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windycitykitty February 17th, 2005 02:26 AM

Sloth sanctuary and Grand tour
Has anyone gone on the Sloth sanctuary tour in Costa Rica? Can you actually touch the animals as I have seen people hugging the sloths on a web site? What other animals did you see? Were there snakes or lots of bitting incects? How long is the canoe ride? Any bath rooms? Ditto for the Grand tour of Panama canal? How was that? Did you eat food at these ports? Any info would be great.

SpTrout February 17th, 2005 07:58 AM

Re: Sloth sanctuary and Grand tour
We took the Grand Tour of Panama during our 1/22/05 Galaxy cruise. (To make sure we are talking about the same tour, our tour was booked through Celebrity and included a visit to Gatun Locks, and a visit to an Indian village).

After tendering off our ship, which was anchored in Gatun Lake, our bus first stopped at the Gatun Locks. We stayed there about 45 minutes and were lucky to see two very large ships pass through the locks.

We then went to a very nice hotel somewhere in the Colon area (short bus ride from the locks) where we boarded medium size (~20 people) flat-bottom boats that took us to the Indian village. The village is located on a small island somewhere in Gatun Lake.

The Indians met our boats at the dock and directed us to a large thatched roof building where the son of the chief (the chief was ill) gave a short talk describing his village and people. After his comments, we had a question and answer session. The chief did not speak English; only Spanish and his native language so the tour guides had to translate. Very interesting discussion and he was open to any questions. After the chief’s talk, they showed us a couple native dances and asked us visitors to join in. Then we briefly roamed the rest of the village to see their homes. We spent about 45 minutes in the Indian village.

Answers to your specific questions about insects and bathrooms: Did not have any real problem with insects; may have been a few, but I cannot remember having any problems. Restrooms - - - Available at Gatun Locks, and the hotel before, and after the visit to the Indian village. Nothing but trees at the village!

The entire tour was about five hours and was very interesting and I can highly recommend it if you are at all interested in seeing different culture

windycitykitty February 18th, 2005 12:30 AM

Re: Sloth sanctuary and Grand tour
That is the exact same tour Im taking great, it sounds lovely! Thanks for the information. Do the Indians sell any crafts? Also how should I dress some guidelines reccomend long pants and sleeves but I know it will be hot and humid. Did you wear shorts or long pants?

SpTrout February 18th, 2005 07:51 AM

Re: Sloth sanctuary and Grand tour

Yes, the Indians sell homemade crafts. Pricing is interesting; according to our guides, $1 is charged for every day it takes to make a piece (5 days of work equals $5 charge).

You can wear anything you want. We wore shorts and t-shirts (the Indians wear much less). We were there last month and the weather was nice (upper 70's).

Have a great trip!!

wapanda10 February 18th, 2005 04:48 PM

Re: Sloth sanctuary and Grand tour
I take the Embera village but with a private tour and it was my experience, first we took 45 minutes by road to get to the Madden dam in Chilibre we took some pictures of the dam. then we rode for about 30 minute in an indian canoe along the Chagres river to move to the village this part was the highlight of my 2 kids, after the ride the indians welcome us warmly, later we had the opportunity to saw their lifestyle and enjoy their dance show. after that we took the canoe again and we went river down for 10 min. approx. later we did a short hiking no more than 10 minutes for the rainforest where we saw more than 5 different birds, two sloths and one little snake before to found a the small waterfall and there we took a bath and enjoy the natural beauty of the place some other saw more birds. then, we returned to the village for lunch and we bought 3 pretty pieces of tagua (1 frog, 1 parrot , 1 turtle) I paid $20 for each one, I tend to think that the major of the artcraft took 20 day to make it because in general all cost $20 buck or more, finally, we return to Colon and we went to the Canal, where we saw the Gatun locks and the guide explain us how the canal has been operating during the last 90 years.

Post Edited (02-21-05 10:27)

Fern February 18th, 2005 07:28 PM

Re: Sloth sanctuary and Grand tour
You may already be aware of this, but the Embera Indians wear VERY little clothing. This is not a problem for us, but it may make some people uncomfortable. As wapanda10 said, it is very interesting to see their lifesytle. As for restrooms, try to go at the Gatun Lock while everyone else is watching the ships move through or when you get there. When we left the Lock the ladie's room line was so long that they finally "converted" a men's room to accomodate all the women!

windycitykitty February 18th, 2005 10:16 PM

Re: Sloth sanctuary and Grand tour
Thanks everyone for the info. Im not offended by nudity especially in a natural setting. What is tagua? Carvings made of wood or clay? I think over all I will find this shore excursion more interesting than 7 hours straight on the canal, with the big tour. At least this gives me a rare opportunity to see how another culture exhists. I have very much respect for Indians and they have respect for the land they live on, and Mother Earth.

wapanda10 February 19th, 2005 01:50 PM

Re: Sloth sanctuary and Grand tour
tagua is palm seed, it looks like a small piece of coconut, they made figures inspired in the rainforest animals. attached you will find my parrot.

windycitykitty February 21st, 2005 12:22 AM

Re: Sloth sanctuary and Grand tour
Wapanda, Thanks for the info and picture, how cute, what a great idea for souvenirs! Was there a medicine man or holy man there to speak to?

wapanda10 February 21st, 2005 10:56 AM

Re: Re: Sloth sanctuary and Grand tour
Is a good question, but I have not the answer, because first the village chief (attached)spoke about history, rainforest, food and men artcrafts, later a woman spoke about the women artcrafts and colors but they do not said nothing about medicine or religion, after they spoken you can asking them any question but nobody asked about it.
When you take the tour asking them and put a post to clarify these subject.

Good luck,

windycitykitty February 21st, 2005 04:03 PM

Re: Sloth sanctuary and Grand tour
I will ask, maybe I can get my souvenirs blessed by a holy man, just a thought....

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