By Juliette Darmon

Nature, wild animals, birds, rainforest, amazing views… What a beautiful day in Gamboa, less than one hour away from the city!

Asociación Panamericana para la conservación (APPC) center rescues threatened wild animals finding in the middle of the jungle to save, care and heal them all year long before putting them back in their territory.

The owner, his wife and all the volunteers are really devoted to their job, and they will explain you with commitment and passion what their work consists in and how do they help these animals, but also what happened to them, how do they live, and even some touching personal experiences.

You will learn why a sloth is that slow, but also that they can usually live 15 years in nature against only some weeks or months, in captivity!

You couldn’t touch these little lovely creatures in order to not scared them but you will be so close that it’s going to be the same! And as me, you will for sure, enjoy taking some selfies with sloths! You will also love meeting the famous and gorgeous jaguar Fiona, rescued at the age of 3 months!

Note bis: Some volunteer experiences are available at APPC Center.

Under a beautiful and hot sun, we have boarded on an aerial tram in the middle of jungle where we discovered and learned a lot about wildlife and nature with our guide.

We had the chance to see wild sloths grabbed to trees, impressive ants’ nests but also amazing views of the jungle and canal while we were going up.

Once up, like us, you will enjoy to climb on the Gamboa Tower and chill out for some time to admire this beautiful view!

End your day by three wonderful and rewarding exhibits.

One about orchids and gorgeous flowers and plants you could find in Panama. The guide will make you smell some herbs, and you will probably smell one which seems to be chicken…! Really weird for plants, but true story!

Then, enjoy looking at these little colored frogs in a private greenhouse. Definitely cute yes, but from far away! These little animals are indeed venomous and better not meeting them on your way.

To end, let’s discover this lovely and relaxing butterfly house. Hundreds butterflies were flying above our heads, and we could watch them feeding with some mixture especially prepared for them. Learn the process from their eggs to their transformation in butterfly.
It’s always so impressive to learn about how the Nature works and what she is able to do… Did you know that the butterfly lifetime is about one month? Did you also know that when a butterfly’s egg becomes black it means that it has been infected by another insect or mosquito which would have put some venom inside? And that this egg will actually become the insect or mosquito in question later on? Really fascinating…!

After this instructive and enjoying day, your driver will drop you off to your hotel in the city, and as us, you could take some time to look at your beautiful pictures of the day!

If you are staying in Gamboa Rainforest Resort try visit APPC.

For more information, contact us



From Stri.orgImage

On June 1, Karla Aparicio hosted a group of Panamanians on Barro Colorado Island. As she guided them down the trail toward the BCI’s Big Tree, she noticed a rather unusual amount of light up ahead. BCI’s tree was no longer standing. “When we entered the new gap and realized what had happened, it was so impressive. The whole crown of the tree was on the ground and there were tons of bees and ants milling around looking lost!”

Home to epiphytic orchids and cacti, bromeliads and Spanish moss as well as to sloths, monkeys, bats, and birds, the late Big Tree, a kapok (Ceiba pentandra) definitely qualified as an island icon. It was probably the backdrop for more group photos than any other location on the island.

STRI’s staff scientist Joe Wright, who plans to take a core from the main stem to estimate the age of the tree, asked Robert Van Pelt, an adjunct professor at the Institute for Redwood Ecology at Humboldt State University and big tree enthusiast, to comment on BCI’s emblematic tree stature, which held the world record for largest crown:

“The very large base was 13m in one direction, tapering to a 2m cylindrical trunk above the buttressing; ending in a wide crown whose highest leaf reached 47m. What was most remarkable about the BCI tree was the crown spread, which based on 8 crown radii, averaged 60m in diameter. This was by far the largest crown known on the planet for a tree with a single stem. There are several banyans in India and elsewhere larger than this, but none with a single stem. For a self-supporting crown with no cables or other human impacts, I have only ever measured two species to exceed 50m in diameter – Ceiba and Albitzia saman.”

The trunk of the tree is still standing in the center of a huge clearing, a scene of total destruction where no other whole trees are left and the ground is covered in foliage and vines. “This black stuff looks like ash, but it’s rotten wood and termite nest material,” explained Javier Ballesteros as he examined the area of the crown that broke off from the trunk. He and the Fungal Dimensions project team were at the site this week using their Picus Sonic Tomograph to see if individual branches of the tree were rotten as well.

Good-bye Big Tree. You will be missed.