Ella Drua Embera Tour
Ella Drua Embera Tour
4.5
Sightseeing Tours
This location was reported permanently closed
About
Ella Drua is an indigenous community of about 120 residents of the Embera and Wounaan ethnicities. Although it is very easy to access (only an hour's drive from Panama City, and a scenic five minute canoe ride from the freeway), it is tucked away in jungly hills and feels like a different world.We offer three-hour tours that include presentations on our culture and history, traditional music and dancing, artisan work, lunch, and a nature walk to a nearby waterfall during which you can learn all about the enormously diverse plants we use day to day. We also host visitors overnight, offer guided tours into the jungle, fishing expeditions on the river, and more!Ella Drua has been open to small groups of visitors for years now. Eco-tourism, complemented by fishing and agriculture, is our community's principal source of income.
Rio Gatun, Panama

Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles23 reviews
Excellent
18
Very good
4
Average
0
Poor
1
Terrible
0

Abigail F
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, United States1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2013 • Friends
This was one of the best experiences of my life. Coming from Philadelphia, this was a beautiful getaway and met some wonderful people along the way. The tribe was so friendly and welcoming and I cannot wait to go back!
Written January 28, 2013
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.

AME1965
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2013 • Family
We so appreciate the willingness of the Ella Drua community to share their village and show us a part of the world that we had never seen. These people were so friendly and welcoming to our family of six from the US. They even made us a vegetarian meal which my kids gobbled up. They gave us a huge bag of delicious fruit called "Manzana de Panama" which I had never eaten before. I couldn't believe how many people came to greet us- it seemed like a lot of trouble to go through just for us!! The elected leader or the community talked to us for quite some time. I could only think that they must really need the tourism but also seemed to take seriously the idea that we had come a long way to see them. I love baskets from panama (really some of the best in the world, so tight and beautiful) and finally got to meet the women who make them! We scared up some really beautiful birds during the canoe trip. I understand that by visiting this community, more of your money goes directly to them and not to a tour company. I am not one to expect indigenous people to remain "frozen in time" and it seems like one of the tours that we read about played on that Western notion, as if the people were frozen in time just for your tourism enjoyment. I got the impression from this trip that the Ella Drua people created this tour on their own terms. They showed us this aspect of their culture that is truly endangered but has truly been maintained (language, dances, etc, ). But of course they have a modern side as well, because they live very close to a major road and their kids learn Spanish in school. We made a family vacation video and included some of the people from Ella Drua although we only had some still shots of them. Visit these people if you are lucky enough to get this opportunity! Se chose this place because the money should go directly to the people, not a tour company.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACfbw6pjrPM&feature=share
Written April 9, 2013
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.

Matthew T
Chicago, IL28 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2012 • Family
I have lived in Panama for nearly two years, and been fortunate enough to get to know a number of the indigenous groups who call the Isthmus home.

The Embera-Wounaan are widely known as a warm and welcoming people, with a rich history and an aesthetically beautiful culture. The community of Ella Drua supports this conception wonderfully!

The tour was led by the incomparable Isabel, who made everyone feel immediately welcome upon arriving. It was a great mix of cultural presentation, interactive music & dancing, and hand-made indigenous arts and crafts. If you're a bit more adventurous, I also recommend getting body painted with the jagua fruit (the dye can last up to two weeks). For organic agriculture enthusiasts, this community is an excellent example of sustainable living, and everyone can learn something new about Tropical plants on this trip. We were also served a delicious lunch with locally farmed Tilapia.

Keep in mind that the Embera-Wounaan are not without their struggles and consistently battle to keep their traditions alive, surrounded by a rapidly developing country. The money spent on this tour encourages, as well as contributes to their ability to preserve the wonderful culture.

I went with my mom, who was visiting from the states, and we were accompanied by a family of 6 with teens and young adults. All parties involved had a great time!

The community was easy to find (just minutes from the Interamericana) and just a short/cheap bus ride from the Albrook terminal.

Do not pass up the opportunity to partake in this day trip!
Written August 29, 2012
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.

Annette K
Carmel, IN9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2011 • Friends
It is a great up close & very personal look into their life. The small size of our group (4) made it a very special day. We all valued our visit. Thank you for the opportunity we had to spend an afternoon with you.
Written October 23, 2011
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.

majorcubfan
Chicago, IL97 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2013 • Couples
This village is only accessible by boat up the Chagres River, but it was well worth the trip. They prepared a delicious lunch of fried fish and to stones, which we supplemented with fruit that we had purchased that morning from a local Gamboa market and brought along to share with the community. We enjoyed their ritual dance presentation, as well as the explanation of their culture and the contrast to other indigenous and local cultures from their "cultural ambassador". We also had the opportunity to buy handicrafts directly from the families that made them (much less expensive than in Panama City, but not as high quality of the masks and a smaller selection). It had rained hard before we had arrived that morning, so it was too muddy to visit the medicine man and see his garden, but do ask about that when you visit. We brought along some school supplies for the kids, which were greatly appreciated.
Written December 25, 2013
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.

shawnpaul108
Media, PA1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2012 • Friends
The village was full of the nicest people i have ever met. Even though there was a slight language barrier we still laughed and had an amazing time. I will visit again
Written October 29, 2012
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.

jan b
findlay1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2011 • Friends
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and hope to go again. The visit was informative and the people were so nice. We loved the dancing and the lunch. It was fun to see the lovely crafts the people make and we were delighted to be able to purchase some things both for our enjoyment and to help their community.
Written October 14, 2011
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.

Maya d
Berkeley, CA1 contribution
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2011 • Friends
This is the closest Embera community to the Transismica and autopitsta between Panama City and Colon, so if you're looking for convenience, this is the tour for you! Despite its proximity to the cities, you still feel worlds away when you're in the community. The tour begins with a lovely boat ride down Rio Gatun. You're then greeted by the whole Embera community who welcome you with songs and dances. You spend the rest of the tour learning about this fascinating culture. It truly is a wonderful experience and the people are so incredibly nice and giving. I highly recommend it!
Written October 6, 2011
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.

D5630OSamym
Vancouver, United States121 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2018 • Family
We went with a large group of teenagers. First we took a canoe ride to a hike area where we hiked for 30 minutes to a beautiful waterfall & back-then we were taken to the village by canoe again where Tilapia & fried plantains we’re prepared for us. We got to dance with the Embera, receive tattoos, play soccer & shop. It was a beautiful experience & the Embera people are so lovely & graceful. Thanks to them, my friend & I lived the hike & made it all the way & back. They never leave anyone behind.
Written July 4, 2018
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.

HughMc
Cheadle, UK654 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2016 • Couples
Arrived by boat to be met by the Embera indigenous people welcoming party - with the men playing home made instruments and the women standing at the top of the hill with the children looking on by the 'big hut'. We then all went to the 'big hut' where the leader told us about his people and how the manmade lake Gatun had deprived them off their farming land and how now they fished or hunted food. There was then a cultural dance with all the women of the village in national costume -some who looked more thrilled than others to be dancing! This was followed by an invitation to visit the different families stalls at the back of the hut to buy some goods to help them maintain their lifestyle - no electric or gas here - not to mention sanitation. We were the n invited to visit the village and see the houses on stilts - to keep the snakes and other animals out! There were also a number of young children running around and I was left wondering will this lifestyle still be here by the time they are grown up?
Written November 17, 2016
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.

Showing results 1-10 of 17

Ella Drua Embera Tour - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

FlightsTravel StoriesCruisesRental Cars