Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Punta
Culebra

Nature Center

Amador Causeway, Panama City

Explore and discover
the natural world
through science

 

Punta Culebra
Seminars & Events

Species differences in foliar secondary metabolites represent a fundamental niche dimension on Barro Colorado Island, Panama
Tuesday, July 19 @ 1:00 pm

Brian Sedio, University of Texas at Austin and STRI

Panama

Additional links

The Smithsonian Institute welcomes you to the Punta Culebra Nature Center! Punta Culebra is a visitor center located at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal and is dedicated to exploration and discovery of the natural world through science. The center, visited by more than 70,000 people every year, offers a mix of marine and amphibian exhibits, walking trails, hands-on science activities and recreational spaces, all in a spectacular setting just minutes away from Panama City.

Plan your Visit

Punta Culebra Nature Center currently receives visits only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. The center closes from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM for cleaning of areas. Total closure of the center at 5:00 PM.

Entrances to the Center are subject to maximum capacity allowed.

Before continuing, please review some biosecurity measures for your protection against Covid-19 during your visit to Punta Culebra:

  • The use of masks is mandatory for all visitors, guides, staff and contractors (including fully vaccinated people) in indoor spaces.
  • Physical distancing must be maintained.
  • Most importantly, if you have any symptoms, you should stay home.

 

Hours and Rates

Opening hours
Friday - Saturday - Sunday  
9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Center closes for cleaning and disinfection from 12:00 MD to 1:00 PM
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Center closes for the day at 5:00 PM

The estimated visit time is 1 hour and a half

General Admission Rates Cost
Residents $5.00
Non-Residents $8.00
Retirees (residents) $2.00
Children (under 13) $2.00

Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, Carnaval Tuesday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Attractions

Q?rioso

Open the doors to curiosity and get to know Panama’s nature using scientific tools, exploring collections and findings made by scientists at the Smithsonian.

Fabulous Frogs of Panama Exhibit

Panama is home to nearly 200 species of amazing frogs! Come meet some of them at our newest exhibit, Fabulous Frogs of Panama. Explore the role of frogs in Panamanian culture from pre-Columbian to modern times, learn about the deadly fungus causing global extinctions of amphibian, and discover what scientists are doing to save Panama’s frogs.

Panama Coastal Fish Aquarium

Get to know a variety of species of fish that inhabit the coasts of the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean in Panama. Learn with our guides the natural history of these species and their importance in the marine coastal ecosystems of Panama.

Exploring Touch Pools

Roll up your sleeves and get your hands wet as you meet a variety of colorful marine invertebrates including sea stars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers at our two touch pools. A docent will guide you through this opportunity to learn about the unique features of some of the colorful and diverse animals that live beneath the waters of the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. 

Walking Trails

Take walks through a tropical dry forest on two short trails at our site. The forest is a refuge and habitat for sloths, raccoons, iguanas, birds and armadillos, among other animals that visitors can admire as they walk around. Dry forests are typical ecosystem of the Pacific side of Central America but most of them have been considerably reduced by development.

Aquaria

Visit our indoor aquaria to see a colorful array of fish, corals and anemones from the waters of the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Indo-Pacific and a tropical freshwater system.

Getting here

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)

Location

We are located approximately 3.5 kilometers from the entrance to the Amador Causeway. Turn right on the main road at the Mi Ranchito restaurant and continue to the end of the parking lot to find the entrance to Punta Culebra Nature Center.

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)

Public transportation

The Panama Metrobus offers transport service from Albrook Mall to Amador. Get off the bus at the stop in front of the Smithsonian Labs on Naos Island and walk southeast along the causeway. Turn right on the road next to the Mi Ranchito restaurant and keep walking along that road until you reach the entrance of Punta Culebra Nature Center. The entrance is about 250m from the bus stop.

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Parking

There is a limited amount of parking at Punta Culebra. The station security officer at the entrance will inform visitors if there is room. Some large buses cannot enter the parking lot.

Visits

Visitors will be able to explore our exhibits, which showcase the spectacular biodiversity of Panama. For groups with more than 20 people, please contact us at PuntaCulebra@si.edu to make a reservation.

Payment Information

Payments in cash and credit card and check are accepted on the site.

Accessibility

Punta Culebra has some exhibits accessible by wheelchairs; however, the forest trails behind the center and some others are not yet wheelchair accessible due to uneven terrain.

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)

Picnic Areas

We have picnic tables, with a beautiful view of the rocky shore and the entrance to the Panama Canal. Tables will be restricted to one family bubble per table.

Research

One of our goals at Punta Culebra is to share our discoveries, spark curiosity and inspire learning about the wonders of tropical science. As a result, we showcase some of the research that goes on behind the scenes of our interactive exhibits. Visit us to learn more about the research taking place on-site. You can also learn more about the History of Research at Punta Culebra, the Center’s Research Highlights and the scientists who do research on Punta Culebra.

Team

Jimena Pitty

Jimena Pitty

Manager

Rebecca Rissanen

Rebecca Rissanen

Office Administrator

Javier Jara

Javier Jara

Site Manager

Renier Vargas

Renier Vargas

Aquarist

Martha Mesia

Martha Mesia

Administrative Assistant

Andreina Rios

Andreina Ríos

Coordinator Q?rioso Program

Alvaro Gonzalez

Alvaro Gonzalez

Lead Docent

Francis Torres

Francis Torres

Lead Docent

Contact Us

For Reservations or Information

Phone

+507 212.8793 or +507 6362.4219
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