Monkey Island
Monkey Island
4.5
About
Located in the middle of Lake Gatun, this island is a unique and fun-filled destination that lets you get up close and personal with monkeys. These curious creatures will come right up to your boat and even jump on board in hopes of a bite of fruit. Monkey Island can only be accessed through a tour (usually from Panama City), which can be combined with a visit to the sloth sanctuary or a rainforest walk. The best time to visit is during the dry season (December to April) when the weather is clear and the monkeys are the most active. – Tripadvisor
Duration: 2-3 hours
Does not meet animal welfare guidelines
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles678 reviews
Excellent
425
Very good
137
Average
69
Poor
33
Terrible
14

LaraKZ
Prague, Czech Republic216 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
We did a trip to Monkey Island few years back and wanted to return to show the place to our kids and have to say it`s really much more busy than it used to be which of course plays as a negative but still nice to do.
First of all I think most tourists just care for the monkey feeding photo which is wrong and they should enjoy the ride itself and try to spot the wild life around and also take advantage of being so close to the big ships crossing towards locks.
If you chose to go ideally take the earliest trip in the morning not only because the monkeys will be more likely hungry and willing to come to the boat but also because you will avoid some crowds. We had a guide but you can just take a boat from the dock, even those guys know how to call the monkeys but practically if they are hungry they will come just as they hear the boat motor if not there is no chance they come but you can still spot them in the trees.
This time our guide managed to show us beside Capuchin and tamarin monkeys also the hawlers - they will not come to boat but you can see them well in trees.
What we really enjoyed was also watching the big ships passing and for bird watching you have a lot of opportunities we have seen many type of birds: toucans, woodpecker, snail kites, herons etc.
So definitely go for it if possible in a smaller or private tour and be respectful to nature.
Written 26 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Celia C
8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
Your tour is done by boat. Monkey island is in the Panama Canal so you are able to be in the canal with big ships. We went early in the morning and were able to see all three types of monkeys. They were active and jumping on our boat for banana’s. It was a small boat and only held four in our group although 2-3 more people could have fit. The tour only lasted approximately 3 1/2 hours from when we were picked up at our hotel but that was enough time. It was fun and I would recommend it.
Written 5 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Emily B
12 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022
This was an awesome tour!

However before you book, please be informed that for this entire 2 hours tour you will spend the entire time seated in small boat without access to a restroom, The bus ride from the city to the dock is about an hour plus another 30 minutes across the canal to the island. The monkeys come to the boat for a snack and depending on your seat in the boat depends on the amount of interaction you have with the monkeys.

The guides are very knowledgeable and call for the monkeys from the boat. I recommend you tour early in the morning. By the afternoon, most monkeys were full from the morning tours and were not interested in coming out for a visit.
Written 9 October 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Leti12
Baltimore, MD22 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
First of all to get to Monkey Island you must travel by boat across and along the Panama Canal, which is an adventure in-and-of itself! Make sure you have a guide who is familiar with the operation of the Canal so that you can get the most out of the trip to the Island. Spending time with the monkeys is absolutely AMAZING! They will join you on the boat especially if there are bananas and citrus fruits involved. They eat the bananas (of course) and "wash up" with the citrus fruits. The citrus fruits help them to get rid of skin irritation and insects. It's one of the cutest things I've ever seen to watch them "wash" from head to toe with a piece of lime or orange!
Written 8 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brian K
Snohomish, WA13 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Awesome experience! We had three different types of monkeys jump into our boat and eat bananas from our hands. One was no more than a foot long and gently scooped a piece of banana from my hand. It felt like baby fingers. Sat next to me and ate for a few seconds. Cuter than a bugs ear. Also saw iguanas, an alligator and various florescent butterflies. Highly recommend.
Written 24 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RDHiscott
Lion's Head, Canada385 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
Part of an Eco Canal excursion, speed boats take you to the shoreline edge of Monkey Island where tour guides hoot and whistle to attract white-faced monkeys down to the boats. Though wary and timid, the monkeys will come right onto the boat if they know food (bananas, other fruit) is onboard. Fun to spot in the trees and watch close up and at a distance. Our guides took the boats to several different places along the shore to attract the monkeys with some success. A true close encounter with wildlife in their natural habitat!
Written 27 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

E Rich
31 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019
Enjoy the boat ride. You may or may not see many monkeys depending on the mood of the monkeys. We did see monkeys and got some great photos. We saw caimans, frogs, birds and other wildlife as well. The boat ride across Gatun Lake was good but meandering along the shores of the island, spotting the wildlife was excellent. Thoroughly enjoyed this.
Written 9 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kelsey
Salt Lake City, UT31 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • Family
We paid $55 a person to leave from the Gamboa public dock. Both our babies that are 4 years and 1 year old didn't cost anything. We had 6 adults and the 2 kids so we had a boat to ourselves. Our guide was great and gave us a great tour. We were able to feed bananas to tamarin monkeys and capuchin monkeys. The monkeys came right on the boat and took the bananas out of our hands. We also saw howler monkeys up in the trees and a bunch of different bird species. Our guide showed us basilisk lizards as well as iguanas. We also saw a on the way back. We left around 8 in the morning from the dock which seemed to be a good time to go out and see the wildlife. The boat ride through that canal was also great to see the ships up closer.
Written 10 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Erin A
Atlanta, GA5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2021
We took this trip while in Panama and had a great time. We did a morning trip, leaving on the boat around 9a. It was raining in the beginning but ended up clearing for most of the trip. Luckily the boats do have a canopy but I recommend brining a poncho just in case. And bug spray!
Like many reviewers have posted before me, the monkeys come right onto the boat for some nibbles. It was great! They were gentle, grabbed their food and went back to the trees. Saw a mom carrying a little baby, too.
In addition to the monkeys, we saw a lot of birds, Toucan, Iguana, Capybara and a small gator. It was also pretty spectacular to see the giant ships passing through the canal up close.
Written 12 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TravelingSoccerLoon
Saint Paul, MN5,377 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
Visiting Gatun Lake and Monkey Island is a must-see experience when visiting Panama City. There are many tour operators that offer this trip, and I had a good experience with Safe Transportation and their Monkey Island and Panama Canal Eco Tour. I had a terrific guide who was very knowledgeable and was a great communicator. On the way to Gatun Lake, we made a brief stop at the Pedro Miguel Locks for some viewing of ships as they navigate the canal. After hopping on a small speedboat, we headed out on Gatun Lake and to Monkey Island. Our guide knew several spots to find the monkeys and we had a couple different species including the white-faced capuchin monkeys climbing onto our boat enjoying taking the food that we offered from our hands. We additionally saw and heard some howler monkeys and spotted a crocodile. Getting close up to the huge container ships in the lake was pretty cool as well. 4 hours was plenty of time needed to enjoy this experience.
Written 11 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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MONKEY ISLAND: All You MUST Know Before You Go (2024)

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