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Station 7:
The house of Minsín and Gringa


Exit the Visitor Center the way you entered and turn slightly to your left. Enter the trail behind the Visitor Center and walk until you find a concrete structure.

nature trail isla iguana
isla iguana

The current vegetation of the island was shaped by Minsín and Gringa

The island was heavily bombed during World War II and for 15 years after, as it was used as a practice target for American pilots, which practically eliminated all the dry tropical forests that covered it and that were similar to the remaining fragments on the island. coastline of the Continent in the Pedasí area. This will be covered in detail in Station 16.

After World War II, a successful merchant from Las Tablas, Minsín Espino, and his wife NOMBRE, nicknamed Gringa, built the existing bohío, a house, two artesian wells, and parceled out the island to use as a farm until 1972. In Las Tablas, the street where the Fire Station is, bears their names.

minsin espino

Emilio (Minsín) Benjamín Espino Díaz (1910-1995) fishing in El Jorón in the late 1950s.

gringa espino

Digna (Gringa) Elisa González Díaz (1911-1995) at El Cirial beach in the late 1950s. Note that there were no trees or tall creepers behind the ranch.



minsin isla iguana

The house was two stories. The ground floor of blocks and cement, housed the kitchen and dining room. The upper floor, made of wood, housed the bedrooms. It had a toilet with a septic tank. Consider that when it was built in Las Tablas there were still many houses without this sanitary comfort. The chicken coop was next to it.

Today there are only remains of the concrete structure, which was remodeled in 1987 by the PA.NA.MA Foundation to serve as a Park Ranger House. With the US invasion the project was abandoned.

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Building the ranch in Playa El Cirial. Observe the little existing vegetation. Minsin  sowed  the fruit trees  around the bohío, the Park Ranger's House, the Visitor's Center and his house.

minsin y gringa

Gringa at El Cirial Beach. Note that the ranch was pencas.

fishing isla iguana

"La Panga" was the name of the boat they used to navigate from the Port of Mensabé, in Las Tablas, to the island.

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chivos isla iguana

The goat pen and the pigsty were located between the current Visitor Center and the northern point of the El Cirial reef.

The plots were distributed in the northern lobe of the island, since in the south the US Army carried out bombing practices.

The plots included citrus, coconut and uvita palms, bananas and bananas, rice, legumes, and fruit trees, such as mango, papaya, guava, plums of various types. 


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historia isla iguana
iguana island history

Minsín, Gringa and their family enjoying El Cirial Beach in the late 1960s. Take a look at the bohío in the same place where it is now; the creepers had already begun to colonize the areas that were not cleaned frequently and the trees around the beach had grown.

history isla iguana

Visitors landing on the island. Minsín did not allow them to anchor or fish in the El Cirial reef. He was the first conservationist on Isla Iguana.


Interview with Lesbia Espino, daughter of Minsín and Gringa.  

Sketch made during the interview and adjusted to the analysis of the 1981 aerial ortho-photography.

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