Tours and Tickets

Panama Canal through the Chagres River provided by Adventures Panama

Panama Canal through the Chagres River

Panama Canal through the Chagres River
5
Book in advance
from
$2,936.99
per adult (price varies by group size)
Free Cancellation up to 7 days in advance
Tour snapshot
Duration:
8 days
Group size:
12
Ticket type:
Mobile
  • Duration:
    8 days
  • Group size:
    12
  • Ticket type:
    Mobile
About
HIGHLIGHTS • 7 nights all included package • Embera Villages • 4x4, hiking, • Pristine Chagres National Park • rafting, kayaking • Panama Canal • Forth San Lorenzo • Camping • Gateway: Panama City If you're an experienced sea kayaker looking for a trip that will test your skills and leave you satisfyingly exhausted, then you will enjoy a thorough exploration of the Chagres River in a small group of people, from beginning to end. A dam at the river's northern terminus, just before it meets the Atlantic Ocean, forms Gatun Lake, which makes up the main body of the Panama Canal. You'll hear the roar of howler monkeys from the vast jungle on your left and spot giant ships from a safe distance on your right as you paddle the length of Gatun Lake, sleeping as a guest in the huts of indigenous Embera tribes and wilderness camps along the way.
Know before you go
  • Duration: 8 days
  • Mobile tickets accepted
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.
Available languages
English, Spanish
Know before you go
  • Duration: 8 days
  • Mobile tickets accepted
Available languages
English, Spanish
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.
Need help booking?
Call the number below and use the product code: 34942P8
Call +1 855 275 5071
Important information
Inclusions
  • Lunch
  • All mentioned transportation
  • Dinner
  • Dinner
  • Breakfast
  • Breakfast
  • Breakfast
  • Breakfast
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Lunch
  • Lunch
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • 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 - Panama City
  • Entry/Admission - Casco Viejo
  • Entry/Admission - Amador Causeway (Calzada de Amador)
  • Entry/Admission - Panamá Viejo
  • Entry/Admission - Chagres National Park
  • Entry/Admission - Panama City
  • Entry/Admission - Gatun Lake
  • Entry/Admission - Gatun Lake
  • Entry/Admission - Fort San Lorenzo
  • Entry/Admission - Agua Clara Locks
  • Entry/Admission - Panama City
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 - Cerro Azul
Duration
8 days
Departure details
  • Traveller pickup is offered.
  • If at the airport we will be displaying a greeter with your name at your exit from customs
  • Airports:
  • Tocumen Intl Airport, Panama City Panama
Additional information
  • 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 travellers with back problems
  • Not recommended for pregnant travellers
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Travellers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 12 travellers
Inclusions
  • Lunch
  • All mentioned transportation
  • Dinner
  • Dinner
  • Breakfast
  • Breakfast
  • Breakfast
  • Breakfast
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Lunch
  • Lunch
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • 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 - Panama City
  • Entry/Admission - Casco Viejo
  • Entry/Admission - Amador Causeway (Calzada de Amador)
  • Entry/Admission - Panamá Viejo
  • Entry/Admission - Chagres National Park
  • Entry/Admission - Panama City
  • Entry/Admission - Gatun Lake
  • Entry/Admission - Gatun Lake
  • Entry/Admission - Fort San Lorenzo
  • Entry/Admission - Agua Clara Locks
  • Entry/Admission - Panama City
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 - Cerro Azul
Departure details
  • Traveller pickup is offered.
  • If at the airport we will be displaying a greeter with your name at your exit from customs
  • Airports:
  • Tocumen Intl Airport, Panama City Panama
Duration
8 days
Return details
  • Returns to original departure point
Additional information
  • 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 travellers with back problems
  • Not recommended for pregnant travellers
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Travellers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 12 travellers
Itinerary
Overview
Full Map
15 stops
Day 1
Arrival to Panama City
Day 2
Panama Canal Miraflores Locks &...
Day 3
The Chagres Challenge
Day 4
Embera Indian Village by the...
Day 5
Paddle Gatun Lake along Barro...
Day 6
Paddle Gatun Lake North
Day 7
Fort San Lorenzo
Day 8
Departure
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5.0
2 reviews
Excellent
2
Very good
0
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
0

Bob M
16 contributions
Jan 2018 • Friends
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 and telephone conversation with Javier, the owner of Aventuras Panama, who said that this was his favorite trip because it crosses almost the entire isthmus and the Chagres River was the key to a deep understanding of the entire Canal project.

I’ll speak for myself here, but we were both DELIGHTED with this tour. I have been recommending this trip to all my friends whole-heartedly. One friend became so fired up about MY trip that he called the local newspaper and asked them to come interview me, as he thought the whole town should know about Panama!

Coming from New England in January, what I wanted was some warm weather, unspoiled nature, good water for paddling, a fun adventure, a somewhat comfortable back country camping experience, decent equipment, and someone to make ALL the arrangements. And if I could wish for something I did not want, it would be mosquitos.

I've been back a week now and I’m still smiling because I got all that and more. Panama is a hidden gem!

We started our raft trip in an area so remote it took a couple of hours of extreme 4WD driving with an expert driver followed by a two hour hike to get to the water. After the 4WD vehicles could go no further, and despite being so remote, Aventuras Panama had local indigenous people waiting with horses at the trailhead to carry our boats and gear so we could hike without carrying gear. I was impressed – people waiting for us with horses deep in the jungle. How did they manage that?

The rafting was through an area so unspoiled you could feel you were back in the 16th century. The jungle on both sides of the river was so abundant with life, color, and noises. For hours, we did not see a structure, wire, road, or sign of any person. Great moving water (Class II-III) almost continuously for 4 hours with expert guides, one to a boat. Our group had two boats. We stopped several times for snacks and photos. Javier was right: by starting in the mountains, one really came to understand a lot about the Canal project by experiencing the river - it’s essential water, it’s variability, and its power. It was a dimension to understanding the Canal project that most people never get, which was both fun and fascinating.

At the end of the whitewater at a bend in the river, some Embera indigenous people were waiting for us with a 30’ long canoe that they had made by hand from a tree. We loaded our gear into their boat and they took us several miles downriver to their village, where my son and I disembarked to spend the night to begin the next, kayaking leg of the trip. I note again that Aventuras Panama worked magic to keep things on schedule, even in the jungle.

We stayed that night and the next night in two different Indian villages, and the next two nights bushwhacking in tents. Our guide, Orlando, was fabulous - thoroughly knowledgeable and delightful to be with for four days (this is important with a group of only three people!). Orlando is a professional cook, so boy did we EAT! Never did I expect to be enjoying flank steak with grilled onions and fried yucca and fresh vegetables, wine and beer, cheese and stuffed olive appetizers, and fresh pineapple for dessert in the jungle. Orlando laid out a menu each night that was varied, fresh, and delicious, a rich reward to top off each glorious day of paddling. Breakfasts were also hot and hearty – often sausage, pancakes, rice pilaf, and of course fresh fruit. We prepared lunches to pack in the kayaks.

Some of our camp sites were accessible by truck, so all our gear was delivered when we arrived ashore and then picked up the next morning; other sites were accessible only by boat, so we had a chase boat for a day (I think this was also required to pass that part of the Canal). We carried only the personal items we needed for the day in the kayaks. This was a very nice arrangement because the boats remained light. The drivers were steadfastly punctual and very helpful getting our camp set up and broken down. Our chase boat driver had relatives in a village near where we camped one night, so it was fun dropping by to say hello to the family. Some family members came by to help us set up camp and we got to know them a little bit with our limited Spanish. This connection with the people and the land was just what we were looking for.

Kayaking across Panama is mostly a trip across the huge Gatun lake, and one might wonder how this works with the large ships passing through. We stayed several miles away from these big boys; Gatun houses many islands and Orlando guided us between one island to the next so that we felt like we were on a river without any consciousness of the large boat traffic a few miles away. At all times, safety was the top consideration and we respected how much effort Aventuras Panama put into tracking the weather, tracking us through GPS, planning our course, making sure we had the chase boat in the proper places, and making sure all our equipment was in good order. Orlando carried a GPS that allowed the home office to know our exact position at all times. If there was ever an emergency, this device allowed him to beckon help at once. We knew we were in professional hands so we could relax and enjoy the scenery.

Most days we paddled 5-6 hours, arriving at our camp for the day around 3pm so we had time to get cleaned up and of course dig into the appetizers that Orlando was preparing almost as soon as the coolers were unpacked. We had some light headwinds a few hours a day, but nothing major. For the most part the water was dead flat. Since we were so far from the ship traffic, wakes were not something to worry about. Our drivers were waiting for us when we had to portage around two dams because in each case we had to go a a few miles downstream to the put-in spot. Everything was like clockwork, but we in the boats had no consciousness of clocks, time, or schedules – the tour company took care of everything.

Panama is truly a hidden gem in plain view: we did not see another boater, fisherman, or tourist the entire five days we were on the river. We did see some indigenous people in a couple of places, but there was a two day period where we saw nobody – and this in one of the busiest waterways in the world! The route we took was lined with jungle, so our companions were birds, monkeys, an occasional flying fish, and other animals that we could see rustling near the waterline, but could not see the animal itself. It was great to have flat water and only the sounds of nature; for hours each day we quietly paddled our kayaks, scanning the jungle for animal sightings. It was one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever done.

Some in the tourist industry we met lamented that ‘tourists don’t come to Panama’, but for the reader of this review, this is the opportunity – Panama is a relatively short plane flight from the US and until it catches on, it is a paradise of nature without people. We learned much from our guide about the local peoples, how the terrain changed when the lake was created, and how the country is doing today. Panama is a financial capital, but just a few miles outside of Panama City, it is a wilderness known and enjoyed by very few from outside the region.

The last day was out of a movie. The three of us were padding through flat, clear water on the Chagres river, downstream from the dam, noticing that the river was getting incrementally darker. This meant it was getting more brackish; the end was drawing near. We inhaled the last few hours of the jungle on both sides, stopped to watch howler monkeys in their trees, tried to pick out the various trees Orlando had taught us to identify, and even pulled ashore to see if we could walk 100 yards into the jungle to get a feeling of what Henry Morgan’s pirates went through when they hacked through the jungle on their way to sacking Panama City in 1671. Despite our efforts and several attempted routes, we couldn’t do it. It was just too thick.

Then we turned a bend in the river and there it was – our green river spilled out into the blue Caribbean Sea with gentle whitecaps rolling in. We paddled into the waves, turned around, and surfed onto a white sandy beach framed by coconut palms. We could see the arc of the beach for miles and there wasn’t a single person on any of it – except for our faithful support truck driver, waiting to offer us two cold Panama beers. It was as idyllic as could be.

To conclude, I got everything I wanted. The weather was in the mid-80’s by day and low 70’s by night, and we were lucky to only get a few sprinkles of rain late at night. Aventuras Panama had their eyes glued to the weather so we didn’t have to worry about it – should a storm have come through, they had the support to get us out of the water easily. The nature was as unspoiled as it could get; I tend to pick up floating trash when I kayak, and in five days I picked up exactly two items. The backcountry camping was great with all the gear delivered and meals that were out of this world. My only complaint to Orlando the entire trip was that the PFD’s (lifejackets) were shrinking – every day I had to let mine out a little bit!

The icing on the cake is that even in the areas where we were bushwacking, there were very few mosquitos. Your experience may be different, but all I did was put on long pants and do a light spray with OFF at dusk, and I think I picked up fewer than 30 bites over five days. You could get that many in ten minutes in my New England backyard in the summertime. I think this was because it was cooler at night and there was a constant breeze over the water. Or maybe we just got lucky…

On a scale of one to five, where five is that all my expectations were perfectly satisfied, I’d give this trip a five. If there were a special category, though, for where most of what I got was beyond my expectations, I would not hesitate to give this trip that special category. The planning, logistic support, equipment, guides, friendliness, support, and packaging that Aventuras Panama provided was just fantastic. This was a trip of a lifetime and I’ll definitely be back to Panama, hopefully before everyone else discovers it.
Written 27 January 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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,
Written 20 February 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tim M
1 contribution
Jan 2018 • Friends
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 have been a better itinerary planned for the next seven days. We hiked, we rafted, we kayaked, we ATE, we explored, we camped, we met indians and locals, we fished—we did it all!

I'll admit that the price struck me as a bit steep at first, but by the second day of the trip any of my reservations were completely dispelled. The amount of people involved to make this possible was truly extraordinary: there was Jorge, who coordinated airport dropoffs, pickups, and city tours. There was Benito, the fearless AWD driver who drove our motley crew overs steep, rutty hills heaped with red mud on treacherous jungle roads. There were two horses and a contingent of locals who schlepped our rafting equipment through the forest to the mouth of the Rio des Piedras. Fabian and Javier, our seasoned rafting guides; the Emberra tribe, who picked us up in their motorized canoes and hosted us in their village; Orlando, who was our kayaking captain through Gatun Lake; Jose, our motorboat escort, and a handful of other people who met us along the way to help us portage around dams, locks, and isthmuses. By the end of the trip, I was amazed by how many people we had met and how much we had done.

To the avid adventurer: I can't recommend this trip enough!
Written 27 January 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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 (-:
Written 20 February 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
About the operator

This experience only has a few reviews, but you can read what other travellers have to say about the operator.

By: Adventures Panama
ARBenedetti
ARBenedetti
00
Seriously Stoked
Awesome! Due to the river’s history and wild and scenic beauty, rafting the Chagres has been on my bucket list for
friscomendez
friscomendez
00
Chagres Chllenge Accepted!
The Chagres Challenge was an exciting experience where we were able to hike up through the panamanian Rainforest an
saintp2020
saintp2020
00
Most rewarding and enjoyable
The Tour Coordinator Javier made a custom tour for my group which included the canal on the Atlantic side, the cit
X8972WFpaulw
X8972WFpaulw
00
Manomi River Raft Adventure. Fantastic trip
Fantastic day with Adventuras Panama. This was not your normal lazy river rafting trip. Class 3 and 4 rapids as wel
Cari G
Cari G
00
Incredible - highly recommended
Going through the Bayano Caves was an amazing experience. Our guide was delightful, he arrived on time, was very kn
travelsacrossglobe
travelsacrossglobe
00
Fantastic - put this on your bucket list!
book this tour as it will be the best tour you will do in Panama. my wife and i went on this in February 2020 and i
SydneyChenRN
SydneyChenRN
00
a Pan-Panama tour!
A friend and travel companion worked with Javier to create a tour that pieced together many of the options that Adv
bergerth0mas
bergerth0mas
00
Amazing day in the deep chagre national park
We enjoyed this unique river rafting down to lago alajuela Javier has been a very profesional guide and so interés
Eric F
Eric F
00
The Best Experience You Can Have in the Dark (ok, maybe 2nd best)
I have to admit that selling my wife on exploring bat-filled water caves wasn’t the easiest thing to do. But the ex
David M
David M
00
Chagras Challenge Heli Rafting
We opted to take the helicopter ride to the put in place for the rafting, which was a great way to start off the da
Glenn R
Glenn R
00
A Great Day with Juan Antonio
Juan Antonio picked us up at our hotel in Panama City on time. He was friendly and engaging during the 2 hour drive
Raza S
Raza S
00
Panama canal with miraflores locks, monkey island, toboga island
We used adventures panama to set up our tours and everyone in my party had the most amazing time. Thank you for org
raznoe
raznoe
00
Rio Grander water rafting works for newbies
We did water rafting in Rio Grande. It is a great experience for a newbie, if you are experienced than it will not
Jimmy G
Jimmy G
00
Great Experience
The whole day was fantastic. Be prepared to be exhausted at the end but it was definitely worth the time and money.
Bobhawk7
Bobhawk7
00
El Chorro Falls
I took the zip lining excursion from Rio Hato. This was an awesome tour. I recommend it highly. The market was nice
Frequently Asked Questions about Panama Canal through the Chagres River

Panama Canal through the Chagres River will start at 7:00 PM. Discover and book Panama Canal through the Chagres River on Tripadvisor


Panama Canal through the Chagres River price starts from $2,800.30. Discover and book Panama Canal through the Chagres River on Tripadvisor

Panama Canal through the Chagres River 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. Discover and book Panama Canal through the Chagres River on Tripadvisor