Panama Canal Eco-Tour with Panama Tours Tours of the Panama Canal are popular, with many different tour companies offering them. But if you want something different, that allows you to see both the workings of the canal as well as the jungle and wildlife surrounding it, the Small Boat Panama Eco Tour offered by Panama Tours is the way to go. We ended up with Captain Carl, an American from Missouri who has been in Panama for nearly 12 years now. We were with 7 other people, from Spain, France, India and Canada. The Small Boat Panama Eco Tour was perfect, because it not only took us down the Panama Canal where Carl pointed out history of the canal, boats that have been there since post-WWII, the current dredging and expansion going on, etc. — but he also took us on small tributaries, rivers and lakes that spin off the canal to see the wildlife and jungle that grows on all sides and right up to the edge of the canal. As we made our way through the tributaries, we saw capuchin and howler monkeys, more crocodiles, iguanas, frogs and many bird species. We drifted through mangrove forests while Carl explained the various native trees and wildlife species. When we stopped by trees that were filled with monkeys, the creatures came right up to the boat. We fed them peanuts and one cheeky bugger even stole a banana from a passenger! Captain Carl then steered the boat to his Jungle Lodge getaway — a floating home with six guest rooms and an attached houseboat, where we ate lunch and enjoyed a top-tier deck with hammocks in the afternoon breeze. After lunch Carl led us on a kayak excursion through the tributaries, to a small waterfall. Carl was quite the character, full of jokes and stories, translating from English to Spanish and back again. All in all, it was an informative, interesting and highly enjoyable day. I liked being on a small boat with just a handful of other people, and considering the fact that the Panama Canal cuts right through the jungle, I really enjoyed being able to see, experience and even interact with the wildlife in the jungle.
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