Although visitors to this central American country generally overlook the significance of the Chagres River Panama, we have included this river cruise on our fully guided Caravan Panama tour.
Our tour begins in Panama City, which is recognized internationally as a great place to live, work, and even retire. As well, the architectural ruins and old world heritage buildings of Old Panama (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) continually attract tourists from around the globe.
Panama also gained worldwide recognition in 1914 with the opening of the Panama Canal, an engineering marvel that forever changed shipping and marine transportation between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
However, there is much more to this country than the historical ruins and man-made wonders, and that’s why we have included a Chagres River Panama cruise on our tour.
Panama’s Chagres River cuts through central Panama, crossing the continental divide before draining into the Caribbean Sea. The Chagres River is an integral part of the Panama Canal. The construction of the Gatun Dam across the Chagres River created what at the time was the world’s largest artificial lake. Gatun Lake has since become an important waterway for the tens of thousands of ships and boats that traverse the Panama Canal annually.
The Panama Canal watershed is vital to the continued operation of the Panama Canal. In an effort to protect the natural forests and to ensure sufficient water supply to maintain water levels for the operation of the Panama Canal, the Panamanian government created the Chagres National Park in 1985. Although much of the surrounding environment was disturbed during canal construction, modern day efforts have been made to maintain and restore this important natural resource.
This glorious area and the virgin rainforest jungles in Chagres National Park are the native habitat of many unique species. There’s always a chance you’ll spot the elusive jaguar, a tapir, or several exotic species of monkeys, river otters, and colorful birds. Panama is a nature-lover’s paradise!
Chagres River Bridges
There are two main bridges that span across the Chagres River. The Bridge of the Americas was completed in 1962 and connects the North American continent with the South American continent. The second bridge is part of the Pan-American Highway. It is the newly constructed (2004) Centennial Bridge located just nine miles north of the Bridge of the Americas. Centennial Bridge was constructed to relive the traffic congestion of the older Bridge of the Americas.
Embera Indian Village
The Embera Indians of Panama are unique culturally and one of the original pre-Colombian indigenous peoples of the Central America. The Embera inhabit the lush tropical rainforests of Panama and a short Piedras river trip will bring you to thatched huts in an authentic Embera Indian village.
Here, deep in the rainforests of Panama, where the Embera Indians co-exist with nature and the River, little has changed in the past 500 years since Columbus first discovered America. Piedras River is much smaller than the Chagres River and a little removed from the international attention and congestion of the Panama Canal. The Piedras River is a naturally protected setting and well worth the visit.
There are more than 240 species of reptiles and over 10,000 different types of plants, floral, and fauna in Panama. Caravan Panama tours along the Chagres river also offers plenty of opportunity for visitors to witness the Harpy Eagle (the national bird of Panama) along with howler monkeys, toucans, and many other indigenous members of the wildlife population.
Caravan Panama Tour
River cruises along the Peidras and Chagres River Panama are included as part of our all inclusive Panama Tours. These are exceptionally priced, fully escorted 8-day vacations by Caravan Tours, starting at just $1,295.
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