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Welcome to Barro Colorado Natural Monument


PANAMA NATIONAL PARKS
 

GENERAL INFORMATION
This monument can be found in Lake Gatun, in the middle of the Panama Canal and has an area of 5,364 hectares (13,000 acres). It consists of the Bohío, Buena Vista, Peña Blanca and Gigante Peninsulas as well as the Island of Barro Colorado itself, with 1,564 hectares (3,750 acres) which is a must on your visit here.
The island was formed during the construction of the Panama Canal when the dam on the Chagres river was built and the water level rose, flooding the area that is now Lake Gatun and a small hill of 171 meters. Was separated from the land and surround by the water, thus creating Barro Colorado. In 1,923 on the request of a group of scientists the island was declared a Biological Reserve and a research laboratory was built there, which became the first Tropical Rainforest Biological Reserve of the new world. In 1,946 the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) was given the responsibility of administrating and managing this reserve and in 1,979 more areas on the mainland were added and it was then declared a Natural Monument.

How to get there
The only way to get there is by boat, from the village of Gamboa at 38 kilometers (22mi) from Panama City. If you want to visit the Island of Barro Colorado, you need the authorization and coordination of the Smithsonian Institute. It is recommend to contact who a can handle all the necessary details.
There is a visitor's fee that includes a dinner at the restaurant at the island's visitors center. The center also offers some videos about the studies that have been done and about the habitat, flora and fauna of the island. There is also a store for any purchases you may want to do.

Services
In Panama City there are hotels, restaurants, travel agents and tour operators and other transportation facilities, which can arrange your visit to Barro Colorado.

What to do and Where to go?
The visitors program offers a day visit to the island with hiking on the many trails through the monument of the most accessible tropical forest from Panama City under the guidance of an expert. On the island of Barro Colorado there are trails since 1986, which have been designed to promote a respect for ecological interactions and to offer the opportunity to experiment and participate in the forest's natural history. The main trail through the forest is a 45-minute hike that takes you to 53 stations of interest and the Giant Tree, while the guide gives you all the information you want.


VIRTUAL PICTURE!, click here.
The Inside of the Smithsonian Research Center in Barro Colorado.
VIRTUAL PICTURE!, click here.
View of Smithsonian Visitor Center
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