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.
Meet the Embera People on this Panama Canal Trip
This tour begins with hotel pick-ups starting at 7 am. We know it sounds crazy to get up so early when you’re on vacation, but if you really want to see the wildlife you need to do it when they are most active at the beginning of the day. Starting this early, we can beat the crowds and see more animals in cooler temperatures.
To start this tour, we will follow the Panama Canal north to the town of Gamboa, where the Chagres River meets the canal. We will begin our wildlife viewing from a boat on the waters of the canal and Gatun Lake, riding along the canal right near the ships passing through. Enjoy an up-close view of the abundant wildlife on the shores. We will visit the famous Monkey Islands where we can see capuchins, howlers, and tamarins.
Once we finish with our canal and lake boat ride (around 90 minutes), we will head one hour northeast to the rugged and remote Chagres National Park. Once we arrive at Puerto Corotu on the banks of Lake Alajuela, our indigenous Embera friends will be waiting to take us up the Chagres River aboard their version of a motorized dugout canoe. From the canoe, we will witness pristine rain forest that is protected as part of the Panama Canal watershed.
Chagres National Park is one of the most biologically diverse national parks in the world and along with the Embera people is home to jaguars, harpy eagles, tapirs, monkeys, sloths, and hundreds of bird species. We are brought to the village where our hosts will be waiting. We will witness a presentation about their culture and have the opportunity to walk and explore the village.
A light lunch of fried fish, plantains, and fresh fruit will be prepared by our hosts. We will have opportunities to buy traditional handicrafts and receive traditional “tattoos” which will fade away after a few days. We will then load back into the canoe for our return to Panama City for hotel drop off.
This tour requires a minimum of two adult passengers to start. There is not much strenuous activity on this tour, but it does require entering and exiting a boat and optional walking around the rain forest.
Please let us know if anyone in your group has problems with mobility. Also, please keep in mind that we will be visiting remote areas and we may have to deal with nature. If it rains there is a chance you will get wet. We have umbrellas and ponchos for your use, but rain is a fact of life in Panama and you must be prepared no matter what time of year.
What is Included
- Central Panama City hotel pick-up
- Soberania National Park
- Boat ride on Panama Canal
- Visit Monkey Island
- Chagres National Park motorized canoe ride up the Chagres River
- Swim in a River in the rainforest
- Embera village w/ cultural presentation
- Freshly prepared lunch made by the Embera
What To Bring
- Insect repellant
- Breathable shirt
- Bathing suit
- Shoes that will get wet
- Small bills for handmade crafts