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Panama Canal through the Chagres River

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US$1,550.00
Date
2 travelers
Highlights
    What to Expect
    Itinerary

    Day 1: Arrival to Panama City

    Stop At: Adventures Panama, Calle 63 Oeste, Panama City Panama
    We will greet you at Tocumen International Airport and shuttle you to a Panama City Hotel. At the hotel, we will hold a welcome meeting for the group at 7 p.m. in the lobby.
    Duration: 12 hours

    Stop At: Panama Canal, Gatun Lakee, Panama City Panama
    Today its only a welcome !
    Duration: 6 hours

    No meals included on this day.
    Accommodation included: Panama City Hotel

    Day 2: Panama Canal Miraflores Locks & Panama City Tour

    Stop At: Miraflores Locks, Panama City, Panama
    We will pick you up at your hotel at 9 a.m. for a complete tour of the city. After all that paddling, you will have a relaxing and efficient tour around the more interesting sights, giving you both a historic and modern look at the city.

    You will learn about the development of the Panama Canal and its economic impact at the Miraflores Locks. Here, you are able to see passing ships and you can enjoy a documentary about the creation of the canal, its economic and strategic impact, and the recent expansion of the Canal.

    The Panama Canal Museum offers interesting artifacts and a close overview of the French and American approaches to constructing the canal. Once you are a Canal expert, we'll tour the city.

    In Casco Antiguo, also called San Felipe, you will see a spectacular view of Panama City with visits to historic buildings such as San Jose Church, The National Theater, The Metropolitan Cathedral, The Old Slave Market and the Old Spanish Prisons.

    You might also be interested in a visit to the Old Panama Ruins, a strategic spot for Spanish trade during colonial times.

    On the Amador Causeway you will be in awe of the beautiful sight, here 3 islands were connected with the mainland by using materials from the Panama Canal excavations. You get to choose from several gourmet restaurants and enjoy the view of ships leaving the Canal and the exciting city.
    Duration: 2 hours

    Stop At: Casco Viejo, Avenida Central, Panama City Panama
    also called San Felipe, you will see a spectacular view of Panama City with visits to historic buildings such as San Jose Church, The National Theater, The Metropolitan Cathedral, The Old Slave Market and the Old Spanish Prisons.
    Duration: 2 hours

    Stop At: Amador Causeway (Calzada de Amador), Av Amador, Panama City Panama
    you will be in awe of the beautiful sight, here 3 islands were connected with the mainland by using materials from the Panama Canal excavations. You get to choose from several gourmet restaurants and enjoy the view of ships leaving the Canal and the exciting city.
    Duration: 2 hours

    Stop At: Panama Viejo, Via Cincuentenario, Panama City Panama
    You will visit a strategic spot for Spanish trade during colonial times. The first city established in mainland of the continent
    Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    Accommodation included: Panama City Hotel

    Day 3: The Chagres Challenge

    Stop At: Chagres National Park, Carretera Madden, Colon Panama
    Get ready for an early start at 5 a.m. You will be picked up and taken in an all-terrain vehicle to the remote village of San Cristobal, which is past the mountains of Cerro Azul, northeast of Panama City.

    After a wild 4x4 drive through our own made highway, you will hike for about 2-3 hours on a trail within Chagres National Park, up to Rio Piedras, a Chagres River tributary or all the way to Chagres River. Here you will get into rafts and float downstream (Class II-III rapids) into the untouched jungles of the upper basin of the Chagres River.

    We will have lunch by the river and continue rafting further downstream passing an impressive granite canyon with some white water rapid action, and ending just before encountering Madden Lake, also known as Lake Alajuela. Along the route, you will be picked up by a “piragua” (native wooden canoe equipped with outboard motor) that will take you to the Embera Indian Village around 4-6 p.m.

    These Embera Natives migrated to Chagres National Park more than 20 years ago, here they found habitat similar to the one they were familiar with in the Darien jungles, near Colombia. They are extremely friendly and will invite you into their village as honored guests. You will most likely set up camp under one of their palm tree roofed huts and be served their staple dinner of fried plantains and locally caught fish.
    Duration: 15 hours

    Pass By: Embera Drua Villiage, Panama
    It is the first village that we will encounter

    Pass By: Emberá Purú Village, Panama
    It is the second village that we will encounter navigating downstream

    Pass By: Centro De Salud Cerro Azul, Panama City, Panama
    We will drive next to it

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight in tents at river bank

    Day 4: Embera Indian Village by the Chagres River

    Stop At: Comunidad embera Tusipono, Colón, Panama
    After thanking the Embera Natives for their kind hospitality, we will switch our rafts for expedition kayaks and begin paddling across Alhajuela Lake, for 3-4 hours.

    You will paddle through the remains of a 'drowned forest,' where only the very tips of the tallest trees, that once thrived here, now barely break the surface of the water in this man-made lake. You will navigate through the water channels as you make your way to the public boat ramp of Nuevo Vigía, on the western coast of Alhajuela Lake. Here, the driver will meet you, and shuttle you across Madden Dam to a section of the Chagres that connects Alhajuela Lake to Gatun Lake.

    This leg of the trip will take around 3 hours, you'll be able to spot wildlife on either side of the river, it's even possible to see small alligators. At the end of the day, around 4pm, you'll stop at another Embera village for the night, just short of Lake Gatun and the town of Gamboa. If they have ample space and resources, then you will once again indulge in their hospitality, setting up camp in a hut and eating locally sourced fish.
    Duration: 15 hours

    Pass By: Chagres River, Gamboa Panama
    We will finish today paddling very close to Gamboa area where we will camp

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight in tents at Katuma Embera Village by Gamboa

    Day 5: Paddle Gatun Lake along Barro Colorado

    Stop At: Gatun Lake, Panama City Panama
    In the morning, Embera Natives will once again shuttle you in piraguas, this time you will travel across to the west side of the Panama Canal. From here, your exploration of the canalthrough the original locks). With the expanded Canal, you might also see larger Neopanamax that are crossing through the newly inaugurated Third Set of Locks.

    You will be paddling in a narrow channel reserved for smaller vessels just outside of the Panama Canal shipping lane, practically in the shadows of massive Panamax vessels (a name reserved for the largest possible ships that can traverse the canal).

    Birds such as the king fisher and fishing eagles are common here. Ideally, you'll find a spot for lunch where you can watch turtles and Jesus Lizards (lizards with the ability to walk on water).

    Eventually, you'll make your way around Barro Colorado, a famed Smithsonian natural research island. For this you have to rely on navigational techniques, to make your way through the tropical islands that guard the western passage around Barro Colorado.

    At the end of the day, around 4 p.m. you'll set up a wilderness camp on a smaller island adjacent Barro Colorado.
    Duration: 1 day

    Pass By: Barro Colorado Island, Panama
    We will paddle along it

    Pass By: Miraflores Locks, Panama City, Panama
    We will be paddling Gatun Lake, the main body of water of the Panama Canal, outside the navigation channel of vessels

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnigth on tents by Gatun Lake shores

    Day 6: Paddle Gatun Lake North

    Stop At: Gatun Lake, Panama City Panama
    After practicing 'leave no trace behind' techniques while taking down camp, you will truly put your paddling skills to the test as you tackle what remains of Gatun Lake, starting around 9 a.m.

    Islands become less frequent in this section of the lake, and you will feel as if you are paddling through open waters, guided by a small lighthouse in the distance.

    This section also offers unique views of large shipping vessels in the canal. You can track their steady progress from a distance, one after another as you yourself, travel alongside them.

    Hopefully, you will find a nice shady lunch spot on one of the few islands in the middle of the lake, around noon.

    On the far side of Gatun Lake you will see ships lined up, waiting for their turn to enter the locks and continue their passage through to the Atlantic Ocean. Large families of howler monkeys are known to roam the jungle forests in this area and will no doubt applaud your completion of Gatun Lake with their signature howl.

    Here you will set up another wilderness camp just short of the Gatun Locks around 4pm
    Duration: 8 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at tent camp by Gatun Lake shore

    Day 7: Fort San Lorenzo

    Stop At: Fort San Lorenzo, Colon Panama
    Today you will meet up with your driver who will take you to the north side of Gatun Dam and you'll start kayaking around 8:30 a.m.

    You will be put in directly downstream of Gatun Dam just in time to watch the jungle awaken, likely encountering some morning mist. This is the final stretch of the Chagres River which flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

    After 3-4 hours of paddling through dense tropical forest, you will reach the Caribbean, with a view of the old Spaniard conquistadors' Fort San Lorenzo. You will be transported back in time as you explore the remains of the once crucially important fortress, that starting in the XVI century, prevented Caribbean pirates from using the Chagres to launch surprise attacks on Panama City in the Pacific.

    After visiting Fort San Lorenzo and having lunch, we will head back toward Panama City and reach the hotel around 4 p.m.

    To get in and out of this area, by road, we will go across the Panama Canal by way of the ferry boat or a new built bridge in our vehicle.

    If time allows we will visit the newer set of Panama Canal Locks, Agua Clara.
    Duration: 8 hours

    Stop At: Agua Clara Locks, Avenida Bolivar Lago Gatun, Colon 0301 Panama
    We will visit it if time allows it
    Duration: 1 hour

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    Accommodation included: Overnight at hotel in Panama City

    Day 8: Departure

    Pass By: Tocumen International Airport, Avenida Domingo Díaz, Panamá, Panama
    On the 8th day we will send you off with a shuttle back to the airport.

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    No accommodation included on this day.
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    Important Information
    Departure Point
    You will be welcomed at the Tocumen International Airport and shuttle you to a Panama City Hotel.
    Departure Time
    7:00 PM
    Duration
    8 days
    Inclusions
    • 7x Breakfast
    • 4x Dinner
    • 5x Lunch
    • Accommodation included: 7 nights
    • All mentioned transportation
    • rafts or duckies, sea kayak(tandem or single) and related gear
    • camping gear
    • guides (Our guides are trained in river and sea navigation skills, first-aid and CPR)
    • trip's meals
    • Lodging and catering:
    • 3 nights at Hotel Marbella**, Panama City
    • 2 nights in the huts of Embera Native Indian Villages
    • 2 nights at Tent Campsite on the shores of Gatun Lake
    • 8 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
    • All mentioned ground and ocean transfers within Panama are included.
    • Entry/Admission - Adventures Panama
    • Entry/Admission - Panama Canal
    • Entry/Admission - Miraflores Locks
    • Entry/Admission - Casco Viejo
    • Entry/Admission - Amador Causeway (Calzada de Amador)
    • Entry/Admission - Panama Viejo
    • Entry/Admission - Chagres National Park
    • Entry/Admission - Comunidad embera Tusipono
    • Entry/Admission - Gatun Lake
    • Entry/Admission - Fort San Lorenzo
    • Entry/Admission - Agua Clara Locks
    • Entry/Admission - Tocumen International Airport
    Exclusions
    • International flight, Airport tax ($ 20.00/person)
    • personal expenses
    • tips
    • meals not specified in itinerary
    • extras in hotels (laundry, room service, phone calls)
    • Entry/Admission - Centro De Salud Cerro Azul
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    Additional Info
    • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
    • This land package set departures are designed for couples, friends, or singles above 18 yrs old that enjoy to team up for paddling in the outdoors. Lodging has been chosen considering local style, comfortable and basic accommodation with out luxury.
    • However, any person from twelve to 65 years old, in good health, ready to walk for about two and a half hours through an irregular and muddy path could do it with minor modifications(Minors must travel with a responsible adult)
    • Private groups with some customization can be arranged.
    • Daily items: Swimsuit or a pair of short for navigating, sneakers or light boots with good soles, a cap, sun-block, a light jacket or windbreaker (in case the weather turns chilly), a towel and dry set of clothes for after the day trip. Blanket, flashlight, personal hygiene items.
    • At day tours leave object than can be deteriorated by water or valuables like jewels, cash, credit cards, etc.
    • 2-3 persons $ 1,850.00
    • 4-5 persons $ 1,550.00
    • 6+ persons $ 1,450.00
    • This package is good year around.
    • The rainy season in Panama starts in April-May and ends by November-December. Due to changing river water level it can not be defined in advance where you will stay the night on river shore.
    • From January through March a steady north wind prevails, that makes paddling difficult and may cause some necessary changes in the itinerary.
    • Not wheelchair accessible
    • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
    • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
    • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
    • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers
    Cancellation Policy
    If you cancel at least 7 days in advance of the scheduled departure, there is no cancellation fee. If you cancel between 3 and 6 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is a 50 percent cancellation fee. If you cancel within 2 days of the scheduled departure, there is a 100 percent cancellation fee.
    2Reviews0Q&A
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    +6
    My son and I signed up for the Mountain to Sea five day tour, which starts with a whitewater rafting adventure on the Piedras River to the Chagres River followed by a kayak adventure all the way across Panama for the next four days. I made this decision after some email dialog
    Read more
    Response from Aventuras_Panama, Owner at Panama Canal through the Chagres River
    Responded 19 Feb 2018
    Thank you very much for your Excellent Review on our 7 days trip 'The Panama Canal through the Chagres River' It was a pleasure sharing with you before and after your journey. Outdoor adventures such as this makes it perfect for bonding as you did with your son. I could not agree with you more, Panama is totally overlooked. As you put it, it is a gem in plain view; but, it takes some adventurous eyes to spot it. I am looking forward to your next visit. Best regards,
    Read more
    Honestly, I didn't do a ton of research for this trip—my dad asked if I wanted to go join him in Panama, I said sure, and a few weeks later I landed at the airport. But nothing else was necessary: every important detail and logistic was already figured out, and there couldn't
    Read more
    Response from Aventuras_Panama, Owner at Panama Canal through the Chagres River
    Responded 19 Feb 2018
    Thank you very much for your Excellent Review on our seven days trip 'The Panama Canal Through the Chagres River.´ I enjoyed it very much hearing how exciting you were with this expedition. You and your Dad were the perfect guests... open to whatever comes with the right attitude. I hope to share with you again. I am sure that you will also bring your own son sometime in the future to maybe paddle with my son (-:
    Read more
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