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Chagres National Park

Chagres National Park: Our most recommended tours and activities

Chagres National Park Hike and Embera Village Tour

1. Chagres National Park Hike and Embera Village Tour

Begin your full-day excursion with an hour-long drive from Panama City to the Chagres National Park. Established in 1984, the park comprises 334,000 acres of forest, lakes and rivers. Enjoy a traditional piragua boat ride on the Chagres River, followed by a half-hour walk through the jungle to a waterfall that’s hidden from civilization. Enjoy some free time at the waterfall to swim and relax, and then head back to the boat. Continue to an indigenous Embera village, where you’ll learn about their culture. Listen to a speech by the chief or one of the leaders of the community while enjoying some seasonal fruits, then taken in a live performance of traditional music and dance.

Panama: Embera Indigenous Village Private Tour

2. Panama: Embera Indigenous Village Private Tour

Ride a canoe up the Chagres River, walk to a jungle waterfall, and visit the traditional Embera village on a full-day tour. Learn about their traditional food, see their lively dances, and immerse yourself in their fascinating traditions.  Start with a pickup and a 1-hour drive from Panama City to the Chagres River, the largest river in the Panama Canal watershed. Board a motorized canoe for a 20-minute trip along the river, then stretch your legs on a short walk around the community , where if weather conditions permit, you can take a dip in a small river. Return to the canoe for the 45-minute ride to an Embera village, who have traditionally lived and worked at the edge of rivers, and are known throughout Panama for their distinctive songs, dances, and costumes.  The Embera tribe originates from the Darien region in Panama and the Choco region of Colombia. They have lived in this area for centuries, long before the first Spanish explorer set foot in the new world.  You’ll have 3-hours to explore the village, get to know some local people, and learn about life in the community. Sit down for a traditional lunch, then watch a dance that depicts the Embera's relationship with the natural world.  Before departing the village, shop for traditional handicrafts and souvenirs made by the local people. Head back down the river by canoe, and board the vehicle for the return trip to Panama City.

Panama City: Panama Canal Eco Cruise and Embera Village Tour

3. Panama City: Panama Canal Eco Cruise and Embera Village Tour

Begin your tour with hotel pickup. Follow the Panama Canal north to the town of Gamboa, where the Chagres River meets the canal. Begin your 90-minute cruise from a boat on the waters of the canal and Gatun Lake, riding along the canal near the ships passing through. Enjoy an up-close view of the abundant wildlife on the shores. Visit the famous Monkey Islands where you can see capuchins, howlers, and tamarins. Once you finish your canal and lake boat ride, head 1-hour northeast to the rugged and remote Chagres National Park. Once you arrive at Puerto Corotu on the banks of Lake Alajuela, the indigenous Embera people will be waiting to take you up the Chagres River aboard their version of a motorized dugout canoe. From the canoe, witness pristine rain forest that is protected as part of the Panama Canal watershed. Discover one of the most biologically diverse national parks in the world, home to jaguars, harpy eagles, tapirs, monkeys, sloths, and hundreds of bird species. Arrive at the indigenous village where the hosts will be waiting. Learn about the local way of life with a cultural presentation and take the opportunity to explore the village. Enjoy a light lunch of fried fish, plantains, and fresh fruit prepared by the locals. Browse for traditional handicrafts and receive traditional temporary tattoos, which will fade away after a few days. Hop back in the canoe and begin your journey back to Panama City.

Other Sightseeing Options in Chagres National Park

Want to discover all there is to do in Chagres National Park? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Chagres National Park

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 69 reviews

What an adventure! Cesar (our guide) was wonderful. Group of 7 and pick up was directly from the hotel. Drove to the Chagres National Park, from their took a motorized canoe to the trail. Gorgeous ride through the forest. The hike was a medium, if you are used to an uneven, slippy, rocky path. Lots of wading through water, in some spots just below the knee. Wear waterproof non slip shoes and clothing you don’t mind getting wet. The scenery was fantastic and the reward of swimming at the waterfall, priceless! Boat ride back to the Embera Village for a great freshly prepared lunch of fish, plantains and fresh fruit. The villagers welcomed us and spent time telling the group about their culture. It was so interesting. Time to buy the crafts they make and enjoy a performance of music and dance. I cannot recommend this tour enough. Worth every penny. Thank you for an unforgettable experience. Julie

This was an unbelievable, once in a lifetime kind of experience that I am so happy that we took! Meeting the local tribe, experiencing their cooking and crafts and dancing… It was epic!

Virkelig sjov og spændende tur med den bedste guide Dan som virkelig var dygtig til at fortælle historie

Esperienza indimenticabile! Assolutamente da scegliere!

Great experience, guides are great and personal !!!!!