Panama

Five-day-old red-eyed treefrog embryos are tightly curled inside dehydrated eggs packed closely together. It’s dry enough to make them begin to hatch early amid heating.

Panama

When the Heat Is on, Red-Eyed Treefrogs Hatch Early

The embryos make the move from clutches on leaves to rainforest ponds below

On October 21, some 60,000 pilgrims descend on the town of Portobelo, Panama, to celebrate the Festival del Cristo Negro.

Panama

Panama's Black Christ Festival Stirs Up Sorrow and a Sense of Survival

For Afro-Panamanians, October offers a chance to celebrate Catholicism and their Blackness

About two to three million birds of prey fly through Panama each fall, in what amounts to the world’s third-largest raptor migration.

Panama

Watch Millions of Raptors Fly Across Panama This Fall

The country’s unique shape makes it a perfect migratory pathway for the birds of prey

Some of the returned artifacts

Panama

The Netherlands Repatriates 343 Ceramics to Panama

The pre-Hispanic pottery pieces range from bowls to plates to burial vessels

A worker sorts coffee beans at the Lamastus Family Estate farm in Boquete, a region known the world over for its coffee varieties.

Panama

Experience Panama's Coffee Farming Tradition in the Chiriquí Highlands

A coffee circuit connects 15 farms that offer tours and tastings in what's been called the "Napa Valley of coffee"

The Guna, an Indigenous group residing in Panama and parts of neighboring Colombia, have been creating colorfully embroidered clothing for centuries.

Panama

The Colorful History Behind Panama's Mola

Made by hand, this clothing staple is an important piece of the country's rich culture

The pinta’o originated in the province of Coclé southwest of Panama City, where the hats are still made today.

Panama

The Real Panama Hat

For centuries, Panamanian artists have been weaving "pinta'o" from natural fibers

Panama’s National Authority for the Environment (Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente, ANAM) manages Coiba National Park, which is accessible via permit. Guests can book overnight lodgings in several air-conditioned cabins next to the ANAM ranger station.

Panama

How a Former Penal Colony in Panama Became a Biodiversity Hotspot

For decades, Coiba Island was inhabited by prisoners. Now, scientists and adventurous tourists visit a national park teeming with wildlife

In Panama, sancocho is a national dish.

Panama

Panama's Sancocho Is a Soup That Can Cure It All

The cherished stew is a welcome remedy for homesickness—or even a hangover

To identify what bacteria lives in the stomachs of vulture bees and how it compares to other bee species, researchers set up 16 bait stations with roughly two ounces of raw chicken hung from branches 4.9 feet off the ground.

Why Vulture Bees Prefer Rotting Flesh Over Pollen

The insects' gut microbiomes contained acid-loving bacteria that help digest meat

After a year of strict Covid-19 lockdowns which brought a severe economic standstill, Panama is awaiting the return of visitors and the restart of the tourism industry.

Panama

For Panama's Fall Whale-Watching Season, Scientists Offer Tips for Safeguarding These Magnificent Creatures of the Deep

For humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins and coastal manatees, tourism is a mixed bag, making vigilance ever more important

Hillary Hughes, Panamanian actress, visits the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's Agua Salud Project during the filming of videos in Spanish and English to share hope for the success of tropical forest reforestation informed by the largest experiment of its kind in the tropics.

Smithsonian Voices

Watch These Two Videos and You Will Feel More Hopeful About the Future of Tropical Forests

Agua Salud's new bilingual videos share the results of tropical reforestation experiments at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama

Illustration from the graphic novel 'Martina and the Bridge of Time' by Aaron O'Dea and Ian Cooke Tapia.

Smithsonian Voices

Time Travel Into Panama's Deep History With This Richly Illustrated New Graphic Novel

'Martina and the Bridge of Time' tells the story of the Isthmus' formation and evolution through the adventures of a young Panamanian girl

Panamanian golden frogs—such as F1, seen here—are native to the rainforests and cloud forests of Panama but haven't been seen in the wild since 2009. Each creature's bright coloration warns predators of its deadly skin, which contains enough toxins to kill 1,200 mice.

Panama

A Small Band of Panamanian Golden Frogs Is Saving Their Species From Oblivion

Victims of a deadly fungus, the amphibians are now being selectively bred through a program at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

Foster mother, BD, feeds her adopted vampire bat pup in a captive bat colony at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa, Panama.

Smithsonian Voices

Baby Vampire Bat Adopted by Mom's Best Friend

The strong relationship formed between two female adult vampire bats may have motivated one of the bats to adopt the other’s baby

Vampire bats, a highly social species, will continue interacting with each other even when they're feeling sick.

When Illness Strikes, Vampire Bat Moms Will Still Socialize With Their Kids

Studying how bats behave when they’re feeling ill could help researchers better understand how pathogens move through close-knit populations

Bees from the nest structures: A) Head, side, top and bottom views of bees found inside the cells, B) drawing of Eufriesea surinamensis and photograph of the head of a modern bee taken by David Roubik

Panama

150-Year-Old Mummified Bee Nests Found in Panama City Cathedral

The nests, covered in gold leaf and paint, act as a time capsule for the surrounding environment circa 1870

The bony growths found in pre-Hispanic skulls in Panama suggest communities were diving for oysters and pearls thousands of years ago.

Panama

Skulls With 'Surfer's Ear' Suggest Ancient Pearl Divers in Panama

Thought to occur mainly in cold-water environments, a new study shows "surfer's ear" bone spurs can grow even in the tropics

New Research

A City Frog's Love Song Attracts More Mates Than Countryside Croaks

Fewer predators and heightened competition for mates allowed urban tungara frogs to add more notes and frills to their calls, with big results Read more: h

Mosquito researcher Kelly Bennett, turkey baster in hand, is on the prowl, collecting specimens for study

Hunting Deadly Mosquitoes in Panama

The latest podcast “Sidedoor” travels with Smithsonian experts on the trail of the buzzing beasts known as the Aedes

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