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Embera Village Day Tour
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Reviewed April 11, 2014

Came here on a small cruise ship so got the whole experience of arriving via boat and then the walk to the village. It is very apparent that the community now survives on tourist trade. The area is not very well maintained - trash all over and it appears the crops are not maintained. The women dress the part and they sell you their woven baskets - which are lovely. Long ride in boat for a very short stay - plus not alot to see at village. Once the basket sale is over - time to go. Found the same baskets, in old Panama City at an artesana shop - same designs, quality and prices. This attraction will be a thing of the past if they do not do something to keep it original.

Date of experience: March 2014
1  Thank twoscratchy
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed April 6, 2014

We had come across this tribe the last time we were in Panama as several of them were selling handmade items.
We were on a cruise stopping in Colon for one day, and someone put this tour together with Garceth, one of the Embera tribe men. This is a tour they put on frequently. There are 127 residents now living in this location. You take about an hour bus ride, then a motorized canoe for another hour +/-. The water level was very low, so the tribesmen had to jump out and push/pull the canoe several times.

Once there, the people are very friendly. apparently about the only things they have from the "outside" are the motor on the canes and some of the cloth.

They tell us of their history, life style, how they make their baskets, fishing, etc. and about their "tatooes".
A nice little lunch is provided: fried plantanes and tilapia in a banana leaf.
They do a traditional dance, and then have a group picture taken.
It is really one of the more interesting tours we have been on.

Date of experience: March 2014
4  Thank Rich L
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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