Chagres River Kayaking tour
Traveling to and in the Chagres River is an adventure not to be missed. We booked our tour through Aventuras Panamá online. Email correspondences were responsive and clear. Our guide, Edgar, picked us up at our hotel, on-time and full of enthusiasm. While driving en-route to our put-down location, Edgar pointed places of interest, and even gave us a chance to cross the canal on foot, as we were waiting in line, in the van, as a ship was just at that moment passing though the Gatun Locks.
Once at the put-down location, Edgar set up the kayaks, gave us a brief tutorial on how to use the paddle and in the blink of an eye, we were in the water, under the watchful eye of Edgar. Edgar described some of the flora and fauna we would see as well as some of the animals we most likely would hear in the forest. The lake is beautiful, other than the occasional howler monkey howling, the only noise heard was our paddles. After our journey, we had a fantastic lunch at Fort San Lorenzo. There was a variety of sandwich choices, drinks, fruits and snacks. Having the privilege of taking this trip was so much more than we could have possibly expected. Moreover, Edgar is a gentile, knowledgeable interesting guide, with a true sense of national pride as well as being committed to the environment. This was a once in a life time experience.
Visited March 2014
In the two years I have lived in Panama, this has by far been one of my favorite trips. Kayaking up the Rio Chagres to Fort San Lorenzo is the best way to enjoy the beauty of the forest, see wildlife and get some great exercise. Our tour guide, Edgar, was excellent, and he prepared a delicious lunch for us by the Fort at the end of our adventure. We saw monkeys, toucans, and tons of other birds. I would highly recommend this trip!
Visited February 2014
Panama City, Panama
We were the only two on the Chagres River Kayaking Daytrip with Edgar, our guide, so it turned out to be a private tour. Edgar was a great guide, very enthusiastic and you can tell that he loves his job. We enjoyed the peaceful kayaking down the Chagres river very much, and saw (and heard) a family of Howler Monkeys immediately after we set into the water - amazing. We also saw several cranes, a lizard, birds of prey and a kingfisher after that. Edgar had regaled us with stories about toucans, snakes, alligators, sloths, and even sharks, so we had high expectations - alas, we didn't see any of these.
After a few hours of paddling, and a detour into an inlet that made us feel like we were one with the rainforest, we reached the mouth of the river and the San Lorenzo Fort, where we had lunch. The Fort is picturesque and you can finish exploring it in about 20-30 minutes. There was no one there aside from us in the first few minutes, so we felt like we had it all to ourselves.
Lunch was sandwiches, fruit, and snacks, and was good. We were amused by all the insects that came to feed on our lunch as well. Do have the pineapple, it is delicious!
Note that breakfast is not provided in this tour, so you'll probably want to eat before you get in the car. There is a store along the way where we requested a stop, since we hadn't had anything to eat in the morning, but it doesn't have coffee (sadly).
Another thing to note is that when I asked Edgar what his favorite kayaking trip was, he said it was the Portobello trip, which includes visiting other Spanish forts and snorkeling near a beach. While we still would have picked the Chagres river trip since we wanted to see San Lorenzo and the Gatun Locks, this information may be helpful if you are trying to decide between trips!
Overall, a very good trip and a great way to spend the day.
Visited March 2014
New York City, New York