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Reviewed January 20, 2013

We booked this tour after reading the glowing reports on Trip Advisor, and on the whole, it didn't disappoint. Briant gave a bit of the Panama Canal history as we drove to Gamboa (more info would have been appreciated), and the boat trip itself was wonderful. Lots of sightings of capuchin monkeys, and close enough to afford great photos. (Some monkeys seem to be fed by tour operators so are basically trained to approach at the sound of a boat.) Great sightings of snail kites as well. The walk through the rainforest was lovely, though a bit rushed. My husband spotted a brown frog, which Briant then caught for closer viewing (he's a frog expert), but that was it for wildlife — except for the ubiquitous and always fascinating leaf-cutter ants. One point I should mention. The walk involved crossing a couple of fast-flowing streams over slippery rocks. A bit tricky for some, and Briant was very good at helping the first couple of people across. (We were a group of 6.) My husband and I were at the end, however, and although we didn't need assistance, we were annoyed that Briant led the group onward (with accompanying guide-talk) before we'd even reached the other side! The walk seemed rushed, possibly because we'd had a late start that morning and Briant needed to be back for another tour. Apart from that, the 3.5 hour tour was good value.

Date of experience: December 2012
3  Thank Jasmine039
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Briant D, Tour Guide at Xplora Panama Tours, responded to this reviewResponded January 25, 2013

First, and most important to us, is to say thank you for taking the time to write about our tour. We take our customer's opinions at heart. We are very happy that you enjoyed the tour and qualified it as a good value, but we have also taken notice of your suggestions regarding the areas where we can improve the quality of our service. Please accept our apologies for seeming to be in a hurry during the hike, there was no afternoon tour or prior commitment to attend, just wanted to clarify that. Again, thank you very much for you nice comments and your valuable suggestions.

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Reviewed January 12, 2013

We decided to visit Panama and actually see the country instead of just cruising through the canal. The tour with Briant sounded like a lot of fun and it was. My wife and I had a great time. We did activities that we had never done before such as swimming in a cave filled with bats, spending a night on a tropical island, a hike to hidden waterfalls, and a night hike in the rain forest in search of the red eyed Panamanian tree frog.
Some of the accomodations were "rustic" as to be expected when you are away from Panama City. Just go with the flow!
You will get wet, you will get some bumps and bruises, but you will see and do things that you may never have an opportunity to do again.
We were also very fortunate to spend the tour with six new friends from Canada. We couldn't have met nicer people.
Thanks you Briant and Lita!!

Date of experience: January 2013
1  Thank Robert N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Briant D, Tour Guide at Xplora Panama Tours, responded to this reviewResponded January 14, 2013

We really appreciate you took the time to write this review.
You choose our most adventurous tour and we are glad you enjoyed it this
much. Thank you!

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Reviewed January 11, 2013

Our trips with them were the best! Nighttime jungle hike was fun, a little scary and absolutely ok. The all day caving trip was truly a highlight - Briant is truly knowledgeable about Panama, cares about the communities, knows who lives there and is appropriately respectful. Above all, has a high safety standard and still led us on to amazing explorations. A day we will never forget and as a well traveled family, we were very impressed and would love to return just to do Briant's favorites!
Also want to note Briant's sister Lita was fantastic with travel details and other stuff. We had rather complicated travel arrangements (7) arriving at the airport needing transportation to the hotel and back again to the airport, transportation to a ferry and back, transport to a canal transit tour and back and she was able to arrange all of it at very reasonable rates. On top of that, she put together a great 1/2day tour of Panama City and all important points.

Date of experience: December 2012
Thank KQLynch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Briant D, Tour Guide at Xplora Panama Tours, responded to this reviewResponded January 14, 2013

Thank you for noticing and pointing out that we care about the local communities we visit on tours, it is certainly and important part of what we do. And we feel very good when our customers appreciate the local culture the way you did. Thank you for your wonderful review!

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Reviewed December 20, 2012 via mobile

Briant was a fabulous guide. He really knows the country and took us to places so far off the beaten path that even panamanians don't know of them. In fact he got started doing tours by taking local friends to hidden gems in Panama. He's so knowledgeable about flora and fauna and gave us close encounters with monkeys, crocodiles, snakes, frogs, ospreys, leaf cutter ants, and so much more. Also, Briant is fully fluent in English and Spanish.

Xplora was also wonderfully flexible and allowed us to customize our tour: rather than the standard 9-day tour, we did a 7-day tour to get some more time in Panama City and did some activities (like zip lining) not on any of the standard options.

Truly an amazing trip.

Thank Reznil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Briant D, Tour Guide at Xplora Panama Tours, responded to this reviewResponded December 22, 2012

The most important thing to us is that you enjoyed your vacation! We are
so glad that you liked that much the customized version of our tour.
Thank you for the review.

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Reviewed December 19, 2012

This trip has been an amazing experience! Accompanied by our helpful tour guide, Briant. We were able to snorkel in San Blas, explore the thrilling caves, and descend exciting hikes through the jungle. We were able to experience new cultures - an eye opening experience. It was the trip of a lifetime and a learning experience. Briant went out of his way to ensure we were safe and enjoying ourselves. I would defintely recommend touring with Briant to get the best possible experience of Panama.

Thank Dill-Pick1e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Briant D, Tour Guide at Xplora Panama Tours, responded to this reviewResponded December 22, 2012

It is so rewarding to hear that you considered your tour with us "the
trip of a lifetime"! Things like that are the reason why we are in this
business. Thank you for writing this wonderful review

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