The Chagres River is virtually unseen in the trek
through the Chagres National Park due to the lack of access
roads, protection against settlers, and the previous non-existence of
Panama. This part of the river, characterized by currents alternating
with backwaters, is
Class II, although several rapids are considered
Class III by the
International Classification of River Navigation.
As a result of dense tropical forest that covers
the basin of the river, sedimentation is minimum; therefore, clear water can be expected very often. The flora is
the tropical rain forest, with more than three hundred species
per hectarea. Although it is the natural habitat of big mammals such as tapir and jaguar,
tropical rainforest animals , they
are very seldom encountered. It is much easier to spot several others samples
of the fauna, such as monkeys of the rainforest(spider, howler, whiteface
capuchin , Geoffrey's Tamarin),
sloth, river otter, iguana, tucan,
and plenty of fish.
Once in the virgin jungle of Chagres National Park
you will ask if this is the next tvshow survivor panama destination.
The Chagres Challenge begins by picking up guests in
Panama city at 5:00 A.M., to take them on a FWD vehicle to a
remote village called San Cristobal, beyond the mountain town of
After a light breakfast, around 8:00 A.M. the tour
proceeds with a hike, for about hour and half, on a narrow trail that takes
us deeper into the jungle until reaching an afluent of the Chagres, called Piedras River.
At aproximatelly 11:00 A.M., we will start an exciting five hour
rafting tour in the Chagres virgin jungle, all the way to Madden Lake, reaching
it around 4:30 P.M. We will have a fine meal somewhere along Chagres
We will raft by several rainforest tribes conformed by the Embera.
Close to Madden Lake, the rafts would be towed by an outboard motorboat, for about half an hour, to the nearest road. Finally,
our guests will be taken back to the original pick up site around
Be ready to get some memorable rainforest pictures !
FREQUENT ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT DOES IT INCLUDE ? All mentioned
transportation, rafts and gear, guides, and meals. Our guides are
trained in white-water navigation skills, first-aid and CPR.
WHO CAN GO ? Any person from twelve to seventy
years old, in good health, ready to walk for about an hour and a
half through an irregular and muddy path. Minors must travel with
a responsible adult.
WHAT SHOULD YOU TAKE ALONG ? Swimsuit or a pair
of short for navigating, sneakers or light boots with good soles,
a cap, sun-block, a light jacket or windbreaker (in case the
weather turns chilly), a towel and dry set of clothes for the
WHAT SHOULD NOT BE BROUGHT ? Any object than
can be deteriorated by water or valuables like jewels, cash,
credit cards, etc. Do not bring flip flops or beach sandal to hike or raft.
USD $ 175.00 per person
Group leader will go free for a group of more than
Although this expedition is planned to be done in only one day, it takes place in a very
remote area where if something goes wrong(raft puncture, people not paddling, or
a major injury that delays the group) there is a good chance that we
might have to improvise an overnight camp in the jungle(not a planned camp; with
out tents, supplies, etc.) and with out communications.
It had never happened in hour history, since 1994; but yes, there is always a first time and you
should be aware of the risks that you assume by participating on it. If
this ever happens you will get out the very next day with out extra charges (-:
The Chagres River has enough water to paddle year
around. It usually reach its highest water level by November, at the peak end of
the rainy season, and its lowest water level by May at the end of the dry season.
However, the Chagres Challenge one day tour,
can only be offered when Rio Piedras, the tributary we put in, has enough water
to paddle, usually from June through February. When there is enough water
we paddle San Cristobal River into Rio Piedras River into Chagres River, 3 river
in one day !
Usually it is good to paddle in raft from June
through December. In January paddling is limited to smaller raft and duckies,
and only with duckies from January through May.
Usually from mid January until the date we close the
one day trip in order to avoid getting out after sun set due to low water level,
we restrain participation for people that knows how to paddle duckies, are in
very good shape, and preferable if they had done it before.
|OTHER CHAGRES CHALLENGE TOUR OPTIONS:
- An helicopter lift Albrook Airport directly to the
heart of the Chagres National Park, and then, continue the
journey on rafts.
For more information call our office
- For those persons that are interested in enjoying the
fullness of Chagres National Park to enhace chances of encountering
tropical rainforest animals such as monkeys of the rainforest, sharing
with local embera indians and campesinos, overnight trips are