Chagres National Park Journals

Bareback Bungle in the Jungle

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An April 2007 trip to Chagres National Park by Jose Kevo

The Floral Canopy Photo, Chagres National Park, Panama More Photos
Quote: All types of fascinating critters have lived in Panama's National Parks for centuries, but these days it's the primitive two-legged kind inducing the greatest "racket"!

Bareback Bungle in the Jungle

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Overview

The Cocoa Plantation Trail Photo, Chagres National Park, Panama
Quote:
When information suggests that Panamá hosts one of the richest, bio diverse ecosystems in the world, it usually fails to embody the humanity that has lived in harmony with nature for generations untold. Unlike neighboring countries, where entire civilizations were annihilated in the name of God and Queen, seven distinctive tribes of Native Americans still thrive in bands scattered across the countryside.History suggests greed and fear dominated agendas of regional Spaniards and Catholics, largely to thank for why Panama's age-old indigenous populations have remained intact over centuries. With plundered New World wealth collected and counted in La Vieja, the number of Cathedral and Monaste...Read More

Embera Village

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Attraction | "An Emberá Village Tour "

Embera Village Photo, Chagres National Park, Panama
Quote:
With numerous Emberá villages now hosting tours, where you book determines activities, as do season and weather. Here's what one might expect, since most tribes offer similar experiences.Entering outer-realms of rationalism takes-off from the moment boat crews appear wearing nothing but loincloths. Hunkering-down, the botey channeled through Madden Lake and up the jungle-clad Chagres River. Interlopers along the banks hint of what's to come, but nothing prepared for docking and climbing hill to the village.Welcoming ceremony involved indigenous rhythms from a percussion combo while women and children came rushing from the village. The foreign frenzy was overwhelmi...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 28, 2007

Embera Village
Parque Nacional Chagres
Chagres National Park

Botey River Ride up the Chagres

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Attraction

Final Destination Photo, Chagres National Park, Panama
Quote:
As the village proved a bit much to grasp, retreating to waters for second half of the tour was solace. I felt right at home in a canoe; even with exotic environs of the Chagres River, which included "full moon" under the blazing sun.Captain and motor in back were basically along for the ride, too. Shallowness of the waters neutralized horsepower, leaving the pint-sized crew member upfront in full control. His strength and dexterity covered bow of the bo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 28, 2007

Cocoa Plantation Trail

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Attraction

The Floral Canopy Photo, Chagres National Park, Panama
Quote:
El Camino de Plantación was probably the most revealing jaunt I made in the entire country. This 4-mile, round-trip trek follows an old service road that once accessed a thriving cocoa plantation. The area has seen been reclaimed by tropical rainforest, and was absolutely teeming with birds and wildlife like none other!Arriving at the trailhead before sunrise, small rodent-type mammals scattered from the parking area; shrieks and chatters coming from within the jungle almost foreboding. This was one of Lucho's favorite escapes, and it didn't take long to figure out why. The place exudes life; a biological haven that doesn't even make the radar with all that sprawls in the surroundin...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 28, 2007

Bare Truthes -- Exposing the Emberas

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Story/Tip

One hell of a holiday... Photo, Chagres National Park, Panama
Quote:
Usually game for anything, I eagerly accepted Lucho's offer to visit friends after returning to Panamá City. Initial travel plans had changed with his relocation to Boquete, and while there were no disappointments, now was opportunity to sample what had originally comprised itinerary.Exploring the National Parks, sprawling between the Pacific and Caribbean, held greatest significance. Recognizing my cultural pursuits, Lucho had also promised to base some of these activities while staying in an Emberá village. Perhaps an extended rendition would've cultivated a bit more appreciation.Passion and romance are sustained with ongoing relationship; not in-and-out quickies but that's w...Read More

Taking a Walk on Panama's Wild Side

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Story/Tip

Eating on the Run... Photo, Chagres National Park, Panama
Quote:
When anteaters, coatis, and colorful birds litter highways as roadkill, one begins to grasp that Panamá is crawling with exotic wildlife! This narrow isthmus, linking the Americas, nurtures one of the most bio diverse environments in the world. Yet frequent travelers in all parts of the country complained they'd yet to see whatever they'd came looking for. I didn't have to ask why.Chirping birds provided daily, 5am wake-up calls for hitting trails at the crack of dawn. By 6am, forests were lively beyond comprehension. What's not seen is heard like a rumble in the jungle, that slowly tapers into a deafening silence as morning progresses. The only things faithfully appearing after 9:30am, ju...Read More

About the Writer

Jose Kevo

Jose Kevo
Middle-of-Nowhere, Missouri

More Chagres National Park Journals

Staying Overnight in an Embera Indian Village