It’s a little town halfway up the panama canal called, Gamboa.

Gamboa, Panama (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamboa,_Panama) sits at the confluence of 2 continents, 2 oceans, and evolving ecological, technological, and sociological factors over the past 100 years. It’s located directly in the center of Panama wedged between the canal and the Soberania National Forest.

This spot of extreme biodiversity and massive anthropogenic geoengineering became the home of the Smithsonian’s Tropical Research Institute, one of the world’s leading outdoor laboratories. The location provides direct access to a wide variety of fascinating jungle creatures. You will see leaf-cutter ants blazing green, shimmering trails through the forest while howler monkeys roar in the distance. Agoutis and capybara lope around the small town which also hosts caymans, iguanas, and several hundred bird species. Plus being only 40 km from the nearest international airport hub, makes Gamboa quite easily accessible from many places on earth.

It looks an feels like a small, midwestern american town from the mid-20th century (it even has a baseball field!), that has been taken back over by the jungle a little bit.

The conference will be located at a large eco-resort hostel and Andy’s field station makerspace near the Smithsonian Tropical Research Station.*

*Note we aren’t technically affiliated with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Station

Terrestrial Exploration

Pipeline road  (oleoducto) is one of the biggest birding sites in the world and a key scientific research path in the Soberania national forest. And it’s right in gamboa!

The jungle also has various levels of accessibility though too. You can just stay on Pipeline road which is a road that just cuts through the jungle, or you can walk down a path along a river deeper into the jungle, or you can go bonkers and bushwack through super rough stuff.

A look down the historic Pipeline Road
Cute reptiles you can meet along the road

Aquatic Exploration

We can rent kayaks and go in the lake nearby! We might be able to get boats and ride around the canal and visit islands! If we are lucky we can work out some trips to Barro Colorado Island (BCI).

More Jungle Kayaking with craig! – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Getting There

  1. Get a cab from the airport to Gamboa (~$40 USD, 30-60 minutes)
    (There are public buses, that are only about 50 cents, but will involve transfers and >2 hours of travel)
  2. Come sign in to the conference!


One of the biggest advantages of this location is that Andy is building his own new “Digital Naturalism Laboratories” right in gamboa. So he will have a little makerspace set up in his house and other facilities we can make use of. Also he will be on the ground several months before to work things out and connect with also local folks!

Panama is also quite easy to get to from most parts of the world. The airport serves as a hub for Copa (United), and many flights are direct and pretty cheap. See the Costs page for more specific costs of average flights here.