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Gatun Lake

Gatun Lake: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Panama City: Panama Canal and Monkey Island Tour

1. From Panama City: Panama Canal and Monkey Island Tour

Spend half a day exploring the Panama Canal while learning about its history and creation. See the famed Miraflores Locks in action and take a scenic boat ride on the Chagres River. Get picked up at your hotel or other location in Panama City, and journey to the Panama Canal Visitors Center for a detailed explanation about how the canal and famous Miraflores Locks work. Visit the museum to learn more about this important water passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Drive by Miraflores Lake and the Pedro Miguel Locks as you make your way to the Chagres River. Climb aboard for a scenic boat trip across artificial Gatun Lake. Marvel at the surrounding landscape of the biggest and most important lake in the Panama Canal. Watch as large ships pass through the canal to get a sense of the magnitude of this masterpiece of engineering. Arrive at a group of islands to see different species of animals and monkeys. Return to Panama City and get dropped off at your hotel.

From Panama City: Gamboa Rainforest Guided Tour with Lunch

2. From Panama City: Gamboa Rainforest Guided Tour with Lunch

Explore the Panamanian rain forest while gliding smoothly through treetops on an aerial tram. Learn the jungle's most interesting facts from a naturalist guide. Watch colorful birds flying around you.  Take a boat ride through the Panama Canal, observing marine life. End your tour with a delicious lunch. Board a tram bound for a 280-feet peak surrounded by leafy jungle. While going up to the observation tower, enjoy fabulous views of the Chagres River, the Embera indigenous community, and much of the Soberania National Park. Gamboa is home to many natural labs including a butterfly farm, an orchids center, and a frog pond. See around 20 species of butterflies native to Panama at the Butterfly House. Get up close to the sloths at the Sloth Sanctuary. This sanctuary hosts a rehabilitation and training program for injured, sick, and orphaned sloths. Enjoy a scenic boat tour along the Panama Canal's waterways. Observe the fascinating tropical wildlife of Gatun Lake and the surrounding forest. Get a chance to spot crocodiles, caimans, sloths, monkeys, and a host of birds with the help of your guide.

From Panama City: Monkey Islands Tour on Gatun Lake

3. From Panama City: Monkey Islands Tour on Gatun Lake

Travel to the Gamboa Marina in an air-conditioned tour vehicle with a guide and the rest of the tour group, before a transfer to a riverboat for a ride on the Chagres River, one of Panama's largest rivers, and head for Monkey Island. Observe the different species of monkeys that live on the island, from white-face monkeys, howler monkeys, and Geoffrey´s tamarinds, while taking some time to snap photos, and learn interesting facts and information about the different species from a knowledgeable guide. Return to the marina and to Panama City, and end the tour with drop-off at the hotel.

Monkey Island and Indian Village Tour

4. Monkey Island and Indian Village Tour

Leave the city behind in the morning and head to the Chagres River where you will board a boat for a 2-hour tour of Lake Gatun (once the largest manmade lake in the world) and the Panama Canal. Explore the ins and outs of the nearby bays, search for wildlife, and visit the famous Monkey Island, home of the amazing white-faced monkeys. Also, keep an eye out for turtles, crocodiles, caiman, tons of bird life, and all kinds of other surprises. Return towards Gamboa, pass the dock, and head upstream to the Indian village. Unlike most Indian village tours, this one is authentic. Learn about the local culture, history, and crafts. Then, hike along a short trail to see the plants that grow in this area and how the locals use them (practical, artist, or medical uses) and see dance that is part of their custom. After visiting the village, return to Panama City and stop along the way for lunch and arrive at your hotel in the late afternoon.

From Panama City: Gatun Lake and Monkey Island Tour

5. From Panama City: Gatun Lake and Monkey Island Tour

Following a convenient pickup from your hotel in Panama City, head to the town of Gamboa in the Soberania National Park. Get on board a boat and depart along the Gatun Lake next to the huge ships that cross the Panama Canal. Marvel at the fauna and vegetation of the tropical forest, as well as the residents of Monkey Island where you can admire the white-faced capuchin, Geoffroy’s tamarin, and howler monkeys in their natural habitat. In Gatun Lake you’ll also can find many species of birds like toucans, hawks, herons, snail kites, and other mamals like agoutis, coatis, and capybaras. After the boat trip and Monkey Island experience, return back to your hotel with a drop-off.

From Panama City: Rainforest Zipline Adventure

6. From Panama City: Rainforest Zipline Adventure

Get your adrenaline pumping with a thrilling zipline adventure through the Panamanian rainforest. After getting picked up from your hotel in Panama City, head to Gatun Lake for your ziplining adventure. Discover different ziplines across a 2-kilometer route that offers spectacular views of the rainforest and maximum safety and security.

Private Tour to Monkey Island and Embera Village

7. Private Tour to Monkey Island and Embera Village

After being picked up at your hotel or address in Panama City, set off for the Chagres National Park and travel along the Chagres River by canoe to an Embera indigenous village where you will be welcomed by the community and learn about their culture during a conversation with one of the leaders of this community. Watch a live performance of traditional music and dances, followed by the opportunity to walk around the village and shop the handcrafts they make. Then go by car 45 minutes down in the Chagres river to the middle of the Panama Canal. There, at the shore of the Chagres River, take a tour by boat to the Gatun Lake, the biggest and most important lake in the Panama Canal, where you will share space with large ships during their transit through the Canal. Later, you will arrive at a group of islands to find 3 species of monkeys and wildlife living there. After this unique experience, enjoy the view of the tropical rainforest and the canal on your way back to your accommodations.

Panama: Panama Canal Tour through Two Locks with Lunch

8. Panama: Panama Canal Tour through Two Locks with Lunch

Experience the wonder of the magnificent man-made maritime passageway of the Panama Canal with this attraction ticket. Enjoy watching the ship as it is lowered at two separate locks. Have a delicious lunch and some refreshing soft drinks.  Disembark from Isla Flamenco in Panama city and take in sweeping views of the city as make your way to the canal at the north end of the Gaillard Cut, where the Chagres river flows into the canal. Admire the serpentine curvature of the Gaillard Cut which was carved through the continental divide. Uncover the history and geological value of this region as your boat travels along a 13.7 kilometer route to the Pedro Miguel locks. Pass through verdant landscapes of rolling hills and forests as you drift along. Appreciate the continuous work that is required to maintain this passage. Observe the Panama Canal expansion project, an engineering feat that is set to double the capacity of the canal. View the Bridge of the Americas which crosses over the canal. Enter the Pedro Miguel locks where the ship is lowered 9 meters and released into Miraflores lake. Venture across Miraflores lake to the Miraflores locks where the ship is lowered 16 meters in two distinct steps. Continue sailing to the small town of Gamboa. Disembark in Gamboa and board a bus back to Isla Flamenco.

Panama Canal Watershed, Gatun Lake and Monkey Island Tour

9. Panama Canal Watershed, Gatun Lake and Monkey Island Tour

Enjoy the unique opportunity to be inside the Panama Canal Watershed as you travel to Gatun Lake eco cruise and visit the Monkey Island where you can see several species of monkeys and lush natural landscapes. Start with an early pickup in the morning at 6:30 AM to avoid the traffic and get to see more species of animals. Hop aboard a high-speed motorboat and marvel at the breathtaking flora and fauna surrounding Gatun Lake.  The lake is one of the sets of locks in the Panama Canal, on the side of the Atlantic Ocean. There you will have an ecological experience in the region, where you can sail by the lake, see animals and the surrounding forest. Enjoy stops at Monkey Island, home to several species of monkeys that are native of Central America. Monkey Island boasts an incredible amount of wildlife. Stay on the lookout for capuchin monkeys, Geoffroy's tamarin and howler, and other species.  Also, see the Sounds of Silence Island, and if you are lucky, come close to some large ships that transit the canal daily.

From Panama City: Monkey Island Boat Tour with Transfer

10. From Panama City: Monkey Island Boat Tour with Transfer

Monkey Island Jungle Boat Adventure In the morning a Panama Expeditions Hub will meet you and take you to Gamboa, a former US Military base for the operation of the Canal and a small town settled by the Chagres River and Gatun Lake, surround by the Panama Rainforest and the Soberania National Park and Nature Reserve. Your guide will take you to the Gamboa Pier at the Chagres River mouth to the Panama Canal. Once at the pier your guide will provide you with the live jackets, safety instructions and start boarding the Jungle Boat to start the adventure. the first part of the journey includes a boat ride under the historical Train Bridge and the Panama Canal waters where you will have the opportunity to see the huge vessels and container ships transiting the Canal, you will also observe the Dredging process of the Canal expansion and maintenance with the gigantic drills and cranes and the professional engineers and operators performing while your guide explains all the interesting facts about the project and the benefits to the country and the world, continuing the tour you will reach one of the northern corners of the lake where the dense jungle full of wildlife will take you to a whole different world and you will experience a close contact with nature. The Panama Rainforest is inhabited by thousands of different species and if you are lucky, you will see some of them like the white face capuchin monkeys, the howler monkeys, the Geoffrey’s tamarin monkeys, Cayman, Snail kites, herons and many other animals in the wild. After this amazing adventure your guide will take you back to your hotel.

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What people are saying about Gatun Lake

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 233 reviews

We were involuntarily stranded in Panama City and therefore looked for a trip that doesn't last all day. Marco picked us up at our hotel and the transfer took about 60 minutes in total to a small boat. After a short ride with the we immediately saw several monkeys. They climbed onto the roof of the boat. The monkeys ate peanuts from our hands. We also saw resting bats, turtles and a large lizard. Marco explained everything and had fun with it. We would recommend the excursion to everyone. In total we were about 4:30 hours on the road.

As a solo traveler, this excursion was everything and MORE. Our guide and driver were very attentive to each passengers need and questions. A 5 hours excursion that felt like different trips in one. Guide made sure to speak in both Spanish and English to accommodate to everyone. We were able to do everything written in the description and got a little tour/history lessons about the country as we drove through the city to the city. Thank you Nefi and Manuel of Panamazing for a wonderful time and for loving what you do.

The guide was really good, full of interesting information, The tour three places, was varied, the rainforest from the gondola breathtaking, the lunch good

Gonzo was a great guide, his knowledge of plants on our nature walk was very valuable. We got to see 3 types of monkeys up close. It was wonderful!

I absolutely loved this excursion. If you love nature and animals like I do, then this is most definitely the tour for you.