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Panama Canal Through Chagres River - 7 nights


USD 1,450

/ person
  • 1
  • 8 Days

Marketing Director

Adventures Panama

Adventures Panama pioneers adventure travel in Panama city and the country since 1994

  • Local time:16:01

Panama Canal Through Chagres River - 7 nights

If you're an experienced sea kayaker looking for a trip that will test your skills, reveal rarely seen views, and leave you satisfyingly exhausted, then you will enjoy a thorough exploration of the Chagres River, 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

Arrival to Panama City

We will greet you at Tocumen International Airport and shuttle you to a Panama City Hotel. At the hotel, we will hold a welcome meeting for the group at 7 p.m. in the lobby. Lodging at Hotel

Panama City

Miraflores Locks & Panama City Tour

We will pick you up at your hotel at 9 a.m. for a complete tour of the city. After all that paddling, you will have a relaxing and efficient tour around the more interesting sights, giving you both a historic and modern look at the city. You will learn about the development of the Panama Canal and its economic impact at the Miraflores Locks. Here, you are able to see passing ships and you can enjoy a documentary about the creation of the canal, its economic and strategic impact, and the recent expansion of the Canal. The Panama Canal Museum offers interesting artifacts and a close overview of the French and American approaches to constructing the canal. Once you are a Canal expert, we'll tour the city. In Casco Antiguo, also called San Felipe, you will see a spectacular view of Panama City with visits to historic buildings such as San Jose Church, The National Theater, The Metropolitan Cathedral, The Old Slave Market and the Old Spanish Prisons. You might also be interested in a visit to the Old Panama Ruins, a strategic spot for Spanish trade during colonial times. On the Amador Causeway you will be in awe of the beautiful sight, here 3 islands were connected with the mainland by using materials from the Panama Canal excavations. You get to choose from several gourmet restaurants and enjoy the view of ships leaving the Canal and the exciting city. Lodging at Hotel Read more

Panama City

Chagres Challenge

Get ready for an early start at 5 a.m. You will be picked up and taken in an all-terrain vehicle to the remote village of San Cristobal, which is past the mountains of Cerro Azul, northeast of Panama City. After a wild 4x4 drive through our own made highway, you will hike for about 2-3 hours on a trail within Chagres National Park, up to Rio Piedras, a Chagres River tributary or all the way to Chagres River. Here you will get into rafts and float downstream (Class II-III rapids) into the untouched jungles of the upper basin of the Chagres River. We will have lunch by the river and continue rafting further downstream passing an impressive granite canyon with some white water rapid action, and ending just before encountering Madden Lake, also known as Lake Alajuela. Along the route, you will be picked up by a “piragua” (native wooden canoe equipped with outboard motor) that will take you to the Embera Indian Village around 4-6 p.m. These Embera Natives migrated to Chagres National Park more than 20 years ago, here they found habitat similar to the one they were familiar with in the Darien jungles, near Colombia. They are extremely friendly and will invite you into their village as honored guests. You will most likely set up camp under one of their banana roofed huts and be served their staple dinner of fried plantains and locally caught fish. Lodging at Embera Village – breakfast, lunch, dinner included Read more

Embera Village 1st night

Embera Indigenous Village

After thanking the Embera Natives for their kind hospitality, we will switch our rafts for expedition kayaks and begin paddling across Alhajuela Lake, for 3-4 hours. You will paddle through the remains of a 'drowned forest,' where only the very tips of the tallest trees, that once thrived here, now barely break the surface of the water in this man-made lake. You will navigate through the water channels as you make your way to the public boat ramp of Nuevo Vigía, on the western coast of Alhajuela Lake. Here, the driver will meet you, and shuttle you across Madden Dam to a section of the Chagres that connects Alhajuela Lake to Gatun Lake. This leg of the trip will take around 3 hours, you'll be able to spot wildlife on either side of the river, it's even possible to see small alligators. At the end of the day, around 4pm, you'll stop at another Embera village for the night, just short of Lake Gatun and the town of Gamboa. If they have ample space and resources, then you will once again indulge in their hospitality, setting up camp in a hut and eating locally sourced fish. Lodging at Embera Village – breakfast, lunch, dinner included Read more

Embera Village 2nd night

Barro Colorado

In the morning, Embera Natives will once again shuttle you in piraguas, this time you will travel across to the west side of the Panama Canal. From here, your exploration of the canalthrough the original locks). With the expanded Canal, you might also see larger Neopanamax that are crossing through the newly inaugurated Third Set of Locks. You will be paddling in a narrow channel reserved for smaller vessels just outside of the Panama Canal shipping lane, practically in the shadows of massive Panamax vessels (a name reserved for the largest possible ships that can traverse the canal). Birds such as the king fisher and fishing eagles are common here. Ideally, you'll find a spot for lunch where you can watch turtles and Jesus Lizards (lizards with the ability to walk on water). Eventually, you'll make your way around Barro Colorado, a famed Smithsonian natural research island. For this you have to rely on navigational techniques, to make your way through the tropical islands that guard the western passage around Barro Colorado. At the end of the day, around 4 p.m. you'll set up a wilderness camp on a smaller island adjacent Barro Colorado. Lodging at Tent Camp – breakfast, lunch, dinner included Read more

Tent Camp at Barro Colorado

Gatun Lake

After practicing 'leave no trace behind' techniques while taking down camp, you will truly put your paddling skills to the test as you tackle what remains of Gatun Lake, starting around 9 a.m. Islands become less frequent in this section of the lake, and you will feel as if you are paddling through open waters, guided by a small lighthouse in the distance. This section also offers unique views of large shipping vessels in the canal. You can track their steady progress from a distance, one after another as you yourself, travel alongside them. Hopefully, you will find a nice shady lunch spot on one of the few islands in the middle of the lake, around noon. On the far side of Gatun Lake you will see ships lined up, waiting for their turn to enter the locks and continue their passage through to the Atlantic Ocean. Large families of howler monkeys are known to roam the jungle forests in this area and will no doubt applaud your completion of Gatun Lake with their signature howl. Here you will set up another wilderness camp just short of the Gatun Locks around 4pm Lodging at Tent Camp – breakfast, lunch, dinner included Read more

Tent Camp at Gatun Lake

Fort San Lorenzo

Today you will meet up with your driver who will take you to the north side of Gatun Dam and you'll start kayaking around 8:30 a.m. You will be put in directly downstream of Gatun Dam just in time to watch the jungle awaken, likely encountering some morning mist. This is the final stretch of the Chagres River which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. After 3-4 hours of paddling through dense tropical forest, you will reach the Caribbean, with a view of the old Spaniard conquistadors' Fort San Lorenzo. You will be transported back in time as you explore the remains of the once crucially important fortress, that starting in the XVI century, prevented Caribbean pirates from using the Chagres to launch surprise attacks on Panama City in the Pacific. After visiting Fort San Lorenzo and having lunch, we will head back toward Panama City and reach the hotel around 4 p.m. To get in and out of this area, by road, we will go across the Panama Canal by way of the ferry boat in our vehicle. Lodging at Hotel – breakfast, lunch included Read more

Panama City


On the 8th day we will send you off with a shuttle back to the airport.



Day in trip
Day 1
Location Calle D, El Cangrejo, Panama City
Day 3
Location Chagres National Park
Day 5
Location Gatun Lake
Hotel Tent Camp
Day 7
Location Calle D, El Cangrejo, Panama City


Package includes

  • All mentioned transportation, rafts or duckies, sea kayak(tandem or single) and related gear, camping gear, guides, trip's meals. Our guides are trained in river and sea navigation skills, first-aid and CPR.
  • All mentioned activities are guided and included
  • 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
  • Transfers:
  • All mentioned ground and ocean transfers within Panama are included.

Package excludes

  • International flight, Airport tax ($ 20.00/person), personal expenses, tips, meals not specified in itinerary, extras in hotels(laundry, room service, phone calls)


1 Reviews

Juan Corrego, Colombia

Fue una aventura mejor de lo esperado. Es muy organizado el itinerario, el transporte, la logística y sobre todo el cuidado por la seguridad. Muy recomendado para vivir un día de aventura en manos de unos grandes profesionales.

The Expert Team in Panama!

Adventures Panama
1 Reviews



Life is either a great adventure or nothing at all- Helen Keller

Adventures Panama pioneers adventure travel in Panama city and the country since 1994

If you have any questions or you want to customize your trip we are here for you at any time.

  • Languages:English, Spanish
  • Local time:16:01


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