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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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Recent reviews from experiences in Panama City

star-5
Wonderful Tour
Roshanna_W, Jan 2022
Monkey Island experience in the Panama Canal (Gatun Lake)
The tour was amazing. Our guide Daniel was wonderful, he made any stops that we requested on the way to the tour and also on the way back home. Definitely a great experience. You get to experience the monkeys coming on the boat and grabbing peanuts out of your hands; also you see all the big ships passing to enter the locks. I would recommend this trip especially with Daniel being the tour guide.
star-5
Perfect for anyone of all ages
Cynthia_H, Dec 2021
Monkey Island experience in the Panama Canal (Gatun Lake)
Great adventure with my a senior and kid. Such fun seeing the monkeys and riding down the Canal. Highly recommend
star-5
Exciting Morning Escape from the City
Joanne_S, Jan 2022
Monkey Island experience in the Panama Canal (Gatun Lake)
Our Tour Guide Alex picked us up around 7:30am from Central Hotel Panama in Casco Viejo (he was picking up another couple before us, which accounted for the slight delay), and we headed to Gamboa port for our boat. The 3-hour total trip was so much fun!! We saw three different types of monkeys that were hanging on branches right in front of us about 20 feet away, plus we saw different bird species. It was super cool being in the middle of the Panama Canal, knowing the history and significant of this modern wonder of the world. If you want a short morning tour that focuses mostly on wildlife, this one is highly recommend!
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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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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Gatún Lake (Lago Gatún)?
A:
Attractions near Gatún Lake (Lago Gatún):
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Panama City?
A:
As well as visiting the Gatún Lake (Lago Gatún), check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: