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Panama: Soberania, Chagres, Embera Village Suggestions?

Panama: Soberania, Chagres, Embera Village Suggestions?

Old Dec 30, 13, 6:51 pm
  #1  
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Panama: Soberania, Chagres, Embera Village Suggestions?

I'm planning a 4-day January 2014 trip to Panama. Can anyone comment on these activities?
  • Soberania National Park (hiking)
  • Chagres National Park / Embera Drua Village (a 1-day package tour, probably)

Is it advisable to take malaria meds and/or yellow fever vaccination for these locations?

Is it easy to sign up for day tours in Panama City?

Thank you.
Middle_Seat is offline  
Old Dec 30, 13, 8:52 pm
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One a four day trip I would only do one of these
[*]Soberania National Park (hiking)
There are several trails out there, Pipeline Road trail is probably the best one. You can go hiking by yourself but to get the full experience, it would probably be best to go with a guide. If you want to see wildlife, your best chances are very early in the morning (sunrise) or at sunset (not advised as it may be problematic getting a ride back to the city). On pipeline road, about a 1.5 miles inland there's an observation tower (Panama Discovery Center) which offers a cool view of the rain forest below you.

Another option is to go to the Parque Nacional Metropolitano, which is closer to the city. They have a construction crane used for research of the rain forest canopy. If you contact them in advance, you can book space to get up into the crane cabin. It's one of the most amazing experiences as you not only float above the rain forest, you get to see Panama City from a whole different angle. Contact the Park Office at [email protected]

[*]Chagres National Park / Embera Drua Village (a 1-day package tour, probably)
The other ones you can do in a couple of hours. This one is a whole day affair. I would say this option offers a more complete package. Not only will you be able to check out the rain forest, but also be led thru virgin forests on a dugout canoe, and get to know one of the indigenous tribes that inhabit the area. Since it is more established, you'll most definitively have to share the experience with other tourists, so it does not feel as adventurous as the other ones. In January, when the water levels are still high, they will most likely take you to bathe in one the waterfalls and even float in the river on the way back.

As for malaria/yellow fever -- don't bother, no need. Even though you're in the rain forest, you're still very close to the city. With mosquito repellent, preferably one that contains Deet, you should be good.

PM me if you would like more feedback or advise. I;m in PC right now.



Originally Posted by Middle_Seat View Post
I'm planning a 4-day January 2014 trip to Panama. Can anyone comment on these activities?
  • Soberania National Park (hiking)
  • Chagres National Park / Embera Drua Village (a 1-day package tour, probably)

Is it advisable to take malaria meds and/or yellow fever vaccination for these locations?

Is it easy to sign up for day tours in Panama City?

Thank you.
marcuswelby is offline  
Old Jan 1, 14, 1:26 pm
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Thank you very much for the information, marcuswelby!

I plan to purchase DEET insect repellent after arriving in Panama (so it doesn't need to fit into my liquids bag), and use it religiously when taking those excursions.
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Old Jan 26, 14, 9:17 am
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I did The Charges Park tour in November and even swam in the waterfalls.
Did not see (or hear ;-)) a single mosquito there. Did not use DEET but if you feel better with its smell, use it religiously (DEET in Panama can be a tad more expensive than back in the US).

Last edited by abeyro; Mar 17, 14 at 9:44 am Reason: misspelling
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Old Jan 27, 14, 7:08 am
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Quickie Trip Report

I'm just back from 4 nights in Panama, courtesy of the (since expired) IHG PointsBreak discount for the Crowne Plaza.

Brief comments:
1. Taxi from airport to downtown is $30 USD, the reverse is $32.50.
2. Taxi from downtown hotel to Gamboa resort is $35 each way.
3. My travel buddy and I took the Hop On / Hop Off bus tour. The Red Line stops at several interesting locations, including the Casco Antiguo and Miraflores locks. The Blue Line didn't have much to interest us. One ticket is good for both.
4. We started every in-town taxi price negotiation at $5, and rarely had to go much higher.
5. There are several good hiking trails in the Metropolitan Park.
6. We paid ~$90 total per person for two tours at Gamboa. The first was a small-boat ride on the canal to see monkeys, the second was a canopy aerial tram tour. Worthwhile.
7. My buddy saw one mosquito in the 4 days, I saw none. We purchased DEET repellent but never used it.
8. All transactions were either credit card or US currency.

The trip was fun, the weather was dry and very warm, 4 nights seemed about right.
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