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“Monkey Watch & Canal Nature Cruise”

Reviewed 21 March 2017

An exhilarating 30-minute boat ride at high speed on which our excursion from our cruise ship, took us to the heart of the Panama Canal.
With a small, covered boat we went through the labyrinth of jungle-covered islands of Lake Gatún. Wildlife was plentiful, we were lucky to encounter capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, various kinds of bird life as well as caimans, and, turtles and numerous butterflies. We had an excellent trained naturalist guide that gave us good explantion of all of the wildlife available and together with the boat driver, good eyes to spot almost hidden wildlife.

1  Thank Jeroen64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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4 - 8 of 33 reviews

Reviewed 4 February 2017 via mobile

We were on a Carribean celebrity cruise and signed up through celebrity cruise shore excursions for the "Colon (cristobal) monkey watch" excursion for our panama port visit.

We paid $99 each and the trip was from 10 AM and arrived back at 3:00.

The tour was through Aventura 2000 and pie tour guide was Alexis

We were fortunate because the weather was perfect. It wasn't raining and the temperature was around 80. No bugs!

We boarded a large tour bus which took 1-1/4 hours to get to the wildlife preserve. Our tour guide was Alexis Anderson who was  VERY knowledgeable and shared some great information on Panama, the History and the people.

Once we arrived at Gamboa , we had access to Clean restrooms and got into small apx 20 passenger canopy boats. Celebrity cruise had advertised "high speed" boats - which isn't what they were -- they went the perfect speed to enjoy the surroundings.

As we traveled through the channel we passed 3 large ships passing through - pretty amazing sight! We also stopped to watch the Panama Canal train pass through.

We veered off the main canal to little tributaries to look for monkeys - and we saw monkeys. We saw groups of howler monkeys "roaring" at us. Lots of babies in the groups. Saw three different types of monkeys. We pulled in a close to the trees at times and the monkey actually jumped onto the canopy of the next boat over to get food (I would recommend bringing some food to feed them to lure them closer in just in case your tour guide didn't bring any). 

A little bit disappointed that we didn't see too much other wildlife but that's not the tours fault.

After our boat ride, we returned to the bus and they had box lunches for us along with Cold water. I wasn't expecting that! 

On the return back to the port, Alexis went from seat to seat asking if there was any recommendations of changes, how we liked the tour and if we had any more questions. He was AMAZING - his interpersonal and people skills were beyond what I have experienced on other tours. He shared some safety tips with us before we got off the bus.

There was no walking on this tour. We went straight from bus to boat and then back onto bus. 

Only one recommendation - Would have been nice to have paper to hand out or share that showed where we were on a map.

A+ tour! A+ tour guide!

3  Thank TootleLou2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 October 2016 via mobile

We booked this tour thru Celebrity Cruise Line as part of our Panama Canal cruise. We were picked up promptly by an air conditioned motor coach at the pier in Colon and driven through town during rush hour to a Melia hotel where we were able to use the restrooms before walking past their beautiful swimming pool to the dock where an open air boat awaited us. We were expecting to go out into the larger area of the lake that is the main thoroughfare for the ships passing thru the canal. Instead we hugged the coast of a small area as sloth, monkeys, and birds were pointed out to us. After about an hour it was off the boat, another bathroom break then boarding the bus again to go the the Gatun Locks. A brief drive and we were driving over one of the new locks for the Panamax ships while viewing a ship in its first lock. Quite impressive. The bus continued on to the visitors center at the Gatun Locks. There is no elevator here. The elevation is steep, the steps are plentiful, and the weather is miserably hot and humid at this time of year. It was worth it to have a birds eye view of the eastbound locks as ships wait for the water to fall so they can pass to the next lock then out to the Atlantic Ocean. We were fortunate to see a ship in both sides with more waiting. The tour guide and the visitor center guide were very knowledgeable.

1  Thank Kathi E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2016 via mobile

We went on the Aventuras 2000 Eco canal tour but I think most tours will be similar . Organisation was ok but the guide did not speak great English and also did not have much in depth knowledge of wildlife . The lake itself and rainforest inlets were interesting we saw a couple of capuchins who seemed to be trained for the tourists (!) leaping into the boat to take nuts. Saw a few turtles , birds , and some lizards . However for the most part the wildlife was not around and even our guide admitted that if you really want to.see and hear the jungle life a 5 or 6 am start would be better . On the way to the lake our car driver spotted a troupe of possibly howlers or spider monkeys way up in the trees which was cool . The trip to the Summit wildlife park /zoo ( sort of rescue centre ) after was underwhelming . We then decided to cut short the tour and skipped the picnic as it was very hot . I have been lucky enough to see monkeys in their natural habitat in a Belize volunteer centre so this tour was probably not for me .

Thank Diane K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 30 December 2015 via mobile

Excellent guide, interesting locations , only thing keeping from being great was the baloney sandwich lunch
Recommend for all ages

1  Thank William G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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