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STRI operates a research station in the highlands of the Chiriquí Province, in western Panama. The Fortuna station offers simple laboratory and living facilities and excellent access to a vast and largely unspoiled wilderness.

The 19,500 hectares of forested land located principally above the dam have been given the status of a Hydrological Reserve by the National Authority for the Environment (ANAM) and are administered jointly by ANAM and ENEL Fortuna, S.A (

STRI administers one building (Vivero) and coordinates closely with ENEL Fortuna for additional living and research space in two buildings approximately 2km to the north of the Vivero. The three buildings can support 15 – 20 visitors.

How to activate STRI's Emergency Response Plan?

Call 212-8911 or 212-8211
Radio “Garita”
(STRI’s HQ’s Security Post)

Provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Location
  • Assistance Needed
  • Call-back Information

Incident Commanders

  • Carlos Espinosa (6485-6740)
  • Alberto González (212-8507; 6729-0436)
  • José Barahona (6618-8947)

Meeting Places

Primary Meeting Place: Immediately outside the houses.

Areas of Refuge

Inside the house

Portable Defibrillation Machine

At the Vivero

Additional Security and Safety Information

  • Criminal Activities in the area – The station is in the middle of a protected area and no significant criminal activity has been reported in the area. There is no police presence in the area; therefore, exercise prudence if you encounter any suspicious activities. Any suspicious activity should be promptly reported to the STRI Security office.
  • Swimming – Swimming is highly discouraged in nearby lakes, rivers and streams due to strong currents and flooding potential.
  • Drinking water – Station water is potable at STRI and ENEL-Fortuna installations. STRI encourages bottle water consumption at all other nearby areas.
  • Field Work – Any field work must be coordinated with the station caretaker so as to reduce the risk of getting lost or stranded. Means of transportation are limited.
  • Dangerous Fauna: Consult at the STRI station about any dangerous fauna that could be encountered. Felines and both venomous and non-venomous snakes, have been seen in the area.
  • Weather Threats: strong wind storms, flash flooding, thunderstorms, lighting storms, hail, landslides, falling rocks.
  • Communication Difficulties
    • Radio – only the 25W base works intermittently well. Portable 2.5W radios only work on the simplex mode.
    • Cell phones – cell phones only work at the Vivero while standing facing the lake.
    • While in the en Fortuna dormitories, STRI encourages all visitors to have a radio communication device and charger to talk to the Vivero in case of an emergency.
  • Out in the Field – Use the compass if you are not familiar with the trails. Off trail be careful with dangerous fauna. Be aware that on the main road there are over sized trucks and fast drivers.
  • Snakes Bites –
    • Stay calm. (There are cases when the snake bites but it does not inoculates venom).
    • Call for help (212-8911 or 212-8211).
    • Avoid unnecessary movements (i.e. Do not walk, nor run, nor do any strenuous movements that will speed your blood circulation).
    • Wash the wound with plain water and cover it with a loose bandage to avoid infection.
    • You will need to get transported by stretcher (if in a remote area) or by ambulance to the nearest public hospital: Hospital Regional Domingo de Obaldía (David – 775-2161, 775-2162, 775-2163, 775-2164)
  • Transportation Limitations – There is only one vehicle at the station. Visitors must provide their own transportation. Public transportation is available until 10 p.m.
  • Personal belongings are your responsibility.
  • Internet – There is wireless internet in the ENEL Fortuna facilities.

Emergency Information

  • STRI Headquarters Security Guard Booth 212-8911/212-8211
  • Incident Commanders
    • Carlos Espinosa (6485-6740)
    • Alberto González
    • José Barahona (6618-8947)
    • There is a celullar at the Vivero.
  • Meeting Places
    • Primary Meeting Place: Immediately outside the houses.
  • Areas of Refuge
    • Inside the house.
  • Portable Defibrillation Machine
    • At the Vivero.