Lake Gatun
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 05 Feb 2022

Lake Gatun, 2/5/2022, National Geographic Quest

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

This morning, we woke up on Lake Gatun. What a treat it was! At the crack of dawn, we observed vessels of different sizes transiting the waterway. The canal is a very important source of income for the country of Panama. Just last year, they surpassed the annual revenue record with more than two billion dollars in the Panamanian national treasury.

We boarded panga boats, refurbished fishing boats that transport people for recreational activities. We cruised to the geographical center of the Panama Canal, the town of Gamboa. We observed the hilltops that were flooded in the making of Gatun Lake. We spotted a little troop of Geoffroy’s tamarins, monkeys of the almost endemic Panamanian primates. Tamarins are found in eastern Panama and along the border with Colombia.

We boarded small buses and traveled to Soberanía National Park, the most visited national park of Panama. The trails are well-preserved due to a nonprofit that provides maintenance to the facility. We headed to the Discovery Center to walk the trails and climb a tower that offers incredible views of the forest canopy.

The last place we enjoyed on this visit was the hummingbird feeder station. We were delighted to watch several species of hummingbirds, such as blue-chested hummingbirds, white-necked jacobins and long-billed hermits.

We enjoyed sightseeing as the bus exited Gamboa, the dredging division where heavy-duty maintenance of the canal is carried out. It was otherworldly and beautiful to see such an important place.

Back to National Geographic Quest for a great lunch. We finished our day with the Panama crossing, putting an end to a great voyage.

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Aitcho Island, South Shetlands

Costa Rica and the Panama Canal


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