See the Panama Canal up close and personal as we ride along its waters and see its wonders, like a complex lock system, traveling vessels, and wildlife.
Surround Yourself in the Vibrant Culture & Environment of Panama
Explore the wild side of Panama on an immersive canal boat tour, then meet the people of Embera village for a day filled with cultural immersion and learning. Learn more about each tour below.
What to Bring
- Insect repellant
- Long pants
- Breathable shirt
- Shoes that might get muddy
To start this tour, we follow the Panama Canal north to the town of Gamboa, where the Chagres River meets the canal. We ride the waters of the Panama Canal and pass by ships going through on their way to the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. We arrive at Gatun Lake and cruise around islands created during the canal construction and see the abundant wildlife on the shores.
We visit the famous Monkey Islands where we look for howlers, capuchins, and tamarins up close in their natural habitat. After our canal and lake boat ride (approx. two hours), we make our way to the famous Pipeline Road in Soberania National Park. One of the premier birding spots in the world, the Pipeline Road will give us an opportunity to travel through a mature rain forest that is full of an incredible mix of wildlife.
A bird count here organized by the Audubon Society set a record when 385 species were observed in 24 hours. Here we will visit the Rainforest Discovery Center, an environmental education project administered by the Fundación Avifauna. We will visit the canopy of the rainforest on a 100-foot (32 m) observation tower and see an amazing abundance of birds from the different viewing levels. A walk along the trails on the rainforest floor will take us to a panoramic view of a lake where we can see different species of waterfowl and aquatic animals. You will surround yourself with hundreds of hummingbirds at the hummingbird feeders where we will enjoy a freshly made picnic lunch. Once we finish up at the Rainforest Discovery Center we will return to Panama City for hotel drop-off.
This trip begins with free hotel pick-up at central Panama City hotels at 8 a.m. Then we head north to Chagres National Park. Once we arrive at Puerto Corotu on the banks of Lake Alajuela, our Embera hosts are waiting to take us up the Chagres River aboard a dugout canoe. On our way to the village, we will visit a beautiful waterfall. Our hosts greet us with a presentation about Embera culture and they will show us a traditional dance. We will have the opportunity to walk and explore around the village. You are sure to enjoy a light lunch of plantains, fried fish, and fresh fruit prepared by our hosts. We can then have time to buy Embera handicrafts and receive traditional “tattoos” which will fade away after a few days. Then it’s time to load back into the canoe for our return to Panama City and hotel drop-off.
This minimum requirement for this tour to start is two adult passengers. This experience is a wonderful selection for those who love nature. We visit very remote areas that are known for bird watching. It is very common to see monkeys, sloths, and other jungle wildlife. This tour does require entering and exiting a canoe and optional walking around the rainforest, but there is not much strenuous activity. Please let us know if someone in your group has mobility problems. Please keep in mind that we are visiting remote areas and we may have to deal with nature. If it rains, you may get wet. Rain is common in Panama and you must be prepared no matter what time of year. We have umbrellas and ponchos for your use as well.
Lunch and bottled water are included!