Three Men with a Cayuco with Outboard Motor, Playa Blanca, Coiba Island

ID: SIA2010-0510 and Wetmore # 6098

Creator: Wetmore, Alexander 1886-

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: January 28, 1956

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

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Three men are at the beach of the Playa Blanca, Coiba Island, Panama. One of the men is in a cayuco ("dug-out canoe") and two men are standing in the water. The cayuco has been outfitted with an outboard motor. The image was taken by Smithsonian Secretary Alexander Wetmore while on a scientific expedition to Coiba Island, Panama, to study birds.


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.
  • Cayucos are made from rough dug outs of local trees by the Indians of Panama and are the main method of water transportation.

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 28, 1956

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Scientific expeditions
  • Boats and boating
  • Landscapes
  • Transportation
  • Motors
  • Canoes and canoeing
  • Rivers
  • Islands
  • Outboard motors
  • Panamanians


  • Panama
  • Coiba Island (Panama)
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Playa Blanca, Panama
  • Playa Blanca, Coiba Island, Panama


  • Photographic print
  • Landscape
  • Group, candid

ID Number

SIA2010-0510 and Wetmore # 6098

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

Full Record

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