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Barro Colorado Island, Panama

(40+ reviews on the web)
Island Wildlife Area
Barro Colorado Island is located in the man-made Gatun Lake in the middle of the Panama Canal. The island was formed when the waters of the Chagres River were dammed to form the lake in 1913. When the waters rose, they covered a significant part of the existing tropical forest, and the hilltops remained as islands in the middle of the lake. It has an area of 15.6km2.The island was set aside as a nature reserve on April 17, 1923 by the U.S. Government. Initially administered by the Panama Canal Company under the direction of James Zetek, since 1946 Barro Colorado Island has been administered by the Smithsonian, together with five adjacent peninsulas, as the Barro Colorado Nature Monument . The BCNM has an area of 54 km2. It is among the most-studied areas of tropical forest in the world. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute has a permanent research center on the island, dedicated to studying tropical forest ecosystems. Because the Island's diverse ecosystem has been very little altered by humans, Barro Colorado has been studied for over eighty years within a great variety of biological disciplines. Only the larger fauna disappeared from Barro Colorado after the lake was flooded in 1914. Many scientific studies have been conducted to document the changes in the species composition of the island.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The trip starts and ends with a nice boat ride, which we enjoyed. Our guide studies ants at the Smithsonian and was quite interesting to listen to. Our group had about 10 people in it and I was impres...  more »
  • Visiting the Smithsonian center on Barro Colorado was a great day trip from Panama City. The $80 included ferry transportation to and from the island, a very knowledgeable, English-speaking guide for ...  more »
  • We were greeted by toucans and soon after that we saw a variety of mammals, fish, insects, plants and many more birds (and bats)! This island has a very interesting history and plays an enormously imp...  more »