Spend the Night in an Embera Indian Village
Few tourism-related experiences in the world still feel truly authentic; my recent trek to this Embera Indian Village in the remote Chagres National Park in Panama was one of them. On an adventure travel experience with Aventuras Panama, we started the day before sunrise and took a 4WD vehicle to a hiking trailhead, where we hiked through the Panamanian jungle and over multiple river crossings with a team of experienced guides, as well as horses who carried the inflated rafts, before we were able to put in to the Chagres. Following 15 miles of rafting and taking in the incredible views and canyons, we arrived to the Chagres National Park and were greeted by a few members of the Embera Indian village in their hand-carved canoes. The Embera live off of the land, and they have opened their doors to tourism, to share their culture and way of life in a sustainable way that allows them to continue their traditions and lifestyle. We were greeted with music, served their local food of tilapia from the river and fried plantains, and slept in an elevated hut, the same type of shelter that the Embera sleep in. They have provided a few modern conveniences for travelers, like toilets and a shower-- but the experience is authentic as they come and a must-have adventure with Aventuras Panama.
By Ashley Castle Pittman, AFAR Contributor