A lot of people ask us about Panama jungle tours, without a clear understanding of what’s available. The two main concentrations of jungle that travelers can visit in Panama are in the Darien and throughout the Canal watershed.
At 40%, Panama has one of the world’s highest percentages of primary forest cover compared to its total land area. Much of this, however, is found in the Darien province, which borders Colombia on the east side of the country. A lot of the Darien jungle is considered a “red zone” since there is almost no infrastructure, no road, and is infamous as a drug route from Colombia up to Panama. That said, there is a lot of it that is safe and accessible to travelers (see the link to the Bayano Bat Caves below for one option).
Jungles around Panama City are of course much more accessible and provide some excellent hiking and birdwatching options, among other eco-adventures. The area around Gatun Lake in particular is home to many species of monkeys and birds and makes for an excellent and scenic day trip from Panama City.
You can also find a lot of jungle in the Bocas del Toro province on the other side of the country. If you stay on one of the many islands, you will likely have access to lots of day hikes through the surrounding forest. You can also do day tours that feature jungle hikes, such as the chocolate tour listed below.
Here are just a few great options for jungle tours in Panama: