Kayaking & canoeing in Panama City

Top Kayaking & Canoeing in Panama City, Panama

Kayaking & Canoeing in Panama City

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Outdoor Activities
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Tours, activities and experiences bookable on Tripadvisor, ranked using exclusive Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, popularity, user preferences, price, and bookings made through Tripadvisor.
Bus Tours
6+ hours
Free cancellation
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90% of travelers recommend this experience
This number is based on the percentage of all Tripadvisor reviews for this product that have a bubble rating of 4 or higher
per adult
Ports of Call Tours
6+ hours
Free cancellation
Not sure? You can cancel this reservation up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
100% of travelers recommend this experience
This number is based on the percentage of all Tripadvisor reviews for this product that have a bubble rating of 4 or higher
per adult

What travelers are saying

  • John
    7 contributions
    Very pleasant trip. The water of the places we visited was beautiful and of perfect temperature. Jenny and Juan David are two very interesting people, it was nice to listen to their story, they have a lot to tell. I recommend it if you want to do something nice but less touristy.
    Written May 21, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Sandra S
    2 contributions
    My group of 10 recently went on the Portobelo Sea Kayaking and Snorkeling Tour through Adventures Panama. The company was incredibly efficient, professional, and accommodating. My group had to make a few changes before the tour, and the company was so gracious and patient. I primarily communicated with Nele and Javier to start. They both were so helpful.

    When it came time for the actual tour, Juan was our tour guide. He is such a pleasant, sweet, patient, funny, gregarious, and overall, wonderful man! He even took time to teach me how to swim! When some of our group needed an extra hand during the kayaking, he took his time with them. He navigated us through Panama and educated us about everything we asked and even things he just thought were important to know.

    We stopped at a quaint little spot after kayaking and the beach where the food was delicious! Juan was helping the restaurant take orders. He was hands-on the entire time.

    I highly recommend this tour and Adventures Panana! I hope you are lucky enough to be connected with Juan as your guide!
    Written June 9, 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • veldhuisc
    4 contributions
    I traveled to Panama City, Panama with a group of 12 friends. Our stay was from Sunday to Sunday in February. The weather was beautiful and shorts were the typical wardrobe each day.

    Luis, owner of Lumo Tours, was our tour guide all week. He was always very punctual to pick us up on time. Each day he took time to show and explain the history. He was very patient to answer our questions throughout the day. If we had a special request to stop, he would always accommodate.

    Luis kept a cooler full of a variety of cold drinks in his Mercedes van. When we returned to the van after our last stop of the day, he would hand each person a bag with a sweet treat and a salty treat, plus a frozen rolled up wash cloth.

    Our lunches were at restaurants that included salad, vegetable, meat and a drink. Much of the time there was also a dessert.

    Luis took us on walking tours of different cities and rain-forests. We used transportation from large boats to very small boats. We went through the Panama Canal; traveled by boat to a remote Indian Village; traveled to an Island to spend the day at the beach. We also drove to Anton Valley.

    Luis went the extra mile to help in any way he could. I would highly recommend Lumo Tours. There is not any stress involved with Luis in charge!

    Luis always makes your day fun and enjoyable for a memorable Panamanian Vacation!!
    Written February 28, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Cheryl B
    27 contributions
    What a great day! Orlando, David and Pablo picked us up on time and guided us through a great adventure! The kayaks are in great shape, the guides speak excellent English, and are extremely knowledgeable about local wildlife and culture. They packed a tasty lunch for us and made us feel comfortable and safe for the entire trip. Do this!
    Written January 5, 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Bob M
    16 contributions
    My son and I signed up for the Mountain to Sea five day tour, which starts with a whitewater rafting adventure on the Piedras River to the Chagres River followed by a kayak adventure all the way across Panama for the next four days. I made this decision after some email dialog and telephone conversation with Javier, the owner of Aventuras Panama, who said that this was his favorite trip because it crosses almost the entire isthmus and the Chagres River was the key to a deep understanding of the entire Canal project.

    I’ll speak for myself here, but we were both DELIGHTED with this tour. I have been recommending this trip to all my friends whole-heartedly. One friend became so fired up about MY trip that he called the local newspaper and asked them to come interview me, as he thought the whole town should know about Panama!

    Coming from New England in January, what I wanted was some warm weather, unspoiled nature, good water for paddling, a fun adventure, a somewhat comfortable back country camping experience, decent equipment, and someone to make ALL the arrangements. And if I could wish for something I did not want, it would be mosquitos.

    I've been back a week now and I’m still smiling because I got all that and more. Panama is a hidden gem!

    We started our raft trip in an area so remote it took a couple of hours of extreme 4WD driving with an expert driver followed by a two hour hike to get to the water. After the 4WD vehicles could go no further, and despite being so remote, Aventuras Panama had local indigenous people waiting with horses at the trailhead to carry our boats and gear so we could hike without carrying gear. I was impressed – people waiting for us with horses deep in the jungle. How did they manage that?

    The rafting was through an area so unspoiled you could feel you were back in the 16th century. The jungle on both sides of the river was so abundant with life, color, and noises. For hours, we did not see a structure, wire, road, or sign of any person. Great moving water (Class II-III) almost continuously for 4 hours with expert guides, one to a boat. Our group had two boats. We stopped several times for snacks and photos. Javier was right: by starting in the mountains, one really came to understand a lot about the Canal project by experiencing the river - it’s essential water, it’s variability, and its power. It was a dimension to understanding the Canal project that most people never get, which was both fun and fascinating.

    At the end of the whitewater at a bend in the river, some Embera indigenous people were waiting for us with a 30’ long canoe that they had made by hand from a tree. We loaded our gear into their boat and they took us several miles downriver to their village, where my son and I disembarked to spend the night to begin the next, kayaking leg of the trip. I note again that Aventuras Panama worked magic to keep things on schedule, even in the jungle.

    We stayed that night and the next night in two different Indian villages, and the next two nights bushwhacking in tents. Our guide, Orlando, was fabulous - thoroughly knowledgeable and delightful to be with for four days (this is important with a group of only three people!). Orlando is a professional cook, so boy did we EAT! Never did I expect to be enjoying flank steak with grilled onions and fried yucca and fresh vegetables, wine and beer, cheese and stuffed olive appetizers, and fresh pineapple for dessert in the jungle. Orlando laid out a menu each night that was varied, fresh, and delicious, a rich reward to top off each glorious day of paddling. Breakfasts were also hot and hearty – often sausage, pancakes, rice pilaf, and of course fresh fruit. We prepared lunches to pack in the kayaks.

    Some of our camp sites were accessible by truck, so all our gear was delivered when we arrived ashore and then picked up the next morning; other sites were accessible only by boat, so we had a chase boat for a day (I think this was also required to pass that part of the Canal). We carried only the personal items we needed for the day in the kayaks. This was a very nice arrangement because the boats remained light. The drivers were steadfastly punctual and very helpful getting our camp set up and broken down. Our chase boat driver had relatives in a village near where we camped one night, so it was fun dropping by to say hello to the family. Some family members came by to help us set up camp and we got to know them a little bit with our limited Spanish. This connection with the people and the land was just what we were looking for.

    Kayaking across Panama is mostly a trip across the huge Gatun lake, and one might wonder how this works with the large ships passing through. We stayed several miles away from these big boys; Gatun houses many islands and Orlando guided us between one island to the next so that we felt like we were on a river without any consciousness of the large boat traffic a few miles away. At all times, safety was the top consideration and we respected how much effort Aventuras Panama put into tracking the weather, tracking us through GPS, planning our course, making sure we had the chase boat in the proper places, and making sure all our equipment was in good order. Orlando carried a GPS that allowed the home office to know our exact position at all times. If there was ever an emergency, this device allowed him to beckon help at once. We knew we were in professional hands so we could relax and enjoy the scenery.

    Most days we paddled 5-6 hours, arriving at our camp for the day around 3pm so we had time to get cleaned up and of course dig into the appetizers that Orlando was preparing almost as soon as the coolers were unpacked. We had some light headwinds a few hours a day, but nothing major. For the most part the water was dead flat. Since we were so far from the ship traffic, wakes were not something to worry about. Our drivers were waiting for us when we had to portage around two dams because in each case we had to go a a few miles downstream to the put-in spot. Everything was like clockwork, but we in the boats had no consciousness of clocks, time, or schedules – the tour company took care of everything.

    Panama is truly a hidden gem in plain view: we did not see another boater, fisherman, or tourist the entire five days we were on the river. We did see some indigenous people in a couple of places, but there was a two day period where we saw nobody – and this in one of the busiest waterways in the world! The route we took was lined with jungle, so our companions were birds, monkeys, an occasional flying fish, and other animals that we could see rustling near the waterline, but could not see the animal itself. It was great to have flat water and only the sounds of nature; for hours each day we quietly paddled our kayaks, scanning the jungle for animal sightings. It was one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever done.

    Some in the tourist industry we met lamented that ‘tourists don’t come to Panama’, but for the reader of this review, this is the opportunity – Panama is a relatively short plane flight from the US and until it catches on, it is a paradise of nature without people. We learned much from our guide about the local peoples, how the terrain changed when the lake was created, and how the country is doing today. Panama is a financial capital, but just a few miles outside of Panama City, it is a wilderness known and enjoyed by very few from outside the region.

    The last day was out of a movie. The three of us were padding through flat, clear water on the Chagres river, downstream from the dam, noticing that the river was getting incrementally darker. This meant it was getting more brackish; the end was drawing near. We inhaled the last few hours of the jungle on both sides, stopped to watch howler monkeys in their trees, tried to pick out the various trees Orlando had taught us to identify, and even pulled ashore to see if we could walk 100 yards into the jungle to get a feeling of what Henry Morgan’s pirates went through when they hacked through the jungle on their way to sacking Panama City in 1671. Despite our efforts and several attempted routes, we couldn’t do it. It was just too thick.

    Then we turned a bend in the river and there it was – our green river spilled out into the blue Caribbean Sea with gentle whitecaps rolling in. We paddled into the waves, turned around, and surfed onto a white sandy beach framed by coconut palms. We could see the arc of the beach for miles and there wasn’t a single person on any of it – except for our faithful support truck driver, waiting to offer us two cold Panama beers. It was as idyllic as could be.

    To conclude, I got everything I wanted. The weather was in the mid-80’s by day and low 70’s by night, and we were lucky to only get a few sprinkles of rain late at night. Aventuras Panama had their eyes glued to the weather so we didn’t have to worry about it – should a storm have come through, they had the support to get us out of the water easily. The nature was as unspoiled as it could get; I tend to pick up floating trash when I kayak, and in five days I picked up exactly two items. The backcountry camping was great with all the gear delivered and meals that were out of this world. My only complaint to Orlando the entire trip was that the PFD’s (lifejackets) were shrinking – every day I had to let mine out a little bit!

    The icing on the cake is that even in the areas where we were bushwacking, there were very few mosquitos. Your experience may be different, but all I did was put on long pants and do a light spray with OFF at dusk, and I think I picked up fewer than 30 bites over five days. You could get that many in ten minutes in my New England backyard in the summertime. I think this was because it was cooler at night and there was a constant breeze over the water. Or maybe we just got lucky…

    On a scale of one to five, where five is that all my expectations were perfectly satisfied, I’d give this trip a five. If there were a special category, though, for where most of what I got was beyond my expectations, I would not hesitate to give this trip that special category. The planning, logistic support, equipment, guides, friendliness, support, and packaging that Aventuras Panama provided was just fantastic. This was a trip of a lifetime and I’ll definitely be back to Panama, hopefully before everyone else discovers it.
    Written January 27, 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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