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Customer Reviews for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon

Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon

Your motor coach will double as a virtual time machine as you travel back more than 600 years to a Central America few people ever experience. This is a journey into the lives of the Emberá Native tribe—a proud people who maintain their traditions and lifestyle as it was before the Spaniards Colónized Panama. A knowledgeable guide will give you an overview of Panama on the way to the jungles of the Central Region and share the history and customs of the Emberá Natives who are the keepers of the rain forest and the Chagres River. When you arrive at Chagres National Park, you will leave the comfort of your vehicle to board a dug-out canoe that will take you to the Emberá village. Although far from luxurious, the dug-outs are sturdy craft which were critical in the conquering of the jungle and in establishing supply lines for both Natives and Spaniards. After motoring up-river, you will see the village emerge from the jungle. Keep your eyes open along the way, as the region offers abundant wildlife that is particularly active along the river’s edge. In the village, the chief will welcome you with traditional Emberá hospitality. A series of dances have been arranged to add to this cultural exchange. Feel free to wander through the village, ask questions and interact with these quiet people. As you will be guests in their homes, a common sense approach and sensitivity to their privacy is appreciated. The Emberá men and woman are spectacular craftspeople and have produced some beautiful items available for purchase as souvenirs or keepsakes of this unique experience.
Average Customer Rating:
4.571 out of 5
4.6
 out of 
5
(28 Reviews) 28
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (28 reviews)
5 stars
23
4 stars
1
3 stars
2
2 stars
1
1 star
1
24 out of 28(86%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Review 1 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A wonderful experience!

Date:March 8, 2014
jmack81598
Location:Long Island, NY
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This was a wonderful tour! After a great morning watching our own ship go through the locks of the Canal, we easily borded the bus for the trip to the village. We happened to have an amazing guide, who was not only clear, but interesting as well. We were a group of ten, ages 5-71, and everyone was comfortable and happy during every part of the trip. The canoe was fun, but long. The seat is hard, and the front gets very wet, so be prepared. (It was our kids most favorite part!) The village was interesting. I do believe it is "mostly" authentic, meaning it really is where and how they live, but it is very cleaned up. No electric or modernization in the homes we could see, but the school up the hill did have some government donated solar panels.
The lunch was decent, and the Embra food they offered after was even better. Great fish and fruit. The dance and information on the tribe were great, and the crafts were beautiful. All of the girls and women are topless, which was quite a shock for my 12 yr old son, and for some others on the tour. The natives were kind, and most were friendly. We brought candy for the children, which they loved and others brought small gifts and trinkets as well.
I had been concerned, as other here were, that the Embra were being exploited for the sake of tourism, but I can tell you that this is not the case at all. This is all cleverly designed and run by the Embra and they get money and services for sharing their home. Government gave them money for the canoe motors and they did the rest.It is the opposite of what I had thought going in, and I was so glad to see it!
Wonderful day!!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+5points
5out of 5found this review helpful.
Review 2 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Mixed reviews

Date:March 8, 2014
WashingtonJimBo
Location:Washington State
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Enjoyed it?
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Strongly consider the reviewer. We did not take this tour, but had been recommended by friends to not waste our time or money. We stayed on the ship during the entire Panama experience and were very happy during the very hot day. I talked to some people on the cruise that did the village and they thought it was great....others thought it was not "genuine" and was very commercial. Your choice.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
-2points
1out of 4found this review helpful.
Review 3 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Embera Indian Village

Date:February 15, 2014
SilverGram
Location:Kansas City, MO
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
This was a very good excursion that I would do again. A good idea recommended on the ship was to take a beach towel to "pad" the canoe seat. The people in the village were so nice and it was fun seeing the children playing. I would suggest you might not want to get the tattoo offered for free. The ink takes a long time to dry and you can't help but get it on other places on your body and clothes. They tell you it will fade in 7 days but I'm at day 5 and it is still very dark. I talked with others on ship and they wished they hadn't got the tattoo even though it seemed like a good idea at the time. Did not cloud the excursion, though, it was very enlightening.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+1point
1out of 1found this review helpful.
Review 4 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Excellent and different!

Date:January 14, 2014
gaudi1234
Location:Montreal, Canada
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:December
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Had a very nice day on this tour. The dugout canoe ride is through beautifull scenery, very tropical and exotic. The Embera village was nice, lots of little kids having a great time together and fun to watch play. Good typical lunch of fish and fried plantain, sandwiches also available.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+5points
5out of 5found this review helpful.
Review 5 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Indian Village To Colon

Date:December 28, 2013
Jitter
Location:Pennsylvinia
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:December
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Very inserting and was a lovely trip well worth the money
Its nice to see little people enjoying life and the full nature of our beautiful land .We are very blessed and don't even know it .
Worth every penny
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+3points
3out of 3found this review helpful.
Review 6 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A great cultural experience

Date:November 24, 2013
hikerbuns
Location:Colorado Springs, CO
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:November
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
After reading about 60 reviews and taking them with a grain of salt before signing up, it turned out to be the best excursion of the 10 day cruise for us. The bus was air conditioned which helped cool us off going there and our guide was very knowledgeable about Panama. We got into the canoes with the help of the Embera people. The river is 7 miles long to their village. What a great canoe ride. There is a motor because there is no way they could ever get through the current or that far without one. They know the river very well and know how to get you there. The food was good and the crafts are so beautiful. You need to take lots of cash and small bills too. I spent every dime I had with me and wish I would have brought more. It poured while we were under shelter and it was just a very light rain when we got back in the canoe, but we had our plastic raincoats (given to us) on, and honestly, the rain was very welcoming because it was sweltering hot early in the morning. The clouds and rain through the day made it very pleasant.
This was truly an adventure and definitely our highlight. And for all the negative reviews, ignore them! You might get a little mud on your shoes, and you might get a little wet, but you will never see this culture anywhere else. Truly amazing.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+6points
6out of 6found this review helpful.
Review 7 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Totally bad experience.

Date:April 29, 2013
FreddyB
Location:Texas
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:April
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Enjoyed it?
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
This could be a good tour with a little help. If your a not in good shape, don't try it. The boats are down a very steep hill, dirt of course, and difficult to get to. Same at the destination end. For sure, you now have 2 steep hills to climb. Several of us older people had to have help getting up the final hill.
In addition to this, there was not enough water in the river for the boats to run. The two guides spent much of the time in the water pushing the boat. In fact, I noticed a younger passenger in one of the boats jump out and help push their boat.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
+4points
5out of 6found this review helpful.
Review 8 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

slippery slope

Date:April 21, 2013
MIMI52
Location:Texas
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:April
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
If you have a walking disability, this excursion is NOT for you. To get down to the canoes, you must go down a slippery muddy slope that does not have steps or railing all the way down. Several people in our group fell either going down or coming up the slope. The river was down and the canoes keep getting stuck. The village was OK, but not too exciting. I would not take this excursion again.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
+7points
8out of 9found this review helpful.
Review 9 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Authentic!

Date:March 15, 2013
Lclin
Location:Virginia
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This is truly an authentic Indian village. The people were very gracious and their handcrafts were excellent and fairly priced. The food they served was minimal, but tasty. The children were very appreciative of the candy and small gifts I gave out. Prepare for about 25 children if you take something. The dugout canoe ride was nice, but a little wet. The banks were muddy and slippery, but many hands were there to help us. Wish we could have seen more of their village and home life.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+6points
7out of 8found this review helpful.
Review 10 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:March 15, 2013
kindsche
Location:Ann Arbor, MI
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:March
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Wonderful trip. I didn't expect much, but the trip was comfortable and the Embera were very gracious. The souvenirs were beautiful and not too expensive. It was a highlight of our trip.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+8points
8out of 8found this review helpful.
Review 11 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Booked skeptical, now a believer, this is real

Date:March 10, 2013
StartrainDD
Location:Pennsylvania, USA
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:January
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
My wife and I took this excursion largely due to previous reviews - but we were skeptical of how "Authentic" this could really be. Not only did we have a really great time - this is as authentic as it can possibly be, and the Embrea hosts are gracious and open.
We ended up sitting in the front of the canoe (both ways) and were happy it was a beautiful sunny day as we did get quite wet. The provided ponchos kept the most important areas and my camera dry.
We heeded the suggestions of earlier reviews and brought much more cash than we typically take on an excursion. The handicrafts are incredible works of art and the chief's explaination of how they use natural materials to make the colors and dyes is superb. This excursion was a highlight of our cruise and is highly recommended.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+6points
6out of 6found this review helpful.
Review 12 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Nat'l Geo experience

Date:March 9, 2013
Mitty
Location:Minneapolis, MN
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I agree with everything written in the other reviews. It was the most interesting excursion I have taken and the experience of a life time. The 90 minute bus ride was long but that's okay too - just were't expecting it. Great driver.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+5points
5out of 5found this review helpful.
Review 13 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

You Will Not Regret!

Date:March 2, 2013
2kidsplus3
Location:The Jersey Shore
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
My husband said we have to review one of the best excursions we've ever taken....and we're right up there in cruises/tour excursions! The dug-out canoe ride up the river and back was half the adventure. I only wish we had more time with these gentle, humble native indians in their village. I did not feel they were at all exploited -- which is my fear when one ventures into a remote village. Do try their fish -- because you will remember how good it is and especially how it is served. My heart wanted to buy a little of this and that from all the individual craftspersons. I did buy two items contirubuting to their livelihood because I believe exploring different corners of the world are all about supporting one another -- whatever the cost.. The Embera Indian families we met were polite, affectionate and graceous. If you decide to take this excursion remember they lead a simple life, uncomplicated -- the way we wish it were here!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+7points
7out of 7found this review helpful.
Review 14 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Embera Village Expedition

Date:January 29, 2013
Felix
Location:Coraopolis, Pa
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:January
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
January 14-25, 2013....
Wow! I felt like I was on a National Geographic Expedition. We started out on a 1 1/2 hour bus ride through Panama's countryside with Reinhard, our excellent tour guide, who explained many things about the life and ways of Panama and the Embera tribe.
Then it was on to our "Real" dugout canoes, piloted by natives, for our 40-45 minute ride to the village. The canoe ride was spectacular. The river and surrounding area is very remote with an occasional Grass covered hut or two along the way.
Upon arrival at the village we were met by members of the tribe playing music to greet us. The village itself consisted of thatched huts on stilts spread among beautiful Palm Trees and exotic plants. The natives are barefoot and "dressed" for the tropics, and adorned
with tattoos.
Reinhard then gathered all of us in the main hut to explain, along with
a local native, the ways of the Embera, during which we were treated to a native lunch consisting of Tilapia, Plantains and Fruit. Afterwards we were given time to browse around the village or to buy native made Baskets, jewelry or carvings.
Finally we were treated to several ceremonial dances by all members of the tribe and were even invited to join in the dancing, which I did.
The return trip on the canoe was perfect because it allowed us to see what we missed on our way to the village. Even the bus ride back to the ship was fine since it gave us some time to relax before shopping back at the dock.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+13points
13out of 13found this review helpful.
Review 15 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A jewel in the rough

Date:January 2, 2013
Papasmurf
Location:Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:December
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Our visit to the Embera visit was an absolute treat, once my wife got past the long tippy dugout canoe which was very well handled by its young captain. The village itself was amazing as were the people we met there. A bit of a surprise was the clothing or virtual lack thereof being worn by both sexes, once you got past that it was very easy to immerse yourself in their kindness and hospitality. We would highly recomend this tour to anyone interested in life way back when in these remote areas, pack a camera, bug spray and some cash to pick up some very beautiful artwork and hand made crafts.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+15points
15out of 15found this review helpful.
Review 16 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Embera Indian Village

Date:April 30, 2012
Dixieland
Location:Corner Brook, Canada
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:April
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
What a great adventure this excurision was for all my family. The bus ride was about 45 minutes and a very comfortable bus. We had a really knowledgeable tour guide and bus driver which made the drive go by very quickly. We stopped to look at interesting things along the way. When we arrived at the river, we all put on life jackets and were placed in a dugout canoe. There were about twelve people in each boat. The Embera men driving the boats were dressed in the best clothes. At the village we were treated to a talk , a meal, a dance and a crafts shop. Everything was super.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+9points
13out of 17found this review helpful.
Review 17 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

You don't want to miss this tour!

Date:April 1, 2012
NW4080
Location:FL
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Going through the Panama Canal was fantastic and I thought nothing would top it but I was wrong. Visiting the Embera Village was beyond any tour I've ever taken. The journey to the village was very interesting - first a bus ride into the rain forrest, then dugout canoes - yes from trees in their area built by them!!! The journy tooks us over Madden Lake to a tribuarty to their village. The scenery was beautiful and were the people of the village. Happy faces greeted us when we arrive. Their art work whether baskets, painting or jewlery was incredible. The only problem was Ididn't bring enough cash to satisfy the desire to pruchase more than I did. BRING LOTS OF CASH!! The workmanship was so beautiful and the prices were deteremind by the length of time it takes them to make the item. But, they do negotiate. I would - without a doubt - go there again - whether it's on a cruise or private tour. I would love to stay with them.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+15points
15out of 15found this review helpful.
Review 18 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Greatest shore excursion we've ever taken!

Date:March 29, 2012
WiseMeem
Location:New Castle, PA
Cruise Date Year:2011
Cruise Date Month:December
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I read the review of this excursion prior to our cruise and we found ourselves talking to the receptionist at the excursion desk who had just taken this particular excursion the last time the ship was in the Canal. Her words turned a "maybe" into a "can't wait to go!"
It was an amazing experience...from entering the dugout canoe and passing through the most beautiful countryside during the 40 minute ride to the village....to seeing the beautiful display of craft items and eating a wonderful meal prepared for us and served in palm leaves....to listening to the chief talk about his village and people and getting a "tatoo" and watching and dancing native dances...alll brought to a close with spirital "cleansing" during the ride back to our awaiting bus....40 minutes in a steady downpour!...which became a time for meditation and contemplation. And the people of the village were so welcoming and with visible family values....and such beautiful children!
My husband was so moved by the overall experience that he had his "tatoo" made permanent when we got home, and it serves as a constant reminder of not only where we were but who we are....all of us....God's children. I made a Smilebox photo album with the pictures that we took douring the excursion and used it as our e-mail Christmas card. The responses we got back from those with whom we shared it were wonderful.
I just hope that as "civilization" is bought to the village that they do not lose what they have....for they have so much more that we (who have so much) could ever have.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+11points
14out of 17found this review helpful.
Review 19 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Authentic Embera Indian Village to Colon

Date:March 24, 2012
masnurse
Location:Seminole, Florida
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Best part of the cruise! Once in a life time experience. Very educational.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
-1point
1out of 3found this review helpful.
Review 20 for Authentic Embera Native Village to Colon
Overall Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Disappointing Experience

Date:February 26, 2012
lilmenehune
Location:Los Angeles, CA
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Enjoyed it?
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
I was extremely disappointed in my experience with this shore excursion. The main reason I booked this shore excursion was because of the 5 star rating given by other passengers. I thought there would be more interaction with the local people. For example, instead of just selling their crafts, it would be interesting to actually watch them create something. Or it would be interesting to see them fish and prepare their meals.
We arrived at the docking area and were given plastic ponchos, but were not told to put them on. We thought they were given to us in the event of rain, these would help keep us dry. WRONG! Those sitting in the front of the canoe were totally drenched by the time we reached the village. Once the canoes were in motion, it was impossible to put the the ponchos on.
Upon arriving at the village, the children gathered around to see if any of the visitors had brought gifts. I thought it was a great idea for those who knew to bring along treats for the children. I'm guessing the children do not have a lot interaction with people outside the village except for the visitors from the shore excursions.
We were given a sandwich and a drink to tide us over before lunch. You were then hearded into a covered area and told you would be hearing some history on the Embera Indians. However, depending where you were sitting and which direction the speaker was facing, it was sometimes hard to hear what was being said. Also, it was quite stuffy if you happen to be sitting on the benches in the back area. During this time, we were served lunch which consisted of fried talapia and plantains. The talapia was quite tasty, we were told the only seasonings used were salt and lime juice. Maybe it was because the fish was fresh.
The shore excursion description, says wander the village and interact with the people. The village consisted of maybe 3 or 4 homes and a cooking area. I think this might be a community shared area. I'm not sure if the people spoke English, so I think it would be hard to communitcate with them. During the time I was walking around, I did not see any of the local people talking to any of the guests.
We saw several dances performed by the women and children. On the return trip to the ship, our guide emphasized that his people were happy and that is why they allowed the children to dance for us. Not sure why...
Overalll, the journey took about 2 1/2 hours to get to the village, you spent about 2 hours at the village (more then enough time ~ I was ready to leave after the first 30 minutes) and then another 2 1/2 hours back to the ship. Definitely no bang for my buck!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
+2points
8out of 14found this review helpful.
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