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Gatún Lake (Lago Gatún)
Gatún Lake (Lago Gatún)

Gatún Lake (Lago Gatún)

40km (25mi) north of Panama City, Panama

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.

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Photography Boat Tour on Gatun Lake Panama Canal: 3-Hours
Photography Boat Tour on Gatun Lake Panama Canal: 3-Hours
$130.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
"You never know what you're going to get!"
Andrew was a wonderful guide on this photography excursion. I was the only one signed up for my chosen date/time and he kept in touch prior to the trip to ensure that all was set and even helped me arrange transportation; it was wonderful. The captain truly has an eye for the animals and spotted things from far away. Both Andrew and the captain were wonderful people to spend the afternoon with and I hope to return to Panamá again soon to repeat the excursion...you'll always see something different!
Navigate00210085352, Jun 2019

Recent reviews from experiences in Panama City

star-5
Gatun Lake
gilliangd, Jan 2020
Lake Gatun Boat Tour Including Kayaking and Lunch
We had a wonderful boat trip on Lake Gatun. Saw so much; ships traveling the Panama Canal to lots of wildlife. Howler monkeys, iguanas, tamarins that came close for a little piece of banana. Sebastian, our guide was excellent. We then went for lunch on a houseboat followed by kayaking to a waterfall and swim. Picked up and dropped off at our hotel.
star-5
Excellant wildlife photography opportunity!!
Resort43846765811, Mar 2019
Photography Boat Tour on Gatun Lake Panama Canal: 3-Hours
I was thrilled to find this tour when looking for things to do while in Panama. Andrew and Johnny were great at spotting the wildlife and putting the boat in a good position to photograph. They were also great hosts from beginning to end. The provided professional cameras, Canon EOS with 150-600mm lenses on tripods and specialized photography chairs were fabulous. This is great for beginners or professional photographers. Only 4 participants, not 500!!! A rare rainforest opportunity.
star-5
Better than expected! Good guides...
Tyler S, Jan 2017
Lake Gatun Boat Tour Including Kayaking and Lunch
Better than expected! Good guides, beautiful scenery and the floating motel with the kayaks, lunch and swimming made it a great value and experience.
star-4
'Capture the Moment' Photography Rainforest Tour on Gatun Lake, Panama Canal
Scenic496934, Dec 2019
Photography Boat Tour on Gatun Lake Panama Canal: 3-Hours
Just the most wonderful experience!  We had just come through the Panama Canal from the Caribbean to the Pacific Ocean the day before, so we wanted something different.  Andrew had helped us arrange private transportation to reach him in Gamboa well ahead of our tour.  We were able to get so many good photos of the wildlife thanks to Andrew's keen eye and instruction.  Francisco, the driver, spotted many animals too.  Andrew was the most gracious and knowledgeable host.  The most worthwhile excursion, especially if you are into quality cameras.  I loved Andrew's comment when my husband asked him to take a picture of us on the boat with his little Nikon camera.  My husband asked if he knew how to work it, he said..nice set up!  Cell phones and little cameras are nice for pictures, his Cannon's on board are nice for photographs.  We each were given our scan disc that had mega capacity. 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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