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The Center for Tropical Paleoecology and Archaeology (CTPA) is housed in the historic Ancon Building, a 10-minute walk from the Tupper Center across from the Supreme Court building. The facility is designed and equipped for processing samples of fossils and sediments, as well as for geological mapping and stratigraphy. The building also houses STRI’s permanent research collections.


CTPA offers a variety of services, including access to laboratories, equipment, and work areas.  Logistical support such as act as liaison between local and international suppliers to provide scientific supplies, equipment repairs/maintenances, purchasing.

Criminal activities

  • The CTPA building and the dormitory building are located in Ancon where the number of assaults and robberies reported is increasing given its proximity to nearby high-risk areas. In addition, the building’s courtyard is used as a shortcut for people not related to STRI.  Visitors should exercise caution when arriving and while leaving the dormitory. Visitors should be cautious when walking or bicycling between Tupper Complex and CTPA/Dormitory Building.  STRI recommends walking in groups whenever possible, to reduce your risk.
  • Any suspicious activities should be reported to the security guard.
  • All emergency communications and notifications are received at the main security booth by calling 212-8911 or 212-8211 where the guards will activate the STRI Emergency Response Plan.

Transportation Limitations

Visitors must be aware that there is only one official vehicle at the CTPA. Therefore, visitors must utilize their own transportation or rent one.

Key security recommendations

  • There is security protection 24 hours per day. Security guards could ask to see your STRI ID. Expired IDs will be retained. When directed by the Security Office, the guards could check vehicles and ask any person to show the contents of bags, boxes or similar items.
  • The CTPA building has electronic access control and there is a security guard on duty 24hrs. The Supreme Court Palace is located across the street and civil demonstrations around the areas sometimes interfere with the access to the facility and other operations at CTPA.
  • Check with your sponsor or supervisor, the conditions of the areas you plan to visit and discuss all the potential emergencies that could encounter (e.g. getting lost, injuries, wildlife attacks, etc.)
  • Inform your estimated departure and return time.  Avoid going out in the field alone. Have at least two different means of emergency communication devices (i.e. radio, cell phone, GPS-SPOT device and satellite phones).
  • Carry your STRI ID and your passport or copy of your passport including the page with the entry stamp.
  • Essential safety and survival equipment must always be carried e.g.  first aid kit, emergency food supply, maps, whistles, survival bags, etc.

In case of an accident or security incident contact the local authorities and inform your supervisor and STRI emergency phones 212-8911/8211. Consult STRI’s Security Office (212-8025) and ask them about the places you plan to visit and the safest routes to take.

Field work recommendations and requirements

You must register each trip to the field in the Field Trip App (FTA)

Upon arrival, report your visit to the security guard of the area and provide a printed copy of the FTA. Remember to close the Field Trip App after returning from your trip. If the field trip is not closed at the specific time of return, the system will generate emails in the Control Room, Security, etc. indicating that the person / boat / car has not returned. This will first activate verification with security and emergency response if there is no news from the group.

Terrestrial fieldwork: A 4×4 pick-up truck is available for fieldwork. It can be booked in advance with CPA administration.
Note: No one can drive on of the STRI vehicles if is not authorized. Ask to your supervisor about process to request a STRI driver license. Read the STRI vehicle policies.  Be aware that you can only legally drive a vehicle in Panama for up to 90 days after arriving in the country using a foreign-issued driver’s license. Always wear a seatbelt.

For more information contact to

Weather threats: strong windstorms, thunderstorms, lighting storms. Find shelter is there is less than 30 seconds between lighting and thunder. Wait at least 30 minutes after hearing the last thunder before going out again.

Drinking water –  Water at the Complex is safe to drink at the drinking water source next to the Conference Room. Panama City tap water is generally safety to drink. However, there have been occasions when weather-related conditions have negatively affected its quality. Therefore, consuming bottled water is the safest alternative when in doubt.

Dangerous fauna – Consult with the Scientific Coordinator about any dangerous fauna that could be encountered.

Medical facilities

  • There is a first aid kit and an automatic external defibrillator (AED) at the CTPA
  • Any medical situation shall be reported to the STRI-OPS Control Room (212-8911/8211).
  • Patients and/or caregivers can consult a doctor by calling 279-3111 identifying themselves as a STRI collaborator.
  • Radio Tupper by saying: “Garita, Garita, Garita over…” or call for help (212-8911 or 212-8211).
  • In the event of snake bites, scorpions, bees and other situations:
    • Avoid unnecessary movements (i.e. Do not walk, nor run, nor do any strenuous movements that will speed your blood circulation). If there is a need to walk, you may apply a constrictive bandage above the byte w/o cutting blood circulation.
    • wash the wound with plain water and cover it with a loose bandage to avoid infection.
  • To receive medical attention, you need to travel to David:
  • Hospital Nacional: 207 8100 or 306 3300.
  • Centro Medico Paitilla : 265-8800 or 265-8891.
  • Hospital San Fernando: 305-6300.

Meeting places

Assembly Places are safe places where personnel should go during an emergency to be accounted for, receive instructions and stay out of harm’s way during emergency response activities.

  • Primary Meeting Place:  Parking area near the CTPA building.
  • Secondary Meeting Place (to be used in case the primary meeting place is affected by the emergency): Dormitory building Courtyard.

Emergency Information

    • STRI Headquarters Security Guard Booth 212-8911/212-8211
    • Incident Commanders:

Raineldo Urriola, 212-8124 / 6614-9831

Felix Rodriguez, 212-8134 / 6771-9138