Panama Canal Rainforest Boat Adventure

panama canal wildlife monkey island animals gatun lake

TOUR DESCRIPTION Aboard an expedition boat explore the waters of the Panama Canal through coves and inlets in search of wildlife including countless species of birds, reptiles and several species of monkeys. The most comfortable and accessible way to discover the natural attributes of the Panama Canal watershed. The Best Day Tour in Panama!


4+ persons: US$140 per person + 7% tax
2-3 persons: US$255 per person + 7% tax
**please contact us for private boat prices**

INCLUDED Bilingual naturalist guide, picnic lunch, transportation from/to your hotel in Panama City (please note that a $35 per person roundtrip surcharge based on 2+ persons must be added to day tours beginning and/or ending at Playa Bonita or hotels near Tocumen Airport)

DISCLAIMER Prices and itineraries are correct at the time of printing, however they are subject to change due to weather or local conditions, availabilities or factors beyond our control.


Early in the morning you are picked up at the lobby of your hotel by an Ancon Expeditions of Panama Naturalist Guide for a 45 minute drive to the town of Gamboa, where the Chagres River meets the Panama Canal. Here you board an expedition boat and depart on an adventure that will include a voyage across Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal passing by gigantic cargo ships transiting the waterway, making contrast with the natural surroundings. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to spot Green iguana and Three-toed sloth resting on tree branches, Crocodile, Osprey in the hunt for Peacock bass, Snail kite and Keel-billed toucan among other wildlife.

Gatun Lake was formed to give way to the Panama Canal in 1914. With a surface of 423 square-kilometers, at the time of its creation was the largest man-made lake in the world. The flow of all the rivers within the Panama Canal Watershed is contained in Gatun Lake to provide water for the operation of the lock system. More than 52 million gallons of fresh water are used for every ship that transits through the Panama Canal from one ocean to another.

Your expedition boat will allow for close approximations to rainforest covered islands (former hill tops) in Gatun Lake to search for White-faced Capuchin, Mantled Howler Monkey, Central American Spider Monkey, and Geoffroy’s Tamarin. Enjoy the extraordinary views of the Panama Canal and the natural surroundings with snacks on the boat before you return early afternoon back to your hotel. Picnic lunch on boat included.

The Panama Canal Rainforest Boat Adventure is highly recommended by Frommers, especially for kids.



  • 7:30 hrs Approximate pick up time at your hotel in Panama City (depending on your hotel location)
  • 4-5 hours Approximate tour duration

Check our SPECIALS SECTION for current "open tours" with already passengers signed up or review our green season Specials!


  • Binoculars 
  • Refill water bottle
  • Camera
  • Cap or hat
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Insect Repellant
  • Light clothing
  • Light raincoat
  • Tennis shoes or sandals


Ancon Expeditions is Panama’s top eco-tourism operator. Our Natural & Cultural History Guides are the country's finest. Due to frequently asked questions from our clients about suggested guide & staff gratuities, we would like to provide you with the following universal tipping guidelines:

  • Naturalist guide/Tour leader: US$10.00-US$20.00 per person/day
  • Day tour guide: US$10.00 per person/day
  • Transfer driver: US$2.00 per person
  • Tour driver: US$5.00 per person/day
  • Tour boat driver: US$5.00 per person/day
  • Hotel bellman: US$1.00 per person per suitcase
  • International airport bellmen (red caps): US$1.00 per piece of suitcase


"The experience was fantastic and Richard was terrific. Will recommend Ancon Expeditions and our particular tour to anyone! Our expectations were exceeded. Thank you!"  
- Pam & Paul (USA), September 2022

"We had a great time on our  Panama Canal Rainforest Boat Adventure.
Our guide Allan was very knowledgeable and friendly, and established a good rapport right away with our 13-year-old son. And our boat pilot, Jorge, was an expert at spotting wildlife in the rainforest.  That part was definitely the highlight of the tour. We have been on other wildlife spotting tours elsewhere in the world, but never one that yielded so many sightings as this one.  We saw three different species of monkeys, a tree sloth, big iguanas, a baby alligator and lots of beautiful birds.   Jorge put the boat in exactly the right positions for us to take photographs of the animals.  We got some great photos. All the while, Allan provided interesting facts and commentary.  And he had guidebooks ready when we spotted birds. We also enjoyed the portions of the trip when we traveled along the canal.  Allan explained details of how the canal functions, and we witnessed numerous huge freighters making their way along the canal.
We would definitely do it again!

-Paul, Diana & Mark (Toronto)

"We enjoyed our boat trip and canal visit immensely. Our guide was a great wildlife spotter, very interesting, and accommodating. [...] was a great boat captain and delivered us to the dock in record time when the rains came.  Overall ... a really fun day."

Linda Wentzel, USA

"We had a wonderful time today on the tour.  Ivan was fantastic!  He is very engaging and knowledgeable.  Everything appeared to come together seamlessly.  There was plenty of food for lunch, and Ivan brought sugar cane & fresh lemonade... a nice touch.
I must also commend you on your timing. It is nothing short of a miracle to arrive anywhere in Panama on time, due to traffic.  And the fact that the bus was there within the designated 10-minute window was incredible.  We're really impressed. We will definitely be recommending Ancon tours for our clients."

Julie Colosso Broce, USA

"I wanted you to know that we thoroughly enjoyed our Rainforest Tour of the Panama Canal with your company this past Saturday.  Our guide, Dario, was absolutely terrific.  We also loved our driver, Andy, and the boat driver, Manuel.  I will do a review on TripAdvisor recommending your services.  Thanks again for you quick assistance in setting up our trip."

Nancy Patterson, USA

"The Panama Canal Rainforest Boat Adventure was one of the best tours we've ever taken. The guide was interesting and extremely knowledgeable about the canal, wildlife, and Panama in general. The tour was unique and the price was reasonable for the personal attention we received. Although it was pouring rain for most of the tour, Ancon went out of their way to figure out the best option for us. We ended up taking the tour anyway and had a blast."

Pamela Glauber, USA

“We had a fabulous trip, and we really enjoyed the tour.
We would definitely use Ancon again.”

Tangela Richter, USA

“The entire operation was very professional, accountable and knowledgeable, from the office to the guides and local station help!”

Nancy Rogge, USA

 “Amazing what you can see in half a day alongside a canal!”

Gerald Dick, Austria

“One of the highlights of our trip - all thanks to the knowledge and friendly manner of out tour guide.”

Rachael & Mark Williams, USA

"More than expected, well organized, interesting, both tours were different but very interesting. An excellent experience would recommend Ancon Expeditions as the one to choose."

Neil Mathieson, Australia

“Very friendly, highly knowledgeable and I really did notice a difference in quality to other tour operators, so will recommend Ancon to friends traveling to Panama

Barbara Goedde, Germany

“Great way to learn about the Canal and rainforest.
The trip was fun and safe. Thanks Melanie, we had a great time!”

Sara Tewksbury, USA

 “Ancon Expeditions have helped me as a photographer to see and photograph birds, animals, landscapes, and other wildlife in urban, and remote and wild areas of Panama. Their logistics are excellent. Ancon Expeditions have excellent naturalist guides with broad knowledge beyond only the nature of Panama; in addition they have very high level of ethics.”

Øyvind Martinsen, Norway

“Our guide was excellent. His knowledge of the canal and the flora and fauna was impressive, his stories were interesting and his genuine excitement for spotting wildlife made the experience more enjoyable. The rainforest adventure tour reminds us of the jungle cruise ride in Disneyland, only it was the real deal.”

Adrian Culjat, USA

“We want to thank you for a great tour. Everything was so well organized and our pick up arrived on time! The guide and the boat captain were wonderful and so knowledgeable about all the wildlife (and respectful of it) and so many details about the history of the canal. Anyone who truly wants to see thePanama Canal should take your tour. We were able to see so many things that you just can't see from a cruise ship! We can’t wait to take your tour again next time we go to Panama!!”

Nilda Chong, USA

“Good Morning Katiana.
First I would like to thank you for all your assistance in getting my tour booked and arrangement for us. Saturday Rainforest boat tour was great. I had a wonderful time, learned a lot and was very enjoyable time.”

Nathalie Hains, USA

“Unfortunately, our stay in Panama City was very short, just for three days… This means that we had to see and learn so many things in only a very short time. I think that the two day tours we took with your company gave us the opportunity to do so, but not only… we got much more than we had expected… MUCHAS GRACIAS!”

Chrystalla Koumi, Cyprus


Photos are credited to Kike Calvo, Emily Grey.