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Monkey Island & Wounaan Village

Monkey Island & Wounaan Village
Cultural & Theme Tours > Cultural Tours > Cultural Tour
$160
Duration: 6 to 8 hrs
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Description

Take a break from the city and immerse yourself in the lesser-known side of the Panama Canal: The protected rainforests surrounding Gatun Lake. One of our professional guides will accompany you throughout the day as you take a boat ride around the southern tip of Lake Gatun where we scout the area for exotic bird species and, with some luck, larger wildlife. During the boat ride, we visit a few islands in search of the local monkeys who, over the years, have become accustomed to human presence, which greatly increases one’s chances of interacting with them. Finally, we pay a visit to San Antonio village, where the local Wounaan will share their culture and knowledge of the land in a relaxed, friendly, environment.

We’ll pick you up nice and early and take you out of town before the traffic madness begins! Our path takes us mostly parallel to the Canal and into Soberanía National Park on our way to the Gamboa Public Docks, where the Chagres River meets the Panama Canal.

A couple of minutes into the boat ride, we enter the Canal and take a quick ride past the Dredging Division's facilities and along the shipping lane (and past a large ship or three) toward the Monkey Island area. Needless to say, thanks to Panama’s abundant biodiversity, a bit of luck, and your boat captains’ uncannily sharp eyes will give you plenty more to look for, so keep that camera handy at all times!

As the day progresses, we head back to the Chagres River and head a bit further upstream to a bonafide Wounaan community (they live there, it’s not for show!). Once there, we not only get to learn about their customs and day-to-day ways of doing things, but also some of their history which includes a famous name or two (spoilers!). During our stay you’ll be able to get acquainted with a new culture, trade some anecdotes and a few laughs with the locals, and by the way, don’t be shy with the pictures. Souvenir hunters will also be able to browse for handicrafts as close to the source as you can get.

(Please be advised:  On rare occasions, the main passage to the Wounaan community is blocked off by floating vegetation carried by the river during the rainy season.  If this happens, and the alternate passage is also blocked, your guide will discuss other hiking/site options in the Soberanía National Park area with you so that no value is lost).

Before heading out, you can join us on a quick hike around a nearby medicine trail through the rainforest where we get to learn of a few key medicinal and survival plants out of the hundreds used traditionally by the indigenous peoples of Panama (and something about an herbal brew that’s made more than a few consider a second visit… spoilers!).

Note: The trail finishes back at the village, meaning that those who want to stay back and relax have the option.

Finally, and reluctantly, we head out for a lunch stop at a “Food Gallery” where there’s an ample variety of foods to pick from, including local flavors, before heading back into town to drop you off at your hotel.

Take a break from the city and immerse yourself in the lesser-known side of the Panama Canal: The protected rainforests surrounding Gatun Lake. One of our professional guides will accompany you throughout the day as you take a boat ride around the southern tip of Lake Gatun where we scout the area for exotic bird species and, with some luck, larger wildlife. During the boat ride, we visit a few islands in search of the local monkeys who, over the years, have become accustomed to human presence, which greatly increases one’s chances of interacting with them. Finally, we pay a visit to San Antonio village, where the local Wounaan will share their culture and knowledge of the land in a relaxed, friendly, environment.