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“High Point Of The Panama Cruise”

Embera Tours Panama
Ranked #17 of 186 Tours in Panama City
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Join with me as an authentic Embera guide I will give to you thrusful, deep information as no one,have the opportunity to learn about my culture, believe, tradition of the real Embera experience.
Reviewed November 11, 2014

I got to Panama on the Holland American ship m/s Zuiderman; I got to the Embera village by motorized dugout. What a contrast, both in terms of life style and mode of transportation.

The Embra are semi-nomadic, indigenous people who even in 2014 are retaining many of their old ways and customs.

The visited village is located on a river in the rain forest in Darien Province in Panama, reachable only by dugout canoe. Even with an outboard motor pushing the canoe, it took us at an hour to reach the village. The canoe leaked a bit and the seats were narrow wooden slats, not very comfortable, but I would make the trip again in a heart beat.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit this or another Embera village, be sure to do so. The day I spent in the village was unlike any other experience I have had.

Rather than write a long description of the village, I encourage you to look at this short video. It gives you a very good idea what the trip and visit are like.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVPA_HSHhpQ

The Embera people have their own language but are required by the government to learn Spanish. If you can speak even a little Spanish the residents will enjoy talking with you. I had a good conversation with the chief and one of the people; they enjoyed it as much as I did.

The only bathroom facilities at the village for visitors is a latrine. A simple meal was served of fruit and fish.

3  Thank Ken D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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in 34 reviews
"plantains"
in 22 reviews
"chagres river"
in 17 reviews
"dug out canoes"
in 4 reviews
"culture and traditions"
in 2 reviews
"beautiful waterfall"
in 5 reviews
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in 2 reviews
"tourists coming"
in 2 reviews
"national park"
in 9 reviews
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in 2 reviews
"water shoes"
in 3 reviews
"an amazing experience"
in 9 reviews
"fresh fish"
in 5 reviews
"very interesting tour"
in 2 reviews
"ask questions"
in 2 reviews
"day tour"
in 6 reviews
"villagers"
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64 - 68 of 245 reviews

Reviewed July 29, 2014

I came across Garceth Cunampio Tocamo of Embera Tours Panama on cruise critic before coming to Panama. He met my friend and I at our center city hotel, and we used our rental car (cheaper) to get to the embarkation point, where we took a 1.5 hour motorized canoe ride to the Village. The Embera Village is very remote, and the journey up was very enjoyable. In the car, Garceth told us his story from childhood to where he is today. In the Village he translated and gave us tips for our enjoyment. We went for a walk with the medicine man, ate fish and fruits, listened to a talk from the chief, bought a few items, and went for a swim in the river-- very clean with a decent current near the village. You just need to stay a little closer to shore. This day really made our Panama trip, as the city is expansive and overwhelming and chaotic. One shouldn't drive in the city, as there are few street signs. Thanks Garceth. You would be wise to contact him a few weeks prior to your visit here.

3  Thank jszyman806
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 30, 2014

Just think of a Safari ride and any thing can happen. (LOL) We traveled via dugout motorized leaking canoe, life jackets thru a tropical rainforest about one hour in to the Chagres National Park and then another 45 minutes to the Embera Puru Village, mesmerizing view. The village greeted us with traditional dancing and music. We learned about customs and their relationship with nature. Handcrafted available for sale. We were fed a traditional meal of fried fish and patacones. We had a chance to be painted with the temporary tattoo, a natural dye the Embera it used to keep mosquitos off the body. We listen to music and watch the women dance traditional shamanic dances and then we danced with the children and the women such fun. Last, an Elder took us on a short walk thru the Jungle to teach us about medicine plants. Modern toilets. This whole day was so much fun, I will never forget it, we learned about the culture, lifestyle and crafts of the Indians, "PRICELESS".

10  Thank Angela H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed May 5, 2014

After riding in a canoe which was leaking (we did have life jackets), we got to a remote village. We were greeted by a few musicians and then sat for lunch. Lunch was provided by the cruise line, but the Indians made us tilipia and plaintain which was delicious. The entertained us with a great dance and their musicians with locally made instruments. It was an amazing day to see people who live without electricity or the whole electronic world that we have become accustomed to.

2  Thank REDCAC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed April 20, 2014

I booked a day tour with Garceth after reading reviews on Trip Advisor and through the Cruise Critic roll call for our cruise, was able to organize a group of 10. Garceth met us at the ship terminal in Colon at the arranged time holding a sign with my name on it. We got into a comfortable van and drove about 45 minutes to a tributary to Lago Alajuelar. Because it was the end of the dry season, we had to walk about 15 to minutes, basically in the river bed, to get to the waiting dugout canoes. There were 2 villagers in each canoe, one up front with a long pole and one in the back to operate the 15hp motor. Six of us were in one canoe and 4 of our group, plus Garceth, in the other. As the river level was so low, the villagers had to get out of the canoes numerous times to walk us over gravel bars (if they had kept the motors running they would have broken the shear pins that hold the prop to the motor shaft). It took about 1-1/2 hours in the canoes up the Rio San Miguel to get to the Embera village.
Pictures that others have posted are accurate. The villagers were friendly, the lunch was great and there are a lot of handicrafts available for purchase. The chief, although uneducated, is very intelligent. There was a presentation with a question and answer period. Garceth interpreted for us as the chief speaks Embera and Spanish, but, not English.
There was another small tour group at the village at the same time. A member of this other group is an anthropologist living in Fiji. I asked him if he thought this was authentic. He felt it was and the fact that they had some interactions with the outside world that generated some revenue was a good thing.
Overall, we spent about 2 hours or so at the village. We were concerned about the amount of time it would take to get back to the ship. As it turned out, the canoe ride was only about 45 minutes long as we were going downstream with the current. Consequently, if you are going on this excursion when the water levels are higher, there would be a significant reduction in the amount of travel time and there might not even be any hiking between the van and the dugout canoe.
It was a phenomenal trip. It was surreal that night at dinner in the main dining room on the Celebrity Equinox. Think about it, juxtaposing the elegance of a luxury cruise line dining room with a longhouse in a primitive village. Life is interesting.

14  Thank MichaelS6763
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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