Today, the last day of our journey, we found ourselves inside Gatun Lake, which formed when the channels of the Panama Canal were flooded. Just a few miles inside, we found the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), which harbors the Barro Colorado Island (BCI) Research Center. This island is one of the top three research centers in the tropics, from which much of the information that is now known about the neotropics comes. Some of us chose to walk the trails and look at the laboratories used by scientists from all over the world.

Others chose the second option, a boat ride to the Rainforest Discovery Center. The RFDC is a project of the Fundación Avifauna Eugene Eisenmann, a non-profit environmental organization for the conservation of birds in Panama. To disembark in the small town of Gamboa, we took a boat and a bus. Hiking the many trails within the area, we observed many animals and plants.

Others decided to take on the best of both worlds, an outing and a Zodiac. We cruised around the edges of the main island of BCI.

Many animals and plants bid us farewell as we finished our last crossing of the Gatun Locks, which led us into the Caribbean side of the Panama Isthmus.