Men Carrying a Cayuco to the Water, María, Coiba Island

ID: SIA2010-0509 and Wetmore #6093

Creator: Wetmore, Alexander 1886-

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: January 24, 1956

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Alexander Wetmore Papers, Record Unit 7006, Box: 183, Album: Panama and Coiba, 1956

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Ten men are carrying a cayuco ("dug-out canoe") to the water in María, Coiba Island, Panama. There are several dogs running around the men. The image was taken by Smithsonian Secretary Alexander Wetmore while on a scientific expedition to Coiba to study birds the birds of Panama.


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


From 1919 to 1991, Coiba Island, Panama, was a penal colony. Fear of the prison and its inmates deterred visitors from the island; thus some 80% of the natural areas on the island remain undisturbed. The island is also host to many endemic species. Both of these factors made the island ideal for Smithsonian Secretary Alexander Wetmore's scientific expedition to study birds. The officers and convicts pictured in Wetmore's images from the expedition were part of the penal colony. Some even worked as laborers for the expedition. Today, the island is no longer a penal colony. Instead, it is one of 38 islands composing Coiba Island National Park, a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage site.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Alexander Wetmore Papers, Record Unit 7006, Box: 183, Album: Panama and Coiba, 1956

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


January 24, 1956

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Correctional institutions
  • Scientific expeditions
  • Boats and boating
  • Landscapes
  • Animals
  • Architecture
  • Reformatories
  • Transportation
  • Dogs
  • Canoes and canoeing
  • Islands
  • Penal colonies
  • Buildings--Panama
  • Panamanians


  • Panama
  • Coiba Island (Panama)


  • Photographic print
  • Landscape
  • Group, candid

ID Number

SIA2010-0509 and Wetmore #6093

Physical description

Number of Images: 1; Color: Black and white; Size: 4.75 x 4.5; Type of Image: Group, candid; Landscape; Medium: Photographic print

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