TOUR DESCRIPTION The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), a nonprofit entity with headquarters in Panama City, Panama, is a division of the Smithsonian Institution. STRI is known worldwide as a leading center for tropical biology research. With nine research facilities in Panama, and projects in many other tropical countries, STRI maintains a Visitors Program that contributes to its institutional mission: to increase understanding of the past, present and future of tropical biodiversity and its relevance to human welfare.

PRICE US$180 per person + 7% tax (4+ persons); $205 per person plus 7% tax (2-3 persons)

INCLUDED Bilingual naturalist guide, full lunch, park and related fees, transportation from/to your hotel in Panama City (please note that a $35 per person roundtrip surcharge based on 2+ persons must be added to day tours beginning and/or ending at Playa Bonita or hotels near Tocumen Airport)

DISCLAIMER Prices and itineraries are correct at the time of printing, however they are subject to change due to weather or local conditions, availabilities or factors beyond our control.


Discover the splendor of the tropical rainforest! Barro Colorado, the largest forested island in the Panama Canalwaterway, is part of the Barro Colorado Nature Monument (BCNM) and the site of an internationally recognized biological research station. You will learn about research in progress and the rich natural history of the BCNM. We hope to pique your interest in tropical forests, because you are essential to the protection of this natural environment.

After being picked up at your hotel in Panama City, you will be transfered to the STRI dock at the town of Gamboa. From there you go on a 45 min - 1 hour boat ride to Barro Colorado Island in Gatun Lake. After a welcoming and introduction about natural history by your guide, you will go on a 2-3 hour hike on the trail (challenging with several inclinations) on Barro Colorado Island. The walk ends at the Visitor Center, where you will find an exhibition regarding BCNM. After the Visitors Center you will head to the cafeteria to have lunch. This is a cafeteria-style lunch with a variety of dishes, including a vegetarian section.

Most trails are about 2 km long and include steep sections and stairs. The trails are not appropriate for people who suffer from heart and respiratory conditions, knee injuries, or are in generally poor health. Also, if you are traveling from a non-tropical country, please note that tropical weather (high humidity and heat) can stress your body. We recommend bringing water. The forest hike takes around 2-3 hours.


Please note that you will not enter or visit the STRI research laboratories, but be outside on the trails on hikes exploring nature wildlife and afterwards visiting the STRI Visitor Center.

Tours daily, except for Mondays and Thursdays.

Let us know about any medical conditions and any food restriction or if any of you are vegetarian.

A waiver that must be signed and brought the day of your visit.

Minimum age: 8 years



Tuesdays, Wednesdays and  Fridays

  • 6:00 a.m. Approximate pick up time at your hotel in Panama City (depending on your hotel location)
  • 11-12 hours Approximate tour duration
Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays
  • 6:45 a.m. Approximate pick up time at your hotel in Panama City (depending on your hotel location)
  • 9-10 hours Approximate tour duration



  • Signed BCI waiver
  • Binoculars (available for rent at Ancon Expeditions of Panama)
  • Camera
  • Cap or hat
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Insect Repellent
  • Closed shoes and long pants are mandatory to walk in the trails. Visitors wearing shorts, sandals or any kind of open shoes will not be allowed to walk in the trails and must stay in the Barro Colorado Administration building. 
  • Poncho or Raincoat
  • Extra clothes
  • Water bottle
  • Credit cards and debit cards only accepted for purchases at the BCI shop store


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