Discovering Panama’s ecosystems in Panama City

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute displays the impressive biodiversity of Panama’s coastal ecosystems at Punta Culebra in Panama City. Knowledgable and multilingual guides led us through bunkers built during the First World War, now hosting exhibitions about Panama’s nature.

The building General Noriega used to entertain his guests was turned into aquaria showcasing the underwater world of Panama’s Pacific and Atlantic waters.

From the touching pools where one can feel sea stars and rays, the view on the bridge of the Americas is excellent, as well on the Amador Causeway. This two-kilometre road was built with rubbles from the Gaillard Cut while the Panama Canal was being dug, and links the three islands to the main land to avoid sedimentation at its entrance.

Trails through a small tropical dry forest where animals such as racoons, armadillos, iguanas and sloths can be found leads back to the beach where canons were positioned before World War Two to protect the Canal. Today, it is exclusively used for research purposes.

Visiting Punta Culebra is a nice activity to plan in Panama City if you don’t have time to experience the rest of this beautiful country or are traveling with young children to make them aware of our precious and vulnerable ecosystems.


Travel tips:

  • If you have only little time to spend in Panama City, visiting the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute of Punta Culebra will most likely make you want to come back to explore the amazing nature Panama has to offer.
  • If you have a bit more time to spend in Panama, we would recommend you to book a visit to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute of Isla Barro Colorado, a world-renowned research facility.
  • On your way to Punta Culebra, you will pass by the Biomuseo by F. Gherry where you can understand how the Isthmus of Panama was formed and the dramatic impact it has had on the Earth.
  • Take a visual tour of Panama!
  • Check out this interactive map for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area!

Don’t know where to start? Get inspired:

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