Gamboa’s Summit Park
Corregimiento de Cristobal,IA 5, Panama City 7338, Panama
Photo by Tarina Rodríguez
Gamboa's Summit ParkThe town of Gamboa lies at the center of a rain forest on the banks of the Panama Canal, where Lake Gatún and the River Chagres meet about 20 miles from the capital. Gamboa’s Summit Park is home to Panama’s national bird, the harpy eagle, as well as to Soberanía National Park and the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, where visitors can walk the Camino del Oleoducto (Pipeline Road), a famous bird-watching path where up to 300 avian species can be spotted on a single day. Another tip might be sailing the Chagres in piraguas (local pirogues or handmade dugout canoes) that plumb dense jungles and give visitors the chance to interact with the Emberá Quera indigenous community. This historic community lives off fishing, farming, artisanal craft-making, and tourism. Native-led tours showcase various local customs such as dances as well as vegetable-dye body-painting techniques and their meanings (known as jagua), in addition to the people's relationship with nature. Navigating the rain forest with a traditional Emberá botanist is a singular experience.