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Embera Tours Panama
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Authentic Embera Indian Village Tour
Ranked #19 of 153 Tours in Panama City
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Join with me as an authentic Embera guide I will give to you thrusful, deep information as no one,have the opportunity to learn about my culture, believe, tradition of the real Embera experience.
Scottsdale, Arizona
Level Contributor
44 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 20, 2014

I booked a day tour with Garceth after reading reviews on Trip Advisor and through the Cruise Critic roll call for our cruise, was able to organize a group of 10. Garceth met us at the ship terminal in Colon at the arranged time holding a sign with my name on it. We got into a comfortable van and drove about 45 minutes to a tributary to Lago Alajuelar. Because it was the end of the dry season, we had to walk about 15 to minutes, basically in the river bed, to get to the waiting dugout canoes. There were 2 villagers in each canoe, one up front with a long pole and one in the back to operate the 15hp motor. Six of us were in one canoe and 4 of our group, plus Garceth, in the other. As the river level was so low, the villagers had to get out of the canoes numerous times to walk us over gravel bars (if they had kept the motors running they would have broken the shear pins that hold the prop to the motor shaft). It took about 1-1/2 hours in the canoes up the Rio San Miguel to get to the Embera village.
Pictures that others have posted are accurate. The villagers were friendly, the lunch was great and there are a lot of handicrafts available for purchase. The chief, although uneducated, is very intelligent. There was a presentation with a question and answer period. Garceth interpreted for us as the chief speaks Embera and Spanish, but, not English.
There was another small tour group at the village at the same time. A member of this other group is an anthropologist living in Fiji. I asked him if he thought this was authentic. He felt it was and the fact that they had some interactions with the outside world that generated some revenue was a good thing.
Overall, we spent about 2 hours or so at the village. We were concerned about the amount of time it would take to get back to the ship. As it turned out, the canoe ride was only about 45 minutes long as we were going downstream with the current. Consequently, if you are going on this excursion when the water levels are higher, there would be a significant reduction in the amount of travel time and there might not even be any hiking between the van and the dugout canoe.
It was a phenomenal trip. It was surreal that night at dinner in the main dining room on the Celebrity Equinox. Think about it, juxtaposing the elegance of a luxury cruise line dining room with a longhouse in a primitive village. Life is interesting.

Visited March 2014
13 Thank MichaelS6763
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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219 reviews from our community

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English first
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Level Contributor
312 reviews
148 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
“Interesting but becoming too dependent on tourists.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 11, 2014

Came here on a small cruise ship so got the whole experience of arriving via boat and then the walk to the village. It is very apparent that the community now survives on tourist trade. The area is not very well maintained - trash all over and it appears the crops are not maintained. The women dress the part and they sell you their woven baskets - which are lovely. Long ride in boat for a very short stay - plus not alot to see at village. Once the basket sale is over - time to go. Found the same baskets, in old Panama City at an artesana shop - same designs, quality and prices. This attraction will be a thing of the past if they do not do something to keep it original.

Visited March 2014
1 Thank twoscratchy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
44 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Outstanding Adventure in Panama”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2014

We had come across this tribe the last time we were in Panama as several of them were selling handmade items.
We were on a cruise stopping in Colon for one day, and someone put this tour together with Garceth, one of the Embera tribe men. This is a tour they put on frequently. There are 127 residents now living in this location. You take about an hour bus ride, then a motorized canoe for another hour +/-. The water level was very low, so the tribesmen had to jump out and push/pull the canoe several times.

Once there, the people are very friendly. apparently about the only things they have from the "outside" are the motor on the canes and some of the cloth.

They tell us of their history, life style, how they make their baskets, fishing, etc. and about their "tatooes".
A nice little lunch is provided: fried plantanes and tilapia in a banana leaf.
They do a traditional dance, and then have a group picture taken.
It is really one of the more interesting tours we have been on.

Visited March 2014
4 Thank Rich L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
87 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Like travelling back in time!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 26, 2014

From the cruise ship, to a 30 min bus ride then a 30 - 40 min ride up river in a dugout or canoe (yes they do have a motor - you dont paddle!) it seems as though you travel back in time. The people are a bit shy but treat yo so nice! Take cash so you can purchase some of there items that they make (its what they live on). They made us a really nice lunch - fresh fried Talapia served in a folded palm leaf along with lost of fresh fruit. You are able to walk around the village, they lead the tour in some traditional dance and they will pose for pics. If you can remember take some candy for the small children - they love the attention. One cute little fellow managed to get my tour sticker from my shirt! They also do traditional body ink (drawn on - no needles) and they will do one for you - please though - kindly offer them a dollar or two if they do for you! Wonderful experience!

Visited January 2014
4 Thank Barbara O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Dover, Canada
Level Contributor
33 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“FUN BUT FAKE....sadly”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 24, 2014

Due to the government controlling the natives and the way of life they are now forced to be a tourist attraction and sell their art work in order to survive there.........many do not live in the village and they are picked up and taken to school via bus...so sad really that they cannot live like they display they do......we saw cell phones and a found out that now the diet is more from the city( processed foods) and therefore they are getting more diseases like us...diabetes..cancers......having said all that they were lovely happy people that were full of kindness and fun.....we danced with them.....ate with them...lots of fun...but fake......sadly......

Visited February 2014
9 Thank Louiseoo7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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