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.
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
|The Inside of the Smithsonian Research Center in Barro Colorado.|
|View of Smithsonian Visitor Center|