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del Toro

Resarch Station

Isla Colón, Bocas Del Toro

Learn about marine science
at one of the Caribbean’s
leading research stations

Bocas del Toro
Seminars & Events

Currently, we have no upcoming seminars. For more information click here.

The Bocas del Toro Research Station is a research and outreach center located in the Bocas Del Toro archipelago. When you visit and take a guided tour, you will learn about the diversity of creatures that inhabit the marine and coastal ecosystems of Panama’s Caribbean coast.

Visitors can learn about the work of STRI scientists, see our lab facilities, touch tanks and walk on our nature trail. Thursdays and Fridays STRI offers hour-long tours of the station. Tours leave the front gate at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Admission is free but donations are graciously accepted and are used to support our education programs.

Note: The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute remains closed to all researchers and public visitors to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. The Smithsonian’s priority is to protect the safety and health of its staff, volunteers and visitors. All general scientific and general public visits to all STRI facilities are suspended until further notice. We thank you for your understanding and please continue to check this website for future updates.
Type of Visitor Days Open Hours
General public Thursday-Friday 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
School Groups By reservation  



Science in Action

Station scientists dive on coral reefs, explore mangrove forests and study the flora and fauna that of the species-rich Bocas Del Toro region. The station is usually teeming with researchers who are either in the field or working in the station’s outdoor and indoor laboratories.

Flora and Fauna

Coral reefs, seagrasses and mangroves are the primary engineers of the Bocas region’s ecosystem. Birds, lizards, turtles and caimans are a few of the creatures that are on-site at the station.

Science Talks

Monthly science talks are held at venues in Bocas Town. Please contact the station for information about the next talk.

School Groups

School groups are encouraged to visit our station. When you visit, you will be given a guided tour and learn about the diversity of creatures that inhabit the marine and coastal ecosystems of Panama’s Caribbean coast.

Special Events

We hold annual community events throughout the year including the Earth Day Beach Cleanup, Science Day, a Marine Fair, among others. See our events page for more information.


With 20 million years of geological history, islands separated from the mainland due to sea level rise, and a rich pre-Columbian and modern anthropological history, Bocas Del Toro is a natural laboratory to study evolution, climate change and human impact on Caribbean ecosystems. Marine research focuses on mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs; the taxonomy of invertebrates; and the impact of human activity on coastal ecosystems and species like bottlenose dolphins. Terrestrial work includes the study of evolution of multiple colorful morphs of a poison-dart frog and the natural defenses of cacao trees against pathogens.


Rachel Collin

Rachel Collin

Staff Scientist and Station Director

Plinio Gondola

Plinio Góndola

Scientific Coordinator


For reservations and information


+507 212-8000
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