Embera Indigenous Encounter with EcoCircuitos

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By Benita Rose

One of our tours that had interested me the most since I´ve started working as an Intern in the EcoCircuitos-office was the tour to the Embera indigenous tribe In the Chagres National Park. I had heard that it is a fascinating experience, and therefore I felt very fortunate when my supervisor Annie sent me on the Embera-tour with guide Fabio, driver Roberto, and our clients Mr. and Mrs. Sameth. I had no idea what was expecting me yet . . .

Our adventure started with a 1-hour ride to Puerto Colotun, where we embarked a Piragua, a typical Embera-canoe, for our exciting trip to the Embera Drua village. While on our way to the port, we were already able to see different sides of Panama: passing the metropolitan City towards the countryside, and from there entering the lonely Chagres National Park, where life is more laid-back than in the City, and skyscrapers and fancy restaurants are not a lot of people’s business. But the fun part started on the piragua, which carried us through green and ever greener landscapes that provided enough space and the perfect environment for all kinds of birds and animals. Our client Mr. Sameth was at a loss for words, while Mrs. Sameth got a little nervous on our quite unusual piragua-ride. Guide Fabio managed to keep us all in a good mood though, explaining us everything about the area, and all of us were excited to arrive at the Drua village.

Upon our arrival to the 93-people-community, we were kindly welcomed by the Embera, all of them seemed pleased to have us there, while at the same time we didn´t seem to distract them much from their daily routine, which we liked to see.

The village is built in a very rustic style and makes you think back in time, when people used to live without any technological devices and when capitalism wasn´t as present as it is today. The houses are all built with natural materials: wood & different types of dried leaves as protection against rain; to enter you need to climb up a latter.

A lovely young Embera girl approached us and wanted to explain us a little bit about her culture. She gave us a nice presentation about the history and present culture of the Emberas. Mr. & Mrs. Sameth, as well as myself, were listening carefully and questions about how things work in the community kept popping up in our minds. She patiently answered all of our questions while a number of other Embera girls were gathered under the same open roof than us, chatting, cooking or playing with their kids, just living their everyday life. To round-off the presentation about the Embera culture, we were served a typical lunch: fresh fish (oh how fresh!) & Patacones – delicious!

After lunch we were able to explore the rest of the village, take pictures, and have any new questions answered by guide Fabio. We spent some time watching little boys play soccer, and at the same time we were observing everything else happening around us.

With a bunch of new impressions on our mind, we left the Embera village with a smile on our faces. We were treated very nicely by everyone in the community and felt very welcome. On our way back to Puerto Colotun, where driver Roberto was already waiting for us, we barely said a word, but instead reflected on what we had experienced during this adventurous day.

 

For more information about our tour to the Embera-villages, please feel free to contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com, or visit our website http://www.ecocircuitos.com

Turtle observation in Panama

Turtle observation panamaIf you are looking to observe sea turtles and sea turtle nesting Panama is one of the most popular places in the world for this. Four species of marine turtles are known to nest in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago only. The leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), that can be seen in different seasons during the year.

During the season for the leatherback you can see it along the beaches of Bluff and Bastimentos in Bocas del Toro. This is the largest of the marine turtles. A mature female averages 150 cm in length and weighs around one half a ton. Females lay eggs about 9 times during their 4 month gestation period, with 10 days roughly been nest making. Escorted by a naturalist Guide and sometimes by a biologist on site doing their research, you will have the opportunity to admire this amazing wonder of nature. We won´t be disturbing the turtles so the tour will be manage in a very sustainable way only for very small groups. To learn more about this great educational tour, please contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com come and discover Panama with the best team! http://www.ecocircuitos.com

The Belly bottom of the Americas

Panama is a true biological bridge between North America and South America. The country has a concentration of animals and plants species among the richest in the world and is one of the countries in Central America with more biodiversity.

Barro Colorado
Barro Colorado Island, Panama

This time, we will focus on one of its jewels of this country: the Barro Colorado Island. This extraordinary biodiversity will delight the nature lovers. The Barro Colorado Island (BCNM) is the highest Island in the waters of Gatun Lake. It is located in the Isthmus of Panama and is one of the first protected areas of America. Barro Colorado Island’s unique location and history have made it what may be the most intensively studied piece of tropical forest in the world.
Before the filing of Artificial Gatun Lake, Barro Colorado Island was a hill, full of trees and animals. The needs of the Panama canal, converted the Barro Colorado in a shelter island to the animals in this flooded valley. Very quickly, biologists realized the scientific importance of this tropical sanctuary.

Founded in 1923, the Barro Colorado island has been recognized as a nature reserve in 1979. This preserved ecosystem attracts scientist who study the evolution of the fauna and the flora of the neotropics. On the island live thousands of insects of all kinds, but also 120 species of mammals, half of which are bats. This marvel of biodiversity host more species than all Europe, there are more of 1.200 different plants.
EcoCircuitos propose a Historical and natural Tour, which offers the opportunity to admire a great variety of this wild forest.
The adventure begins at 6:30 AM at your hotel in Panama City, with a car ride through the tropical rainforest towards the small town of Gamboa where a boat is waiting for us in the STRI dock. From there you go on a 45 min – 1 hour boat ride to the Barro Colorado Natural Monument (BCNM), administered by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. You will discover the splendor of the tropical rainforest in Barro Colorado, the largest forested island in the Panama Canal waterway. You will learn about research in progress and the rich natural history of the BCNM.
You will go on a 2-3 hour walk along the trail on Barro Colorado Island. The walk ends at the Visitor Center, where you will find an exhibition regarding BCNM. After the Visitors Center you will head to the cafeteria to have lunch in a student atmosphere. Next time in Panama don´t miss this great adventure tour. For more information, contact us at sales@ecocircuitos.com or call us at + 507 3140068