Panama Canal Eco-Cruise and Rainforest Discovery Center

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Panama Canal Eco-Cruise and Rainforest Discovery Center
from £93.98
In this tour you will travel the Panama Canal by boat and see transiting ships up close as well as the diverse wildlife on the shores of Gatun Lake.  Afterwards, you can immerse yourself in the raw beauty of Gamboa and the world famous Pipeline Road with a visit to the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center.
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In Brief

Panama City, Panama
6 to 7 hours
See Availability
Get up-close to native wildlife
All entrance fees included
Free hotel pickup and drop-off included
Lunch included
Informative, friendly and professional guide
Small-group tour by minibus
Important InfoInfo
To start this tour, you will follow the Panama Canal north to the town of Gamboa, where the Chagres River meets the canal.  You will ride along the waters of the Panama Canal right next to the ships passing through on their way to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  Your destination is Gatun Lake, where you will cruise around islands created during the canal construction and see the abundant wildlife on their shores. 

You will visit the famous Monkey Islands where you can see capuchins, howlers, and tamarins up close in their natural habitat.  Once you finish with your canal and lake boat ride (around 90 minutes), you will head to the famous Pipeline Road in Soberania National Park.  One of the premiere birding spots in the world, the Pipeline Road will give you an opportunity to travel through a mature rain forest that is full of an incredible mix of wildlife.  A bird count here organized by the Audubon Society set a record when 385 species were observed in 24 hours.  Here you will visit the Rainforest Discovery Center, an environmental education project administered by the Fundación Avifauna. 

You will visit the canopy of the rainforest on a 100 ft. (32 m) observation tower and see an amazing abundance of birds and animals from the different viewing levels.  A walk along the trails on the rainforest floor will take you to a panoramic view of the lake where you can see different species of water fowl and aquatic animals. You will surround yourself with hundreds of hummingbirds at the hummingbird feeders where you will enjoy a freshly made picnic lunch.  Once you finish up at the Rainforest Discovery Center we will return to Panama City for hotel drop off.


  • All taxes, fees and handling charges
  • National Park fees
  • Lunch
  • All activities
  • Driver/guide
  • Professional guide
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off (selected hotels only)
  • Transport by air-conditioned minibus
  • Entry/Admission - Panama Canal
  • Entry/Admission - Soberania National Park
  • Entry/Admission - Gatun Lake
  • Entry/Admission - Monkey Island
  • Entry/Admission - Panama Rainforest Discovery Center


  • Gratuities
  • Due to heavy traffic, no free pickup from hotels located Outside Panama city.

Departure Point

Traveler pickup is offered
Pickup from centrally located Panama City hotels in the following areas:
• El Cangrejo
• Obarrio
• Punta Pacifica
• San Francisco
• Punta Paitilla
• Avenida Balboa
• Bella Vista
• Casco Viejo
• Marbella
• Financial District
• El Dorado
• Bethania

Additional Information

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
  • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Child rate applies only when sharing with 2 paying adults
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • A minimum of 2 people per booking is required
  • The tour starts in a very remote area and there will be no access to public restrooms until around 8:30am. There is a sheltered latrine available for women at the dock but it is very rustic.
  • Minors are not allowed on the Canopy Tower
  • Minimum age is 3 years
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 travelers

Booking Information

You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

Cancellation Terms

This trip is fully refundable up to 96 hours prior to the commencement of your trip.

Booking Terms and Conditions

When you book this trip, you need to read and accept the terms and conditions for booking our day trips in excursions.

Hotel Pickup

When you book, we will ask you to select a hotel to be picked up from. Once your booking is confirmed, we'll send you a confirmation voucher with full contact information (phone number, email address) for our local operator in case you need to update or change your hotel pick-up details.

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about hotel pickup:

What if my hotel is not listed?
That's okay. When you book you can select an hotel from our list and make your way there on the day of departure; or you can contact our local operator directly to make alternate pick-up arrangements.

What if I have not yet booked a hotel?
Once your hotel arrangements are finalised, you can contact our local operator directly with your hotel details.

What if I live locally, am staying with friends or relatives, and/or don't require pick-up?
Once your booking is confirmed, we'll send you complete details and directions to the tour/activity departure point.

Scoring an average traveller rating of 4.96 out of 5 based on the last 24 recent reviews

We were in awe from beginning to end. Our guide Jerin and his sidekick Will with their abundant knowledge and trained eyes, pointed out several species of birds and fauna that we would have missed otherwise. One of the many highlights was the Sloth cuggling her baby that Jerin spotted. Will prepared an excellent lunch which we enjoyed while observing the hummingbirds
• Submitted 16 Jan 2019
Fun tour with a knowledgable and friendly guide.
• Submitted 23 May 2018
This was an awesome experience! Jerin, our guide, was knowledgeable, personable, and went above and beyond to make our trip memorable! We boated on the Panama canal, fed monkeys, hiked through the rain forest and had a wonderful lunch made by him! He also got us a driver for the next day to take us anywhere we wanted to go. Just a wonderful day and I highly recommend!!
• Submitted 22 Mar 2018
This tour was a good balance of nature and history. Enrique, our guide, was fantastic. He was super knowledgeable about the history of the canal, how it operates and the nature all around. He lead a laid back tour and was a lot of fun. He even gave a us a great recommendation for dinner where we had delicious local food. We were very satisfied with this tour.
• Submitted 25 Feb 2018
Jerin is an amazing guide with fun stories, knowledge and know how to spot birds, animals, plant species
• Submitted 03 Jan 2018
what a wonderful day we had with the company panama day tours eco-cruise. the owner is jarin and he really knows his business. he really knows the rain forest with all the plants, birds, and animals. he took us as much time as we wanted and he is very compassionate about his work and passing it on to his clients. the boat ride was wonderful and we pulled up to 3 inlands and monkeys we waiting for us and hoped on the boat to get fruit. then we walked thru the rainforest looking at different plants and watching for birds and animals. we ended with a very nice lunch fresh sandwich, chips, fruit and water and visited with the other guest and was surrounded with hummingbirds. great day!!!!!
• Submitted 28 Aug 2017
Amazing tour. Guides were knowledgeable with a passion for their country. Saw lots of wildlife, historical sites, close to ships in the canal and tour of new visitor center at the new Agua Clara locks. Well worth the money!!!
• Submitted 26 Apr 2017
We were picked up right on time, very close to our apartment, as arranged. John was an excellent tour guide, providing us with lots of interesting information, about the animals and about the canal and the lake. The driver was excellent, too. We didn't see as much wildlife as I had hoped, but that was no one's fault. We did get to feed the monkeys and saw a lizard, a turtle, and a few birds. I climbed the tower, and we had lunch among the hummingbirds.
• Submitted 14 Apr 2017
This was one of the best tours. Our guide was so knowledgeable about the Panamanian history and provided in depth insight into the building and history of the Canal. When we got to the rainforest, his knowledge of flora, fauna and animals was amazing. Lunch with the hummingbirds, priceless!
• Submitted 11 Apr 2017
We enjoyed john from Venezuela and our driver Jorge. They were COOL. John gave us a history lesson on our drive to rainforest and while boating through the canal. we got lucky to see an anteater, a sloth, several species of birds and monkeys. They served a lovely fresh sandwich and added plantain chips and fresh sweet pineapple with juice. These guys were there to please. Thanks
• Submitted 18 Mar 2017
I would really recommend this tour. The boat ride along the ships on the canal was great. I really enjoyed feeding the monkeys. I did not feel pressured to rush with any activity. Walking up the tower and seeing the rainforest was very nice. Our guide from Venezuela, spoke great English and was VERY knowledgeable and helpful about various species in the rainforest. Our driver also spoke great English and drove us safely around. I am glad I took the early tour - the group was smaller and more individualized. We had time then to tour the cannal lockes by ourselves. I thought this was part of this tour - but it was not - that I was a little disappointed with. But the tour dropped us off at the lockes which made me extremely happy. Pick up at the hotel was a little un-nerving - but when I called Viator - they were right on helping us - connecting with the tour group and getting us connected. Again - a very worth while tour for the low price paid.
• Submitted 20 Feb 2017
Although the tour bus was stuck in traffic, the owner used his own vehicle to pick us up to bring us to a central location so we did not loose too much time. very nice touch! The guide was excellent. The tour of the canal was very good, lots of explanation, visited several of the islands to see various monkeys, got to feed the white faced capuchin monkeys some grapes. The tour of the rainforest and the Discovery Center was excellent. Climbing the 170 steps up to the top of the tower was worth it for the views. We got to eat lunch back at the center while the hundreds of hummingbirds fed from the feeders. Very worthwhile trip.
• Submitted 08 Feb 2017
Our guide John and driver showed up exactly on time at our hotel, and it was not long before we were on the water, the Chagres river, and into the Canal for a wonderful. day. John knew and amazing amount of history about the Panama and about the Canal, had excellent English. He knew where to find wildlife and did, and I saw many birds I had not seen before. My wife loved the monkeys who climbed right into our boat. We passed big shops on the Canal, and had a great hike into the rainforest, good lunch, more wildlife. Nothing was missing from this experience. An excellent half-day tour, with knowledgeable and hospitable guides.
• Submitted 07 Feb 2017
Our tour started with a wonderful boat ride where we fed the monkeys - unreal!! Our guide was very knowledgeable and gave us sufficient time to enjoy the scenery and monkeys. Afterwards, we went to the rainforest discovery center where we climbed a tower and had breathtaking views. Lastly, we had a simple lunch. While the entire excursion did not last 8 hours, we were all thoroughly exhausted. We had an outstanding time and would do it again.
• Submitted 30 Jan 2017
Well thought out agenda for this trip which gave me an introduction to both the Canal and Rainforest. Our guide John was both enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Everything from being contacted the night before to eventual drop-off at the hotel at the conclusion of the tour, ran exactly the way it was suppose to.
• Submitted 25 Jan 2017
We were picked up at the exact time we were asked to be ready at 7.05AM. The early tour avoided rush hour traffic getting out in later back in to the city and we also were back before it really gets hot and humid in the rain forest. The best part was definitely the boat trip on the Panama canal yes - those ocean freighters are really big compared to the boat you are in, but you will never get closer to them in your life unless you are working on one of them and to the jungle islands where you see lots of wildlife and feed several different breeds of monkeys when they jump on the boat. We were surprised on how well behaved and clean they are - nothing to be scared about at all - just a great experience for all ages. We didn't have any kids on our trip, but I can imagine parents would have a hard time to explain to them why they can't take one home. Our guide John was very knowledgeable in anything related to the wildlife and the eco system of the rainforest and how it relates to everyone in the world. The drive to and walk in the rainforest was easy and a great experience, especially if you have not been in other rainforests before. This is probably he easiest and fastest way to get into the midst of a rainforest, as it is so close to a major city. We saw many different birds and critters on the ground - amazing how they are not scared of humans. The lunch was more like a snack, but it was most welcome to sit on a viewing platform surrounded by hummingbirds re-hydrate and relax as the conclusion of the tour. We were back at the hotel by 2.00PM, so even if you just have one day in Panama City, you could attend this tour or just the boat portion if you don't want to walk through the rainforest and still would have time to get a real lunch, see the city and have a nice dinner somewhere.
• Submitted 08 Jan 2017
Fantastic tour - our guide was very friendly, incredibly knowledgeable and went out of his way to ensure our entire group got the most out of the experience! Would definitely recommend this tour to anyone planning a trip to Panama City!
• Submitted 18 Dec 2016
We had a great time, lots of wildlife and countryside to see. Tod and John were our very knowledgeable guides, lovely guys. The Gatun locks were amazing to see as was also the trip along the chagres river, we saw up close the different monkeys which was awsome. Lovely time, would recommend doing this tour.
• Submitted 06 Dec 2016
Tour was awesome, guides were the best and very knowledgeable and lunch was delicious!! Everything we hoped for.
• Submitted 05 Dec 2016
An excellent introduction to the canal, wildlife and environs of Panama City conducted by two extremely knowledgeable locals. All their tours are a cut above the rest. Great for family outings I would think.
• Submitted 20 Nov 2016
Had a great time and would tell anyone looking to do a canal tour - this is the one to take! Don't look any where else. Had a great time.
• Submitted 14 Nov 2016
Fantastic tour with an enthusiastic guide. Jarin truly cares about Panama and is very knowledgable, answering even our most ridiculous of questions. We skip the city for more of the jungle and the canal, which was perfect. Between boating on Gatún lake as giant cargo ships go by to monkeys. Worth.
• Submitted 26 Sep 2016
THE BEST TOUR I HAVE BEEN ON!!! As i am sitting here drinking my coffee back at home i have to say the experience exceed my expectation i had for this tour. If you are a type of person to sit down on your butt all day this tour will get you out. If you want to kidnapped a monkey and take him home with you, you probably could have but i wouldn't do such thing. The lunch was great and simple. You have to experience it for yourself nothing i can say will satisfy the review they deserve. Thank you for such a great time! PS i usually never write review but i had to for this one
• Submitted 08 Aug 2016
It was a perfect tour in the rainforest near Panama City. We saw a lot of animals. The guide was very competent. You was able to answer all our question. On the other we appreciate that he helps us to do our own experiences. We would go for the tour once more. The only problem was that because of the dry season we did not see so many animals as expected. But this was clear for us even before the tour.
• Submitted 05 Mar 2018

In Brief

Panama City, Panama
6 to 7 hours
See Availability
Get up-close to native wildlife
All entrance fees included
Free hotel pickup and drop-off included
Lunch included
Informative, friendly and professional guide
Small-group tour by minibus