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This helpful checklist covers a variety of general things that are useful for visitors to STRI. This may not be a comprehensive list for everyone. It may be helpful to ask your advisor/PI if they have any other recommendations. You can also ask them to put you in contact with their other interns, fellows or visiting scientists who may be able to offer you helpful advice.


  • Laptop computer and charger
  • Camera, charger or batteries, memory cards
  • Waterproof sunscreen (min SPF 15 or stronger)
  • Insect repellent (Deet is best, Permethrin is good for pre-treating clothes)
  • Sunglasses
  • First aid kit
  • Reusable water bottles (drinking water provided in coolers at each STRI location)
  • Backpack/day pack and pack cover to protect against rain
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Tall rubber boots (similar to “Wellies”) are necessary for working on BCI
  • Hiking boots
  • Socks: thicker, tall hiking socks are good with the rubber boots
  • Pants and shorts
  • Lightweight, long-sleeved shirts to wear out in the field
  • T-shirts
  • A few long sleeve shirts, or sweater/jacket (cold AC in most buildings)
  • Wide-brimmed hat or baseball hat
  • Bandanas
  • Poncho (not rain jacket) and/or umbrella (rainy season is generally April-November)
  • Personal hygiene supplies: shampoo, soap, contact solution, toothpaste, etc.
  • Prescription medications for the length of your stay (bring a copy of your prescription)
  • Wristwatch
  • Smarter clothes for visiting the city 


  • Compass and whistle
  • Bird guide, binoculars
  • Field journal
  • Books, card/board games
  • Swiss army knife or Leatherman-type tool
  • Zip-lock bags/dry bags
  • Towel, bathing suit, goggles
  • Snorkeling equipment/dive mask
  • Sandals/flip flops
  • Tennis/running/gym shoes
  • Alarm clock
  • Headset with microphone for Skype
  • Panama guide book
  • Spanish dictionary/phrase book
  • Sleeping bag
  • Mosquito net
  • Special snacks/foods 

Important documents and paperwork

  • Valid Passport (the expiration date must be more than 6 months after the end date of your STRI visit)
  • Round-trip and/or onward airline ticket
  • Proof of solvency (money/how you will pay for your expenses in Panama)
  • International Driver’s License
  • Visa (if applicable)
  • STRI Award Letter (hard copy)
  • If you are traveling with your children, any documentation that may be required
  • Certificate of marriage, if you are traveling with your spouse
  • Birth certificates of your children, if they are traveling with you
  • Credit and ATM Cards (inform your banks before you travel) and US Dollars (denominations of $20 and below only)
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