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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Chagres National Park and Guna Yala
  • Rafting and Sea kayaking
  • Ground and ocean transportation
  • Jungle hiking and coral reef snorkeling
  • Embera and Guna Yala indigenous cultures
  • Age: 9 and up
  • Camping
  • All-inclusive package
  • Gateway: Panama City

  

One of Panama adventure packages that will take you through the pristine upper Chagres National Park. Adventures Panama pioneered tours on this region in 1994. Due to lack of access roads, and pristine forest it is one of our favorite destination.  

This part of the river, characterized by currents alternating with stillwaters,  is considered as Class II, although several rapids are considered Class III by the International Classification of River Navigation. Because of the dense tropical forest that covers the watershed of the river, sedimentation is minimum; therefore, clear water can be expected very often. The flora is typical of the tropical rain forest, with more than three hundred species per hectare. Although it is the natural habitat of big mammals such as  tapirs and jaguars, tropical rainforest animals , they are very seldom encountered.  It is much easier to spot several other samples of the fauna, such as monkeys (spider, howler, whiteface capuchin , Geoffrey's Tamarin), sloths, river otters, iguanas, tucans, and plenty of fish.

The Chagres National Park is also the habitat of Embera Rainforest Tribes.  Natives that have adapted to live in jungles by the river.    We will visit them.

The San Blas Archipelago, with more than 350 islands spreading along the North East of the isthmus, of Panama, from Colon to Colombia, and the territories from the Caribbean Ocean up to the continental divide along mountain range defines San Blas or Guna Yala, the homeland of Guna Natives.

Gunas are well known for their molas, bright and colorful fabric panels-they manufacture using the technique of reverse application,-and wear in their female dress.

They are politically a nation within Panama, with their own language, culture, laws and territory. However, they are also Panamanians.

There wasn´t a single road (not until 2007) connecting Guna Yala with the rest of Panama. Guna´s efforts to preserve their identity, and control over San Blas has made it possible to keep this region as the pristine paradise it is today.
  

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ITINERARY

1st day:  Arrival to Panama City

You will be welcomed by us at Tocumen International Airport, and transferred to a Panama City Hotel.  We will have a welcome meeting for the group at 07:00 pm in the hotel lobby.

Lodging at Hotel Marbella**

 2th day: The Chagres Challenge

Get ready for an early start at 07:00 am when 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 an exciting 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 to float downstream (Class II-III rapids) into the untouched jungles of the upper Chagres River watershed.

We will have lunch by the river and continue rafting further downstream, passing an impressive granite canyon with some white water rapids action, ending just before encountering Alhajuela Lake.

We will either set up camp for a night on a river bank or at an Embera Village, around 4-6 p.m.

Lodging at Tent Camp –  dinner and breakfast the next day.

3rd day: Embera Indian Village

After breakfast you will help to take down our camp leaving no trace behind in the case of an improvised camp by the river, or start the day at the Embera village.

Along the trek we will be expected by a “piragua” (native wooden canoe equipped with outboard motor) that will take us to their Embera Indian Village.

These Embera Natives migrated twenty yeasrs ago to Chagres National Park area, where they found a habitat very similar to the one that they were so familiar with in the Darien Jungles, by Colombia..

After indulging in the kind hospitality of Embera Natives we will get back to our “piragua” that will take us to the nearest road. A driver will be expecting us to bring you back to civilization, and back to the Hotel in the city.

Lodging Hotel Marbella* – breakfast, lunch


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4th day: San Blas Archipelago - Sea Kayaking and Snorkeling

Pick up at 05:00 am to be transported in 4x4 to San Blas.  It will be a 3 hour drive in which we will cross the continental divide from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Once in the ocean we will board a motorboat that will take us to our recently set base camp.

On this day the group will get a taste of sea kayaking in a nearby circuit.

Lodging at camp – breakfast, lunch, dinner

5th - 7th days: Sea Kayaking and Snorkeling

Explore near by islands and reefs

Lodging at camp – breakfast, lunch, dinner

8th day: Departure

Early wake up to pack and make it out by 07:00 am after breakfast.  Back to mainland onboard motorboat and back to Panama City in  4x4 vehicles.  Arrive to Panama City around 12:00 pm

- breakfast

 

Chagres-Guna Yala from Aventuras Panama on Vimeo.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT DOES IT INCLUDE ? All mentioned transportation, rafts or duckies, sea kayaks (tandem or single) and related gear, camping gear, guides, trip's meals. Our guides are trained in river and sea navigation skills, first-aid and CPR.

All mentioned activities are guided and included

Lodging and catering:
2 nights at Hotel Marbella**, Panama City
1 night at Tent Campsite by upper Chagres River, Chagres National Park, Panama, 4 nights at Tent Campsite at San Blas, Panama
7breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners 

Transfers:
All mentioned ground and water transfers within Panama are included.

Not Included:
International flight, airport tax ($ 20.00/person), personal expenses, tips, meals not specified in itinerary, extras in hotels(laundry, room service, phone calls)

WHO CAN GO ? This package is designed for couples, friends, or singles above 18 yrs old that enjoy to team up for paddling in the outdoors.  Lodging has been chosen considereing local style, comfortable and basic non-luxsury accomodation with out  luxury.

However, any person from 12 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 some modifications(Minors must travel with a responsible adult).

Private groups with some customizations can be arranged.

WHAT SHOULD YOU TAKE ALONG ? Daily items: Swimsuit or a pair of shorts 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 a dry set of clothes for after the day trip.  Blanket, flashlight, personal higiene items.

WHAT SHOULD NOT BE BROUGHT ? For a day tours leave objects that can be deteriorated by water or valuables like jewels, cash, credit cards, etc.

PRICE:

US $ 1,630.00 per person in double room
US $ 1,780.00 per person in single room
Group leader will go for free for a group of eight persons and more.

SEASON:

This is one of Panama adventure packages good  year-round.

The rainy season in Panama starts in April-May and ends by November-December.  Due to changing river water levels it can not be defined in advance where we will stay the night at the river banks. At San Blas, usually the north wind settles in from December to March which does not allow us to go as far as Cayos Holandeses.  On these months usually we set up camp on Cayos Limon.

NOTES:
(1) Aventuras Panama reserves the right, at its sole criteria, to exchange program with similar activities or accommodations in case it considers it necessary.
(2) Participants should become familiar and agree with Aventuras Panama Terms and Conditions.