last day of our journey, we woke up to the soothing call of howler monkeys and parrots as we anchored right in front of Barro Colorado Island’s (BCI) research facilities. Run by the Smithsonian Institute and formed by the creation of Lake Gatun during the construction of the Panama Canal, this 15-square-kilometer island is home to one of the oldest tropical research stations in the world. For more than 100 years, established in 1913, every year many scientists visit this living laboratory to study biology, ecology, evolution and animal behavior. We had the chance to explore it via Zodiac or walking the islands famous nature trails. Those of us, more birdwatching oriented, decided to take the third option, a visit to the Rainforest Discovery Center in Gamboa. The late afternoon and early evening, we spent crossing the last section of the Panama Canal, the Gatun Locks, which lead us into the Caribbean Sea.

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