Questions: Are the "islands" and Gatun Lake all that scenic?
What about insects?
Did YOU see much wildlife? (Esp. the monkeys!)
Thanks for any replies.
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born2cruize--This was Eco-Cruise On Gatun Lake & Miraflores Locks. We first went to Miraflores Locks. The problem was this was the first of May which is a national holiday, everyone and their grandmother was there. Then we drove to Gamboa to (I believe) the Rainforest Resort. After looking around a while we went down to the dock and boarded our boat. The description does not do the tour justice. They took us to 4 different islands within Gatun Lake. The first was were the Holler monkeys reside. They were all in the trees so I we saw was big black balls in the tree. (Photo on my site). We next went to an island that had a sloth in the tree. (If I had used my video camera it would have looked the same as my still camera . Then to monkey island, I couldn't take pictures fast enough. I probably took 80 to 100 just on Monkey Island. Finally they took us to a place were the baby alligators were nested. I found that interesting as at first we thought it was just fallen leaves until they had us look closer and of course they brought one into the boat. We never saw the mother, but from what I understand she was probably watching us.
was your tour listed as "eco-cruise: gatun lake" or "monkey watch & cruise" -- from Princess' listing its hard to tell what the difference may be...
thanks for the links to your photos.
From your description -- I will try the "monkey watch" tour as it is the one that goes to "3 islands" -- plus the excursion is a little longer (5.5 vs. 3.5hrs).I imagine the two cruises are pretty similar. Since ours started from Fuerto Amador and included Miraflores locks and I'm assuming that since yours is starting from Gatun Lake you won't be wasting that much time going to meet your boat. Since I'm no longer booked for the Panama Canal I can only look at the general Princess tours and I don't see a Monkey tour. In fact I can only see tours from Fuerto Amador.
Thanks for your help!
For anyone out there wondering about the two excursions offered on the Princess partial transit of the canal- "monkey watch" vs. "eco-cruise":xcountry, Welcome back. I find it interesting that your tour left from the same boat launch as ours and I assumed the same operator but your tour sounded entirely different from ours. Of course the big different was that we started from the Pacific side while yours traveled from Gatun Lake half-way across to Gamboa.
We took the "monkey watch" excursion on our April 3, 2009 Island Princess cruise. After the transit through the Gatun Locks, the ship anchors in Gatun Lake (it was around 8:30a on our trip, so yes you do go through early!). We tendered to shore around 9a and took a bus to Gamboa (midway in the canal). The bus ride was 1-1/2 hours long and the shocks on the bus were poor, so all of us were pretty well shaken up on the ride (we asked to get moved to another bus, which was half empty). We stopped at the Gamboa rainforest resort for some punch and a bathroom stop. After reboarding the bus, we were taken to look at the resort's butterfly exhibit, fish tanks, and reptile house(not exactly what anyone wanted) -- our take on it was that the boats were not back from a morning excursion. When the boats did return (around 12:30p), we were taken out of the Chagres River into the canal to look for monkeys -- a 20 minute ride to some islands where we did see Capuchin monkeys and howler monkeys. No sloths. After about 30 minutes of watching/looking for monkeys, it was another 20 minute ride back to the resort and then another 1-1/2 hour ride back to Colon. By the time we returned it was close to 4p. Comparing notes with other passengers who took the eco-cruise: no long bus ride, monkeys and sloths within 10 minutes of getting on their boats.
Our feeling was that it was not worth it at all to go to Gamboa for the amount of time spent looking for wildlife and that you could get the same experience on the shorter trip (which also includes a tour of the Gatun Locks). If anyone has any questions, I will check back on this thread.