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Gatún Lake Tours

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Gatún Lake
The tree-lined shores, tiny islets, and blue-green waters of Gatún Lake (Lago Gatún) cover what was once the fertile Chagres River Valley. When it was created in 1913, Gatún Lake was the largest man-made lake, buttressed by the biggest dam, in the world. Today, it forms an integral part of the famous Panama Canal.

The Basics
Gatún Lake eco cruises explore islands and lakeside villages before continuing along the Chagres River or the Panama Canal. Zip around the lake on a motorboat, take a small-boat tour to Monkey Island, or kayak around the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. A full-day Gatún Lake tour from Panama City may also include a hike through Chagres National Park, a stop at the Miraflores Locks or the Gatún Locks Visitor Center, or a visit to the indigenous villages of Soberanía National Park. 

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Outdoor activities on the lake include freshwater fishing, waterskiing, and even scuba diving.
  • Wear layered clothing—even when it’s hot on land, it can get chilly out on the water.
  • Some boat cruises are wheelchair accessible, but it’s best to check in advance.

How to Get There
The main gateway to Gatún Lake is Colón on the Atlantic coast, from which regular buses and taxis make the short trip to the Gatún Locks. Most tours set out from Panama City on the Pacific coast, an hour away by road.
 
When to Get There
Gatún Lake cruises run all year round, but the main cruise season is October to April. For the best views of the Panama Canal, avoid visiting between midday and 2pm, when the canal changes direction and no boats pass through the locks. 
 
Wildlife Watching on Gatún Lake
The Panama rainforest that surrounds Gatún Lake is renowned for its biodiversity. Common sightings include capuchin, tamarin, and howler monkeys; iguanas; and a huge variety of exotic birds. As you cruise around the islands, look out for three-toed sloths hanging in the trees, crocodiles lounging by the lakeside, colorful toucans swooping overhead, and perhaps even coati and agouti darting along the shores. 
Address: 40km (25mi) north of Panama City, Panama
Admission: Free, costs for tours vary
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33 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Cultural Tours

SPECIAL OFFER

Embera indigenous community visit

An unique experience where you can step back in time on a tour to visit one of the Emberá communities who still live in traditional villages deep in the rainforest of Panamá, besides the Chagres river inside The Soberania National Park. The Emberá people are proud to share their culture and traditions with visitors.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 62.10
US$ 69.00
US$ 6.90 savings
From  
US$ 62.10
US$ 69.00
US$ 6.90 savings
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation

4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

SPECIAL OFFER

PASEO ISLA MONO - TELEFERICO IN THE CUENCA DEL CANAL

With a special visit to the Panama Canal basin, passing through one of its Natural Reserves where the vast fauna and flora that surrounds us will make us enjoy it. In this tour we will understand the importance of Nature in the operation of the Canal.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 81.00
US$ 90.00
US$ 9.00 savings
From  
US$ 81.00
US$ 90.00
US$ 9.00 savings
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Trips

Lake Gatun Boat Tour Including Kayaking and Lunch

Lake Gatun forms a major part of the Panama Canal, and on this guided boat tour from Panama City, you’ll be able to explore it. During the boat ride, spot different wildlife surrounding the lake, such as sloths, monkeys, iguanas, crocodiles, birds, and more. After lunch, you’ll have the option to take a drip in a spring-fed natural pool, kayak in the lake, or go fishing.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 165.00
From  
US$ 165.00
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Trips

'Capture the Moment' Photography Rainforest Tour on Gatun Lake, Panama Canal

Capture the rich nature and wildlife of Panama’s Gatun Lake like a professional photographer on this guided excursion. Learn to use a DSLR camera with a 150-600 mm telephoto lens on this journey to Gatun Lake and shoot amazing photos of Capuchin and spider monkeys, iguanas and crocodiles, flowers and butterflies. Take your images home with you on an SD card and enjoy a complimentary tour video.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 110.00
From  
US$ 110.00
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Private Sightseeing Tours

Rainforest Photography Expedition on Gatun Lake, Panama Canal

Capture the rich nature and wildlife of Panama’s Gatun Lake like a professional photographer on this guided excursion. Learn to use a DSLR camera with a 150-600 mm telephoto lens on this journey to Gatun Lake and shoot amazing photos of Capuchin and spider monkeys, iguanas and crocodiles, flowers and butterflies. Take your images home with you on an SD card and enjoy a complimentary tour video.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 140.00
From  
US$ 140.00
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation

4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

Ziplining in Panama

This morning you will be transferred to the shores of the gatun lake, this tour takes you for a Zip line into the rainforest and the Gatun lake is a half day tour with certified instructors and equipment, not close your eyes and enjoy the views to the lake and the rainforest along the different 5 stations that this adventure offer to you.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 120.00
From  
US$ 120.00
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation

4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

ECO CHANNEL AND INDIGENOUS VILLAGES

With a special visit to the Panama Canal basin, passing through one of its Natural Reserves where the vast fauna and flora that surrounds us will make us enjoy it. In this tour we will understand the importance of Nature in the operation of the Canal and live with one of the indigenous cultures of the country that are the Embera
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 90.00
From  
US$ 90.00
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation

4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

FISHING IN LAKE GATUN GAMBOA

Relax and enjoy a good dinner of the product of your fishing, enjoy the tranquility of nature and wildlife that surrounds the lake.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 90.00
From  
US$ 90.00
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Trips

Rainforest Photography Expedition on Gatun Lake, Panama Canal

Boarding our unique Rainforest Expedition Photography boat we show you how to use the specialised photography chair, DSLR camera and 150-600mm telephoto lens that we provide. On this 4 ½ hour tour we discuss photo compositions and share tips and settings with you.Traversing a section of the Panama Canal, we photograph huge Ocean Liners up close. Entering Gatun Lake we stop at the popular Monkey Islands to photograph Tamarind and Capuchins. Heading to Tropical secluded inlets and islands, away from all other boats, relax, savour and explore this incredible Rainforest environment as we share insights into one of the most biodiverse locations on our wonderful planet. We spot and photograph Howler and Spider monkeys, iguanas, crocodiles, stunning birds, flowers, butterflies...and maybe an elusive manatee. Your treasured memories are captured on an SD Card which you take away with you. Look forward to the 1-minute tour video that we will send to you.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 140.00
From  
US$ 140.00
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation

4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

Monkey tour in The Gatun Lake

After the pick up at your hotel, we will embark at the Gamboa port to enjoy a pleasent ride in the Gatun lake where all the big vessels transiting the Canal of Panama navigate from ocean to ocean. We will stop in the isolated islands where the monkeys are. They are not afraid of the people so is possible to see them on our boat. The biodiversity of the place is amazing, many kind of bird, turtles, iguanas, reptiles, ecc..
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 59.00
From  
US$ 59.00
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Cruises

Panama Canal Full Transit Tour

Cruise the entirety of the Panamá Canal, from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, during this 12-hour tour in Panamá City. Board a small vessel to travel through all 3 sets of locks that make up the canal. Voyage on Gatun Lake and the Chagres River. Learn about the history and construction of the canal from your guide while you travel. Disembark in Colón and board a shuttle for the return trip to Panamá City. Breakfast, lunch, snacks and beverages are provided on board.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 180.00
From  
US$ 180.00
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Nature & Wildlife

Full-Day Monkey Island and Indian Village Tour from Panama City, Panama

Combine some of the most popular day trips from Panama City, Panama into one day of adventure. This tour includes a boat ride on Lake Gatun, which is part of the Panama Canal, a visit to Monkey Island, which is home to three species of monkeys, and a visit to Soberania National Park and an indigenous village.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 145.00
From  
US$ 145.00
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

Tour Monkey Island and Indian Village

Experience Gatun Lake’s spectacular wildlife and rich culture on this half-day excursion. After a convenient hotel pickup, travel by boat to an island chain in the middle of the Panama Canal that Howlers and other monkey species call home. Learn about these fascinating primates from an informative guide before continuing to an Embera indigenous village where you’ll enjoy a delicious traditional lunch and watch a live music and dance performance.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 125.00
From  
US$ 125.00
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Cruises

Panama Canal Eco-Cruise and Rainforest Discovery Center

Cruise through the Panama Canal by boat for an up-close experience this important waterway. Look for wildlife on the shores of Gatun Lake, and see ships transiting through the canal. Then head to Gamboa and the Pipeline Road in Soberania National Park, and visit the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center.
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  • 6 to 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 110.00
From  
US$ 110.00
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  • 6 to 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Jet Boats & Speed Boats

Tour in the Panama Canal and Monkey Islands

Explore the Panama Canal and learn about its operation on this guided tour. After stopping to check out the Miraflores Locks, visit the Miraflores Lake, the Pedro Miguel Locks, and then drive through the Soberania National Park to the town of Gamboa. There, hop aboard a boat in Gatun Lake where you'll be among ships traveling to the canal. Plus, the tour includes a stop at Monkey Island, home to the white-faced critters.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 70.00
From  
US$ 70.00
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation

4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

Canal Tour - Navigate the Panama Canal

Navigate through the Panama Canal (Wonder of the World) and enjoy with family and friends the experience of looking at the giant gates that open in front of you to access to the Canal locks. During the activity, you will have the opportunity to navigate through: Miraflores Locks, Pedro Miguel Locks, Gaillard Cut, Gatun lake, Chagres river and Gamboa National Park.Itinerary: Departure to the La Playita dock, arrival at the Gamboa dock and return to the La Playita dock in bus.Includes: Breakfast, lunch (only tours from La Playita dock to Gamboa), unlimited soft drinks, bilingual guide and transportation.
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  • 4 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 125.00
From  
US$ 125.00
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  • 4 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Cruises

Gatun Lake Expedition

Immerse yourself in the nature, history and impressive engineering of the Panama Canal during this 45-minute boat tour of Gatun Lake. This major part of the canal is home to abundant tropical wildlife and is surrounded by a lush forest. Aboard a boat with a local guide and captain, visit some of the islands in one of the largest artificial lakes in the world.
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  • 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 37.45
From  
US$ 37.45
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  • 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Day Trips

Panama Canal Full Transit Boat Tour

Experience the Panama Canal on this ocean-to-sea cruise. After a convenient hotel pickup, embark on a 50-mile (80-kilometer) journey through the Isthmus of Panama. Marvel at the canal’s lock systems, elegant bridges, and the dozens of islands in beautiful Gatun Lake. Learn about the canal’s history from a bilingual guide and enjoy a delicious breakfast and lunch included in the tour price.   
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  • 10 to 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 250.00
From  
US$ 250.00
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  • 10 to 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Cruises

Eco Canal Cruise On Gatún Lake And Miraflores Locks

Explore the manmade body of water at the heart of the Panama Canal on a boat tour of Gatún Lake from Panama City. Learn how mountain peaks turned into islands when the canal was flooded, preserving unique wildlife and untouched jungle environments. Watch for monkeys, sloths, and crocodiles as you cruise the shoreline, discover back channels and quiet bays, then learn about the engineering history of the canal at Miraflores Locks.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 180.84
From  
US$ 180.84
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation

4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

Floating Lodge

Panama is an unsung hero when it comes to ecotourism and wildlife watching. Discover what makes this narrow land bridge of a country so special by exploring both day and night in search of native wildlife. Round out your experience on this floating eco-lodge by taking advantage of swimming, hiking, kayaking and fishing opportunities.
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  • 2 days
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 280.00
From  
US$ 280.00
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  • 2 days
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

Canal Tour Ocean to Ocean - Navigate the Panama Canal

Navigate through the Panama Canal (Wonder of the World) and enjoy with family and friends the experience of looking at the giant gates that open in front of you to access to the Canal locks. This is a full-day tour, 8 hours approximately.During the activity, you will have the opportunity to navigate through: The Miraflores locks, Pedro Miguel lock, Culebra Cut, Gamboa National Park, Gatun locks and the Port of Colón 2000.ALL the first Saturdays of each monthHours: 7:30 a.m. (subject to change)Itinerary: Departure to the La Playita dock, arrival at the Port of Colon 2000 and return to the La Playita dock in bus.Includes: Breakfast, lunch, unlimited soft drinks, bilingual guide and transportation to come back.
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  • 8 to 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 170.00
From  
US$ 170.00
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  • 8 to 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Trips

Colon Observation Center of the Canal Expansion From Panama City

Witness the expansion of the Panama Canal during a visit to the Observation Center of the Canal Expansion in Colón. On this 8-hour tour from Panama City with a local guide, learn about the canal's expansion project, which will create a new traffic lane and double the canal's capacity. Stand on the covered observation platform for unobstructed views of the construction and Gatun Lake beyond. Visit the walking trails, the gift shop, the children's playground and have lunch at the onsite restaurant (own expense). Round-trip transportation from Panama City is included.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 285.00
From  
US$ 285.00
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

The Panama Experience - 3 Days Tour

We have combined these activities to tell you and teach you more about Panama and each site you visit. We aim to help you build a long lasting memory of the country, its people, culture and tradition, as well to provide you with the best local experience you can possibly have without a doubt.
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  • 3 days
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 420.00
From  
US$ 420.00
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  • 3 days
  • Free Cancellation

4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

Kayaking in the Chagres River

Explore rowing on a kayak the beautiful Chagres River before it merges at the Gatun lake where the huge vessels and boats transit from Ocean to Ocean. The Chagres river is the main affluent of the Canal. A quite waterway, enjoying the sound of the wild life of this dense tropical forest. You might get the opportunity to see a sloth in a tree, a colorful bird peacefully living in the jungle or at the top the water plants, caimans, turtles among many others species of the local fauna. After a short hike to the small port used by the Embera indigenous at Gamboa, the tour last about 1 hour and 20 minutes (in the kayak) always accompanied by our bilingual guide and probably also by an Embera guide from the area who knows the place better than anyone.
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  • 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 63.00
From  
US$ 63.00
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  • 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation


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(888) 651-9785
(888) 651-9785