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Ways to Experience Embera Tours Panama
from US$195.00
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Reviewed February 26, 2014

From the cruise ship, to a 30 min bus ride then a 30 - 40 min ride up river in a dugout or canoe (yes they do have a motor - you dont paddle!) it seems as though you travel back in time. The people are a bit shy but treat yo so nice! Take cash so you can purchase some of there items that they make (its what they live on). They made us a really nice lunch - fresh fried Talapia served in a folded palm leaf along with lost of fresh fruit. You are able to walk around the village, they lead the tour in some traditional dance and they will pose for pics. If you can remember take some candy for the small children - they love the attention. One cute little fellow managed to get my tour sticker from my shirt! They also do traditional body ink (drawn on - no needles) and they will do one for you - please though - kindly offer them a dollar or two if they do for you! Wonderful experience!

Date of experience: January 2014
4  Thank Barbara O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 24, 2014

Due to the government controlling the natives and the way of life they are now forced to be a tourist attraction and sell their art work in order to survive there.........many do not live in the village and they are picked up and taken to school via bus...so sad really that they cannot live like they display they do......we saw cell phones and a found out that now the diet is more from the city( processed foods) and therefore they are getting more diseases like us...diabetes..cancers......having said all that they were lovely happy people that were full of kindness and fun.....we danced with them.....ate with them...lots of fun...but fake......sadly......

Date of experience: February 2014
10  Thank Louiseoo7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 11, 2014

We went on a tour of an Embera village today with 2 adults and 2 kids age 14. Wonderful experience!

Garceth was ready for us at the hotel promptly at 8:00. As others have mentioned, you can save quite a bit of money by driving yourself (with him in the car) rather than hiring transportation. Also as others have mentioned, Garceth's life story as an Embera native is truly amazing.

The trip consisted of 1) ride in car for about 1 hour from Panama City, 2) brief stop at a market for snacks, 3) ride in motorized Embera tribe canoe upriver to the village (the village chief was the driver of our canoe), 4) several hours in the village, and 5) reverse course back to the hotel. We got back to Panama City around 4:00 p.m.

The village contained around 150 people, and the people were quite friendly. We learned a lot about their village and customs, and we saw (and participated) in a native dance. The villagers speak their native language as well as Spanish. However, they know only a couple words of English so Garceth did a lot of translating. Lunch of fresh-fried fish and patacones (smashed plantain) was delicious. As mentioned by many other people, the native crafts were extensive, high quality, and inexpensive, so we loaded up on souvenirs for family and friends.

We saw a variety of wildlife on the canoe ride, including lots of birds, some fish, and a two-toed sloth.

We highly recommend this trip with Garceth. It appears that a lot of groups out there offer Embera village tours, but I haven't seen any others that utilize an Embera native as a guide, which is a significant plus in getting a true feel for their culture.

P.S. We brought a bag of lollipops to give to the kids, and they were VERY popular.

Date of experience: February 2014
4  Thank 984ryans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 10, 2014

Garceth picked us up promptly at 8:00am from our hotel. He is rather short guy, and will be easily recognizable by his facial Embera tattoos. Extremely nice and knowledgeable, if he chooses to share, his story and struggles will amaze you as well. I traveled with my husband and 8 year old son. The drive in a well air-conditioned van lasted about 1.5 hours. We stopped at a convenience store to buy some drinks and ice cream, continued on a motorized canoe for an additional hour or so. The canoe ride was an experience on its own, very scenic with bird sightings, it also gave us an opportunity to see local fisherman in their tiny boats at work.
Once we arrived at the village, we were welcomed by men of the tribe playing traditional music.
It was an eye-opening experience seeing these people’s way of life. If you are traveling with children and are worried that they might find it inappropriate that women, men and kids wear only a cloth around their waist – don’t be. My son played with the children and enjoyed the visit tremendously. One of the women painted a traditional Embera tattoo on his arm, and he thought it was the coolest thing ever. It also allowed him to realize that there are places where kid’s days don’t revolve around PlayStation and TV. I highly recommend this tour and would definitely do it again when in Panama.

Date of experience: December 2013
1  Thank jolajarek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 4, 2014

Our overnight stay in the Embera village of Puru was nothing less than transcendent!! We chose a tour with Garceth Cunampio, who is Embera himself and can answer any question about tribe customs. The show and meal that villagers put on for tourists was fun, but staying overnight, rustic as it was (it did include mosquito nets, thin mattress and bedding), gave me, my husband and two teen boys the chance to interact more with the residents and observe how they went about all kinds of actions in their brightly colored loincloths or sarongs. We were gracefully welcomed and the village setting is breath-taking, especially in the morning mist.

Date of experience: December 2013
4  Thank Cathy K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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