Rainforest Activities

Enjoy the best activities in Panama.

Encompassing 55,000 acres on the shores of the Panama Canal, Soberanía National Park is just moments from Gamboa Rainforest Resort, offering eco-adventurers a magnificent range of activities and natural attractions to explore.

Our staff will provide you with an extraordinary rainforest adventure. We are available to make recommendations on things to do and to assist with arranging all tours, activities and excursions.


Emberá Indigenous Community

Discover the roots of Embera and Wuanaan ethnic groups, two of the indigenous people who inhabit the isthmus of Panama, on the banks of the Chagres River. Just minutes away, on the peninsula of San Antonio, are the communities Ella Puru and Katuma, whose inhabitants will warmly welcome you. The community leader will explain about their customs, lifestyle and culture, give a tour of the trails where their ancestors hunted and found medicinal plants, and even be part of their known traditional dances.

Duration: 3 hours

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

What to bring: Comfortable clothing, walking shoes, insect repellent, water and camera. 

Hiking Trails

Hiking along the trails is easy. There are four of them, of various lengths and well identified. Large tropical trees, monkeys in their branches, much wildlife is evident, so bring your camera.  This is part of the Gamboa Rainforest experience that you can take at your own pace. Depending on the time of day and the season you may be fortunate to meet some of the capybaras, agoutis and iguanas that run freely between the leaves. You can choose from our four hiking trails: La Chunga, La Laguna, El Dique or Matapalo.

Duration: depending on the trail, it may take from 20 minutes up to 1 hour.

Level of Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

What to bring: Hiking shoes, comfortable clothing, sunblock, water


A veritable ¨Birders Heaven¨, Panama offers some of the best bird watching in the world and is home to nearly 1,000 species of birds. This beautiful and very accessible country offers a great diversity of neotropical bird species; many very difficult to find elsewhere. Excellent bird and animal watching locations can be easily accessed and a difficult and arduous hike is not necessary to find the animals. The Panama Canal Forest of Central Panama, is one of the 3 most important birding areas in the country. Choose from any of our three options for Birding tours:

  • Birdwatching along the Pipeline Rd.
  • Birdwatching in the Gamboa Resort Grounds.
  • Birding by boat in the Chagres River and Gatun Lake.

Duration: depending on the tour

Level of Difficulty: easy to moderate

What to bring: Comfortable clothing, camera, binoculars, sunblock, insect repellent.

For more information, go to http://www.birdingpanamagamboa.com/

Pipeline Road Walking Trail

The Pipeline Road got its name in the 1940’s as the Allies carved out this trail from the wilderness to accommodate a petroleum pipeline that was never finished.  Today it is famous for hosting over 350 species of birds, and is a favourite of the Audubon Society members. Here you are guaranteed to connect with nature and from the depths of the rainforest you will discover its best kept secrets. Following the Pipeline Road you will find a remarkable ecosystem, 17 kilometers long. Those with fine-tuned senses are likely to spot butterflies, amphibians, monkeys and dozens of other wild creatures.

Duration: 3 hours

Level of Difficulty: Moderate to heavy

What to bring: Comfortable clothing, hiking shoes, binoculars, water, insect repellent and camera.

*Does not include $5.00 park fee.

Nature Labs

If you are an enthusiast of the tropical rainforest flora and fauna, this tour with various living laboratories is ideal. It is designed to acquaint you with the life cycle and habitat of some of the most interesting species of Central America.

Butterfly Farm: green gardens where you can appreciate, depending on the season, between 15 to 20 natives species. 

Frog Pond: curious miniature world that recreates the tropical environment where these small amphibians live.

Orchid Nursery: a fascinating way to learn the types of orchids growing throughout Panama.

Embera Market: Handicrafts are made by indigenous habitants since pre columbian times. Their crafts include rosewood animal carvings, elegant baskets from the fibers of the nahuala plant and many other items.

Duration: 1 hour

Level of Difficulty: easy

What to bring: Comfortable cloth and shoes, sunblock, water and camera.

Night Safari Ride

Step aboard our “Chiva” truck for a safari-style ride around the resort as a naturalist guide explains the nocturnal inhabitants and activities of the rainforest. This activity is complimentary with your stay.

Time: one hour
Level of difficulty: easy to moderate

Wildlife Rescue Center

The Gamboa Wildlife Rescue Center is managed and operated by the Pan American Conservation Association, which is a non profit organisation that rescues, rehabilitates and releases wild animals. A group of volunteers is responsible to teach our visitors about the local wildlife and give them a tour of the facilities where they care for injured or endangered animals. 

For more information about a visit, please check APPC website.

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Aerial Tram

This cruise offers a unique perspective of wildlife, a journey of 600 meters aboard a gondola that rises above the rainforest to appreciating view points otherwise unachievable on the ground. At a height almost touching the treetops you will have the possibility to see a wide variety of birds that nest there, sloths, and several species of monkeys.

Observation Tower

At the end of the Aerial Tram tour, you will find an impressive 30-meter high observation tower made with ramps for easy wheelchair access. From the top, you can appreciate the privileged 360º-view of the Soberania National Park, the Embera indigenous communities nearby, and the famous intersection where the  Chagres River feeds the Panama Canal and subsequently filling the Gatun Lake to ensure the passage of ships.

Duration: 90 minutes

Level of Difficulty: easy to moderate

What to bring: Comfortable cloth and shoes, insect repellent, water and camera.

Closed on Mondays


Freshwater Fishing

According to local legends, native language in Panama means "abundance of fish and butterflies", so you will not want to miss the opportunity to fish on its waters. The Gamboa Tarpon Club, strategically located at the point where the Chagres River connects Lake Gatun, is recognized for organizing fishing expeditions tailored to the Panama Canal, allowing you to choose between quiet locations in the middle of the rainforest and sectors where the passage of the giant ships passing through the waterway is appreciated. This lush area is home to species like the Sergeant, tarpon, snook, among others.

This tour includes: Tackle, bait, rods, snacks and refreshments.

Duration: 3 or 6 hours.

Level of difficulty: Easy to Moderate

What to bring: Sunblock, hat, camera

Panama Canal Kayaking

Anyone can take a boat onto the Panama Canal. But fortunate few can venture onto the Panama Canal kayaking.  An adventure without comparison promises this kayak tour through the Panama Canal, where you will find a setting surrounded by quiet nature and, as a backdrop, contrasting with colossal freighters crossing from one ocean to another. You will paddle between the secret islands nested by Gatun Lake, full of spectacular wild tropical flora, where you may encounter some of the monkeys and beautiful birds.

Duration: 3 hours

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

What to bring: Ziplock bags, Comfortable clothing, sunglasses or hat, sunblock, and camera with a ziplock bag.

Gatun Lake and Panama Canal Expedition

If you consider yourself an adventurer looking for a wonderful memory, this boat journey into the heart of Lake Gatun, the world's second largest artificial lake, will be one of your favourites. In a tour that combines history and ecology, you will navigate through the Panama Canal to hidden islands where, should conditions be favorable, you will see families of capuchin, howler and white-face monkeys.

In the stillness of the lake you can enjoy the magnificent sounds of tropical secondary forest, encounter with exotic birds or simply marvel at the spectacular machinery and architecture of the Canal Zone.

Duration: 1 hour

Level of Difficulty: Easy

What to bring: Sunglasses, sunblock, water, and camera.

Chagres River Kayaking

In pre-Columbian times, natives of the region traveled the Chagres River in their wood canoes, and later, those who built the Panama Canal navigate it in small boats. Now, you can do the same on one of our modern kayaks. If desired, after enjoying the lovely view from the waterway, you hike back to the hotel by La Chunga Trail to have another view of the fascinating secondary forest in Gamboa.

Duration: 1 or 3 hours.

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

What to bring: Ziplock bags, Comfortable clothing, sunglasses, sunblock, and camera with a ziplock bag.

Chagres River Boat Tour

This ride is an entertaining way to quickly learn many of the features of the Chagres River, one of the most important in the country, because it feeds the artificial lakes that allow the passage of ships through the Panama Canal. Its banks are central to the local ecosystem, harboring lush trees and beautiful flowers, hundreds of species of animals, insects and various indigenous communities of different ethnicities.

Duration: 40 minutes

Level of Difficulty: Easy

What to bring: Comfortable clothing, sunglasses, sunblock, and camera.

Night Safari Boat Ride

Indulge in the calm offered by the tropical forest at night and, by the reflection of the moon on the Chagres River, navigate through calm waters in search of birds and nocturnal animals. With the help of reflectors and flashlights, our guide will point out the places where caimans and crocodiles of all sizes usually hunt their prey. If you're lucky you can see their eyes shine with the reflection of the headlights and follow them as they swim down the river.

Duration: 1 hour

Level of Difficulty: easy to moderate

What to bring: Comfortable clothing, insect repellent and flashlight.

Sunset Boat Tour

The earthen colors of the sunset on the Chagres River will provide an unforgettable closing to your day in the Rainforest.  Here you will awaken your senses as you smoothly enter the tributary that feeds water to the Panama Canal, and which is home to many plants, animals and some indigenous communities. As the sun goes down, the pleasant golden light will allow you to witness the evening ritual of some of the many birds that nest in nearby trees and at that time go down in search for food. If you are lucky, you may find some sloths or agoutis looking for their lair before dark.

Duration: 1 hour

Level of Difficulty: easy

What to bring: comfortable clothing, repellent, camera.

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Our Sensory Spa by Clarins is a place where spiritual and physical wellbeing take center stage. We invite you to relax and enjoy a wide variety of spa options in refined and well-appointed atmospheres. In addition to five private treatment rooms, spa amenities include a fitness center, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi and a beauty salon. We can also arrange for a boat ride with a massage for two on the Chagres River.

For more information about the Spa, please email or phone (507) 314-5014.  View our Spa menu by clicking here.

Spa Appointments
For the best results, we suggest you arrive 20 to 30 minutes before your appointment in order to use the wet areas and be well prepared for your treatment.

Our guides

Meet Rosibel or better known as Rosy.

Living surrounded by nature since childhood, it awakened her love for wildlife, especially birds. In addition to sharing information on the ecology and history of Panama, also enjoys learning about the culture of the visitors. She graduated with a BA in Tourism from the University of Panama. One of our guides who participated in a training week for guides in Bush Garden, Florida. 

Our guides


Born in the province of Panama, Natalia has been naturalist guide for over 5 years. She graduated in Ecotourism at the University of Panama. Enjoy outdoor activities, especially hiking. What she likes the most about being a guide is to have the opportunity to share her culture and knowledge about ecology with visitors. Bilingual Spanish and English.

Our guides


He is a historian by profession and passion. Its Spanish origin, aroused his curiosity about the story that connected Panama with Spain. In his tours, he always tries to transmit enough data to the history and ecology of the area, but at the same time his groups have a good time full of good humor, an attitude for which he is well known.

Our guides

You must meet Nodiel.

Nodiel studied in schools in the old Panama Canal Zone. He was a guide in the Natural Metropolitan Park, considered the lungs of the city of Panama, where he took visitors on tours along the park trails. With more than 15 years of experience as a tour and hiking guide, he likes to collect orchids and considered himself as a Panama Canal history buff. Bilingual Spanish and English.

Our guides


At a young age, Emilio began enjoying the Panamanian nature, visiting the Santa Maria River and gallery forests which amaze him all the time. Studied Tourism at the University of Panama. He participated in a training week for guides in Bush Garden, Florida. For 7 years he has shared his interest and knowledge about the history of Panama and its natural resources with tourists from around the world who visit Gamboa.

Our guides

This is Gina.

Gina holds a BA in Humanities with Specialisation in Geographical and Ecological Tourism of the University of Panama. Transmitting her love for nature and how your senses are tested in the Gamboa tropical environment is what she enjoys the most. Her favourite topics are animals, especially monkeys and their behaviour. Bilingual Spanish and English.

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