RFI: barro colorado island, panama

I was reading a birding book for Panama and the author mentions the mammals on barro colorado island are very tame and easily seen. Has anyone been there? I am curious if it’s worth a trip if in Panama or not?

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  • Jon Hall

    I have been. I don’t think the public can visit though without an invitation from a researcher. In any case you can see the same mammals at Gamboa and along the pipeline trail. Panama is well worth a visit in my opinion. Check out all the reports on the Panama page.

  • Ian Thompson

    Hi. The last time I was there the public could visit as a day trip, but the trips are arranged so that the boat arrives about 9:00 am and leaves after lunch, therefore missing the best times of day. As Jon says, to stay overnight you require an invitation/permission which I believe is usually only granted to researchers or invitees. Pipeline trail/road will give you better opportunities for wildlife as well as the ability to spotlight after dark, which can be very productive.

  • Nathan Myhrvold

    I have been to BCI. As Jon says, my belief is that you can only visit that as a researcher affiliated with the Smithsonian Tropical Institute, or as a guest of SRI in some capacity. However, in just looking it up, I found some internet sites that claim you can visit on day trips – without providing definitive links so far as I could tell.
    So perhaps it is possible. I was only there for a few days. It is very nice example of Panamanian rainforest, but it did not seem to be a paradise of tame mammals. I saw agouti, sloth and spider monkeys. They were all a bit nervous which makes sense given we also got a glimpse of a harpy eagle. Panama more generally does have some other great wildlife areas that have great bird and mammal opportunites.

  • wildlife_watcher

    Thanks, it sounds like there is no particular advantage to visting that site than others, so I will skip it when visiting Panama later this year.

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