Changuinola Canal Excursion # 1

This week we are focusing on a specific excursion we have been doing recently – a slow trip down the Changuinola Canal. According to Clyde Stephen’s Outline of History of the Province of Bocas del Toro, Panama, this canal was dug from Almirante Bay to the Changuinola River sometime between 1899 and 1903 as part of an agreement between the Snyder Banana Company and Colombia.

This canal has served many different purposes over the years. It was originally created in order to move bananas grown in different locations throughout Bocas del Toro. In the recent past, it served as a water route for many tourists coming into Panama from Costa Rica. The tourists would catch a water taxi outside of Changuinola which delivered them to Isla Colon. About four years ago during one of the big November rains, many trees from up river and large amounts of sand ended up in the canal, making it impassable for the water taxis. It is navigable again by small boats, but the water taxi service has not returned.

It is a gorgeous trip. Taking it slowly down the canal allows one to take in all of the wildlife and nature alongside both edges of the canal. At one point along the canal, we stop and walk along the beach to check out other areas. This week’s photos give you a glimpse into taking this excursion. We have developed the excursion for birders, but it is an excursion that any naturalist would enjoy.

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