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“Fabulous Panama Canal Tour and Jungle Excursion”

Jungle Land Panama: Day Excursions
Ranked #1 of 17 things to do in Gamboa
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: We offer the best day tours on the Panama Canal. Our tours showcase the flora, fauna, and the Canal operations. For a very unique experience we operate the only floating lodge on the Panama Canal. Don't just visit the Canal "LIVE IT!"
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Level Contributor
1 review
“Fabulous Panama Canal Tour and Jungle Excursion”
Reviewed April 23, 2012

Yesterday I went with my family on an amazing day trip up the Panama Canal and into interconnected lakes and rivers in the tropical rainforest. It was the most amazing experience and I recommend it whole-heartedly to all visitors to Panama, and all Panama residents also.
The full trip was just over 6 hours. Bring swimming costumes/shorts and shoes you can get wet to enjoy the full range of activities on offer.
We were picked up (I think 17 of us in all) by Capt Carl in his boat with comfortable dry seating and a giant sun roof. Carl explained everything that we saw along our Panama Canal journey and into the secluded jungle of Lake Gatun and other river tributaries. His repartee is extremely informative and very witty - he is a top class entertainer.
We learnt about: the canal expansion programme; the functions of all the construction equipment we saw on the way (floating and land based); the cargo ships, Panama Canal Authority boats and private yachts that we passed; and the history of the Panama Canal Railway.
We then entered the jungle areas where he pointed out the wildlife and knew every animal and plant and their habits and life-cycles. Most professors of biology would come away filled with fresh information, and the lecture is delivered in a very humorous manner - if only university classes had been such good fun - I might have done better. Although packed with information, he held the attention of our four year old for long periods of time. On the way he stopped to give a banana to monkey that he knew. When arriving at his base we also stopped at the island opposite where he handed out some bananas which people broke into grape-sized pieces. Tiny little monkeys then scurried along the wood structure of his jetty and cautiously looked around before taking the offered fruit.
His base is a floating hotel. It is beautiful - an ideal natural retreat and I would love to spend a week there. It would suit many people to stay there and take a day trip to the city, instead of the other way around. It would make a very memorable honeymoon location. He is busy expanding at the moment to make more bedrooms. There are rooms with private bathroom and balcony.
The lunch was delicious and typical Panamanian flavours (included in trip fee). After lunch he brought out an anaconda which several people held and had photos taken.
Capt Carl took us out on kayaks after lunch. The group were asked if there was anyone who would like to go fishing but we all wanted to paddle My wife and little daughter and a few others stayed to enjoy the environment of the hotel and to talk to the Toucan and the Parrot. The kayak journey, on very stable boats, was an amazing experience. We paddled along narrow winding openings in the giant rafts of floating vegetation that form a large part of the jungle wetlands, along small winding rivers and past open lake areas. We saw water lilies, hawks, wading birds and butterflies on our way to our destination, which was a small waterfall with a pool at it's base. We climbed up the rocks and leapt off the waterfall into the pool below. The pool was a little cooler than the water in the rivers and lakes and was fantastically refreshing.
Back at the hotel people fed a little monkey, the Toucan, and some people held a baby crocodile. Everybody on the trip was very happy with their experience. We would like to go again someday soon.
A fantastic day !! Thanks Carl and crew
Tim Rowley

Visited April 2012
Thank Tim R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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272 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
not here
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great trip!”
Reviewed April 20, 2012

My girlfriend and myself spent did a 24hr overnight at the lodge and it was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. There are day trip options available but really do the overnight trip, the night croc safari is worth it alone.

The lodge is extremely comfortable, the food is excellent and Carl is one of the best hosts I've ever had the pleasure of staying with.

During our stay we had the displeasure of sharing the houseboat with an extremely loud and obnoxious family from New York. These people treated the entire boat as their own, with no regard for anybody else - basically not stop complaining and screaming, by both the parents and the children. Please if you're a large family with loud children don't come to a quite jungle lodge that you share with other people unless you can control yourself and your children.

The jungle experience is about nature and relaxation, both are very hard to accomplish with screaming children and ignorant New Yorkers.

This was a complete nightmare situation, but Carl saw that we wanted to peace and quite and went out of his way to take us on a couple of private side trips and show us around. He did everything in his power to make sure we walked away happy, way beyond what I would have expected.

Read other reviews for information on the tours but do yourself a favor and book a stay, really its one of the best things to do in Panama.

Visited April 2012
Thank SwimFish26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, Canada
Level Contributor
27 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
“Awesome Way To Experience Panama Wildlife”
Reviewed April 9, 2012

We booked with Panama Roadrunner ahead of time, and took a trip to hook up with Captain Carl and his Jungle Land excursion. I highly recommend this tour; we shared a private van with 2 other couples for the long drive to the Panama Canal from the Royal Decameron. Our driver Denise is originally from Canada and it was nice to have easy conversation and all of our questions answered. Once down to the “marina” you board a boat and cruise down the Panama Canal passing large ships along the way as well as “Monkey Island” where there are some marooned monkeys that love peanuts and bananas. It looks like this is their main source of food with no way off of these small islands. It was amazing to see them swinging through the trees, or quickly splashing down into the water for a bath in order to evade crocodiles (which we saw many of!). Our final stop was to a houseboat on Lake Gatun where we had a delicious lunch, beers and then took a kayak to a small waterfall. Back at the houseboat we took a different boat out and went fishing where my girlfriend caught 3 bass and a large Oscar and I caught a nice size Peacock bass. While on the houseboat you can lounge on hammocks or go swimming, jumping from a platform on the upper level. Captain Carl has all kinds of wildlife on his houseboat that kids will love to see and even hold. This was an amazing day and one of the best excursions we have ever been on. There is also an overnight option which we didn't have enough time to enjoy, including a night time safari. Do NOT miss this excursion if you are in the area!

Visited March 2012
4 Thank SteelcityHammer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Groton, Connecticut
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Had a great overnight trip, comfortable, peaceful and full of activities”
Reviewed April 4, 2012

Went to Jungleland with my Mother (71yo) ,my sister, my wife and 3 young teenagers. We stayed overnight...had the place to ourselves overnight till about noon the next day. Kayaking, swimming, fishing and the night safari, all were extremely fun and exciting for all. Accomodations were comfortable and clean, staff was courteous and nice. It was a great way to spend overnight and the following day.

Visited March 2012
Thank glpgeorge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas, United States
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Don't Miss This and Spend The Night (or Two)”
Reviewed March 7, 2012

Captain Carl's tour was probably the highlight of our 16 day trip in Panama. We spent one night there and wish we had spent 2. Trying to make the reservations took some patience but I quickly saw the pattern, he answers emails very early in the day and very late at night. That's because the rest of the day he is providing personal attention to his guests. I was a bit nervous about the pick-up and drop-off because the details were a bit unclear to me but he makes arrangements to have you picked up at your hotel and they drop you off at the marina where Carl meets you. He then takes you on a tour of the canal -- his tour was very detailed and he is at least bilingual (Spanish & English). He really went above and beyond for our stay. The houseboat is exceptionally clean, the food and drinks are plenty and tasty, the exotic animals are fun, and being on Lake Gatun is magical. Plus, Carl is an interesting man to talk too. Semper Fi!

Visited January 2012
1 Thank cindypps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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