"Panama a beautiful retreat... yet almost unknown" Top 5 Page for this destination Panama by Ekahau

Panama Travel Guide: 1,740 reviews and 4,372 photos

a trip to the Embera people

This adventure to the Emberá people of Panama all started with a photo sent from Kiwi. The author of Tintin used this Kiwi sent for one of his animated adventures – the light just came. Oh ya I want to do that I said.

So went to the VT pages and found Indians in Panama right on VT and a VT expert on the subject-- snoopy9109 (thank you Tammy). So off I went on a long weekend adventure to Panama, complete with my Tintin book on the subject and new VT travel guide tool (thank you VT).

The Emberá people are beautiful indigenous first nation people who live their own lifestyle - quite unique. They live much as they did before the Europeans delivered small pox and other diseases on them and they live much the way Tintin would have seen them in the 1920s. This luck VT traveler soon completely forgot the outside world as I was thrown into and immersed in their cultural, of a gentle sprit, dance and music. The Emberá dress me in a g-string painted me with traditional body paint with a natural sap dye called Jagua and allowed me enter and share their world. They shared with me theire knowledge of the rain forests abundant variety of flowers, butterflies, birds and wildlife during a rain forest walk. Because of my medical and background interest we stopped all along the walk where they shared the Emberá’s amazing botanical healing knowledge – most will be surprised to learn of their contributions to modern pharmaceuticals a native middle American yam is the source of the modern birth control pill for example . I had the chance to see the Emberá make baskets and watch as they made some poison for hunting from a very poisonous very small and very cute green and orange frog.

To get to the village I was paddled in a dugout canoe for about three hours a very peaceful way to spend a morning with lots of Birds along the way to admire.

To see about 50 more photos of the Embera people from this trip look at the site below.
Embera people from this trip look at.


Panama City and Casco Viejo

I arriving at night in Panama City with the Embera people and rainforest in mind, it was exciting to arise with the sun to a coastline of beautiful skyscrapers

The muggy, hot capital of Panama is well spectacular, busy and very interesting. The city is really very compact with a 2 buck taxi fare taking you anywhere. The most interesting and photogenic area is the "old city built by the French", Casco Viejo. This part of Panama City is best described as crumbling French colonial architecture. But, it is really charming with flowers flowing from the balconies of brightly painted and tropically molded houses. Unesco’s declared it a world heritage site in the late 1990’s and has now become a kind of French quarter like in New Orleans a charming place to live so it is improving but “charming” poverty still remains clear for the world to see. All, this makes this place just filled with wonderful photos around every corner.

Panama Canal

The most in your face foreign influence in Panama today is that of the USA. After only driving 10 minutes you run smack into the Canal Zone, previously US colonial territory in the very heart of Panama. The Canal Zone and the Panama were “given” back to Panama only in the last day of 1999.
The canal begins at Miraflores locks. I looked on as a huge US navy ship all in Gray on one side and a oil tanker on the other, glided through the gates into a space that looked barely wide enough to hold it. Teams of men and several small but impressively trains kicked into action like ants. It's all a slow pace rather than spectacular, but it's truly amazing.
of work.
Prior to this 20th century marvel, the only way across the continent was either via Cape Horn or trudging overland. I got a taste of the latter during a dugout and trek in the rainforest to see the embera indians.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Indian culture wonderful
  • Cons:Hot and steamy
  • In a nutshell:beautiful place few tourist
  • Last visit to Panama: Sep 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (22)

Comments (23)

  • Paris92's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    What an incredible page and compilation of work! Your Barney nomination was well deserved!

  • kiwi's Profile Photo
    Dec 11, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    This is my alltime favourite page on VT!!

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Feb 7, 2009 at 3:10 PM

    I just wandered into this, and it helps describe the country we will only see a bit of on a cruise next week. It looks like we miss a lot, by only being around Gatun Locks, but good for you on the adventure.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2008 at 2:20 AM

    What an amazing experience you had with the Embera people. Thanks for the information given.

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Feb 23, 2008 at 6:16 PM

    Thanks for introducing us to the Embera people; I had never heard of them prior to reading your page. Fascinating!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Feb 23, 2008 at 9:21 AM

    Panama is wonderful! Time to visit! Paul, you're a world traveler! Congrats!

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    May 24, 2007 at 8:05 AM

    I found your tips on the Embera lifestyle very informative. Also, I've heard the Panama Canal cruises are wonderful! Thanks for a glimpse of this part of the world. Regards from Texas...

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2006 at 2:24 PM

    Another less travelled location. Great stuff on local minimalist wardrobe. An eye candy. Cheers, SL

  • paula69's Profile Photo
    Jul 31, 2006 at 4:16 AM

    Fantastic fotos. Paula.

  • SURFIN7TH's Profile Photo
    Apr 11, 2006 at 10:21 AM

    Great pages, I'm looking forward to seeing the not so touristy sections of Panama!


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