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poss

Did anyone NOT enjoy the Embera village tour?

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Most people who comment enthusiastically about this excursion seem to focus on the shopping aspect.   We're not interested in purchasing anything.   I wonder if the tour is quite enjoyable even without that aspect.

I'm trying to decide (from Colon) between the Embera excursion, the Gamboa Aerial Tram experience, and the Gatun Lookout/Portobelo tour.

Thank you.

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7 hours ago, poss said:

Most people who comment enthusiastically about this excursion seem to focus on the shopping aspect.   We're not interested in purchasing anything.   I wonder if the tour is quite enjoyable even without that aspect.

I'm trying to decide (from Colon) between the Embera excursion, the Gamboa Aerial Tram experience, and the Gatun Lookout/Portobelo tour.

Thank you.

 

I am sure you could find someone who was not pleased with Embera excursion, but most do  enjoy it.  Perhaps you  could differentiate the excursions with the Embera,  more of look into a distinct native cultural.  The indigenous peoples of Panama have somewhat maintained their identity over the years.  There are about 6 or so distinct indigenous groups and even more languages, but most speak Spanish as well.  The Tram of course will cater to the eco/nature areas.  The trip to Portobelo, more historical... the ruins of the various fortifications that guarded the harbor at Portobelo as well as the old Customs house which dates back to the 1600s.  I don't know if I mentioned it in this thread but, I am not sure what they are going to provide you for Gatun Locks portion since the visitor's center at Gatun Locks has been closed.  I suspect they will go to the visitor's center at the new Agua Clara Locks instead. 

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Thanks so much (again!), Bill.   I'd thought that the Embera excursion sounded perhaps a bit "touristy" — though probably that shouldn't bother me given the fact that we are, indeed, tourists.  E.g. wasn't the village we'd be visiting built precisely for the tourist trade?   With the stuff for sale, etc.   (We're not shoppers.)   Still, I believe we'd enjoy that excursion.   The big thing I'm concerned about is Yellow Fever or other mosquito kinds of  diseases.    I am a HUGE mosquito attractant (no matter how much "stuff" I put on me.)     And we're both oldsters, so immune system not the best.  

I suspect we'll wind up doing the tram (despite my acrophobia), but my druthers would be Embera.

 

You are a gem.

Edited by poss

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There are a couple of these Embera villages that are used by the cruise lines and yes in the strictest sense they were built for demonstration.  They do however accurately represent village life, it really isn't like the old Stuckey's where you can buy a spoon with some country's name and the local rendition of a pecan log😉😀.   Besides it is a great experience to ride in a cayuco with an outboard engine no less.  A cayuco is a dugout of sorts hollowed out from a single tree and the ones they use carry about 12 or so passengers, pretty neat.

 

As far as being a mosquito magnet, that shouldn't be a huge issue.  Now I am not saying that you couldn't encounter a bug or two, but they aren't the bad actors.  The bad actors are the mosquitoes and the one that carries yellow fever also carries zika (aedes aegypti).  Wait, before you cancel your trip... the odds in encountering one of these creatures is next to zero!  First of all these mosquitoes are generally only active at dawn and at dusk and you won't be there at those times.  IIRC your cruise is in May, while technically is the Rainy Season and it is just the beginning of the wet season.  Conditions conducive for mosquito breeding are almost non existent during the Dry Season which ended only a couple of weeks prior (end of April), so they really have not had much of a chance to regroup.  Even if you look at the CDC maps that show yellow fever in Panama, the furthest extent is just to the east side of the Canal, which would really be a fringe area at best.

 

Here are a couple of pics  my daughter took on her trek to see the Emberas and the aerial tram.

The  tram and the Emberas are in the same general location.

 

Typical items for sale...

 

  image.thumb.jpeg.8cbf538b92c4a6bda0ce3c2e4a081967.jpegimage.thumb.jpeg.8cbf538b92c4a6bda0ce3c2e4a081967.jpeg

 

image.thumb.jpeg.f17953694485b32acacdfdbdb121b471.jpeg

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Thank you, Bill.

About the tram — am I correct that the tram comes to a full stop, with plenty of time to get on and off carefully?   I.e. nothing at all like the "rolling stop" on ski lifts?   (which are way beyond our capacity now)

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Since I have not taken the tram, I checked with my daughter and she said her recollection the tram was moving although it was slow.  Don't know if that helps you or not.  Maybe someone else can related their experience.

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Thanks, Bill.   Interesting that no one has replied to my tram inquiry.   If your daughter's memory is correct, my husband won't be able to handle it.   I need to try to find out for sure.

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Just a shot... why not post your question on the Ask a Cruise Question forum.  Not a whole lot of people visit this end of Cruise Critic, maybe you could reach a larger group of possible respondents.

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We consider the trip to visit the Embera Village one of our top excursions ever!! And we didn't buy a thing!!! Yes..they did have items for sale at the end of the day...but the canoe ride to get there, the traditional meal that was served to us with fresh fish they had caught that day and the dancing were fabulous!! We have done that type of tram ride...but TBH I don't remember where we were when we did it so can't help there. LuAnn

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We just did this tour last week through Princess.  It was a wonderful tour and definitely not focused especially on shopping.  We did buy a small basket, and many other people bought things too, as they are much more authentic than the ordinary (made in China?) souvenirs you see.  But it wasn't all about the shopping--we maybe spent 5 minutes doing that and no one spent more than a half hour.

 

We loved the canoe ride and learning and seeing traditional ways of living.  It felt pretty 'real' to me and not just a big show.  We had a fabulous tour guide--Alex-- who really concentrated on show casing the way of life of the people through information (with Alex translating--they speak their own language and Spanish; some speak some English as well), question and answers, dancing and general information.

 

The meal was fresh fried fish and fried plantains in a leaf dish.  When exploring the village I was able to see where it was cooked over coals on a raised platform.  

 

Some level of mobility is required to get into and out of the canoes and the village was situated up on an incline.  We only had 26 people total, which helped; the bus ride was about 1.5 hours each way.

 

It just felt like a very special experience, even if some was 'put on' for us.  One of our best tours ever.

 

 

Edited by Nebr.cruiser

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