Jungle Land Panama Tour with Captain Carl

The Jungle Land Panama tour I did with Captain Carl was the highlight of my time in Panama. I 100% recommend it to anyone visiting Panama. I was picked up by a shuttle in Panama City and taken out to the boat dock about 45 minutes away. From there we jetted out into the Panama Canal where we got to see ships, tug boats, dredges, and a host of other machines and activities related to the Canal’s operations and all pointed out and explained to us by Captain Carl – the owner of Jungle Land Panama and our tour guide for the day.

After we left the main Canal waterway we explored into the jungle learning about some of the native (and surprisingly not native) flora and fauna from Captain Carl and even stopping to feed some wild monkeys!¬†As you all know, I’ve been traveling in Latin America for quite some time now and before I took this tour with Jungle Land Panama I had been in Central America for nearly two months and was just a few days away from heading to South America. If any of you have done research on vacationing in Costa Rica or Panama you know that everyone talks about the abundant monkey population and how unafraid of humans they are. Well, with t-minus 4 days and counting until I left, I had yet to see any monkeys until I took this tour and THANK GOODNESS this tour changed all of that!

I know this video is a little bit long but that’s just because there was a ton of amazing stuff on this tour so please watch it to the end to make sure you see all of the cool animals you can meet and fun activities you can do if you ever make it to Panama and do this tour.

Eventually, we arrived at the floating lodge where we got to feed another type of monkey and then enjoyed our own tasty and satisfying local lunch including free non-alcoholic beverages and $1 beer and wine. The lodge is literally built on a dock floating in Gatun Lake but with a slightly separated area that Carl claims is free of crocodiles and other critters that might eat you alive while you’re swimming. The top floor has a host of hammocks and an area where you can lay out and enjoy the sun or take pictures of the jungle and lake. The middle floor hosts the eating area and some of the overnight rooms and the bottom floor has the bathrooms and equipment for water activities.

After lunch we were given the option of a kayaking tour, fishing in the lake, or just relaxing at the lodge – none of which cost any extra. I opted for the kayaking and we ventured deeper into the jungle and eventually made it to a secluded waterfall where we could jump off the edge into the water below. After the activities we hung out a bit more at the lodge, met a few more animals (which you’ll see in the video) and then headed back to civilization.

All in all this was an amazing tour and I would definitely do it again.

 

 

The Panama Canal

Miraflores Lock, Panama Canal
Miraflores Lock, Panama Canal

Of course, anyone who goes to Panama has to visit the Panama Canal. Located within Panama City itself, the Miraflores Lock is probably the most visited and that’s where I headed one of my first few days in Panama.

Miraflores Lock, Panama Canal
Miraflores Lock, Panama Canal

The Miraflores Lock isn’t right in the downtown – it’s out near the Ciudad del Saber or City of Knowledge but can be reached on your own if you have a rental car, by public bus (I’m not sure which bus, I just saw the bus stop), the Hop-on-Hop-off bus, or in a taxi. You’ll have to purchase tickets before entering and you can choose to visit just the observation deck or visit the observation deck plus the Panama Canal Museum and watch a movie about the Canal’s history and construction. It was unclear what the price of each section was because each sign I saw showed different prices for the various combinations (Panamanian vs. foreigner and observation only vs. observation and museum and movie) and when we actually purchased our tickets the total price didn’t match up with any of the signs. My friend and I paid a total of $5 for one Panamanian and one foreigner entry to the observation deck only (at all of the tourist attractions in Panama foreigners will pay quite a bit more than Panamanians).

Miraflores Lock, Panama Canal
Miraflores Lock, Panama Canal

I got lucky and was there while some ships were passing through so I was able to see the changing of water levels and the opening of the lock system’s gates. An employee explains over the loudspeaker what’s going on and a little bit about the history and operations of the Canal (in English and Spanish) while the whole process takes place.

Miraflores Lock, Panama Canal
Miraflores Lock, Panama Canal

While it wasn’t the most exciting tourist attraction I’ve ever seen, it was fun and worthwhile and something you should definitely do if you make it to Panama City.