Exciting Visit to Monkeys Island and Pipeline Trail in Gamboa

Titi monkey at monkeys island


I visited the Monkeys Island (Isla de Los Monos) and this time it was my first trip in Pandemic, a different experience but just as exciting.

This tour was made with a small group of people, a bubble from the home of 2 people, another a friend (Jerry), myself, the guide and of course the person who drove the boat

This allowed us to keep the distance easily while still enjoying the experience and of course using the mask.

In Panama there are several Monkeys Island, their name is because, of course, many monkeys live in them.

This time I went to the one on Gatún Lake, in the Panama Canal waters.

We met our guide Jenny and in 2 cars we headed to Gamboa, to take the boat that would take us to visit such spectacular islands.

boat at Gamboa dock
Our boat.

Once we got to Gamboa, we took the boat, the first exciting of the tour was to pass under the Gamboa Bridges.

In which one, the oldest, is so low that, if you stand, you can easily touch the bridge, of course, for safety, do not do it.

As we get to the islands, Jenny told us a little about the place, its history and interesting facts.

Monkeys Island

We did a gentle walk through the canal waters until we reached the first Monkeys Island.

It’s not really an island, since before the construction of the Panama Canal, everything was land with some elevations. The Monkeys Island, in reality, was a hill, which when the waters flooded, became an island.

White-faced monkeys at monkeys island
White-faced monkeys.

The first monkeys we saw were the White-faced or Capuchins, whom upon hearing the motor of the boat, approach the shore, they are very fast and try to get on the boat.

We did not want they get on, but in a small oversight we got very close and one of them, quickly jumped into the boat and in less than 2 seconds, he had already found some food and climbed to the roof of the boat to eat a banana.

We only saw when it came in the air, we quickly tried to grab our things (you don’t know if he takes something, like a cell phone and throws it into the water or takes it to the island) and when we saw it again it was already in the roof, hahaha.

White-faced monkey, monkeys island
Our little thief.
This little monkey has the face of few friends hahaha.

We took the opportunity to take some photos, while he ate the banana, he tried to see if there was something else he could take, he even tried to pull the guide’s hair hahaha.

Then we got close to the island again so that he could return to the island, but without the others getting on the boat.

As soon as he saw that he could get a tree, he dropped the banana and left.

White-faced monkey
Our little thief.

We continue to another Monkeys Island to see other monkeys, in this case the Titi Monkeys and a Capuchin, which our guide has named, Capu.

We get a little closer to this island, the monkeys are more peaceful and they don’t jump into the boat to see what they can take, hahaha, although they do get on.

But slowly, even one lay down on the edge of the boat next to me, hahaha.

Another White-faced Monkey on another monkeys island
Another White-faced Monkey on another Monkeys island.
Titi monkey at monkeys island
Titi monkey.

We continued our tour and went to see the Howler Monkeys, they are very territorial, that’s why they usually howl when people get close.

We saw several of them that were on top of the trees, Jerry tried to imitate their sound.

Howler monkeys at monkeys island
Howler monkeys in the trees.

On the way we had the opportunity to see several birds such as snail kite, eagles, and a very small one whose name I do not remember.

There are people who even go bird watching.

En el camino tuvimos la oportunidad de ver varias aves como caracolero, águilas, y una muy chiquita cuyo nombre no recuerdo.

Landscapes in Gatun Lake.
Landscapes in Gatún Lake.

On the way back, we could see several ships that passed through the Panama Canal waters, including a Car Carrier (those that carry cars), when they pass they leave some high waves.

Later, when we almost saw the Gamboa Bridge, it started to rain, we were all ahead, so we quickly moved to the back chairs, but one of the boys put his shoes in front.

The rain only lasted 1 minute, but it was strong enough to wet everything that was uncovered.

Panama Canal
In the boat, seconds before it rained.

Soberanía National Park Pipeline

At the dock, we take the cars to go to one of the trails of the Soberanía National Park, the Pipeline Trail (sendero del Oleoducto).

The road was built in World War II, to maintain the pipeline, where it would transport oil, in the event of a bombing to the Panama Canal.

It is a 23 km one-way trail, of course, we only did 2 km.

Pipeline Trail
Pipeline Trail.

It was a simple trail, it was easy, quite wide (cars pass through that part, so, although they go very slow, you have to be careful).

The trail is made of stones, therefore, you will not get muddy, but it is recommended to do it with sneakers.

If you go in silence, you may see some animals, in our case we saw a ñeque and heard several birds.

We, on the trail, kept a fairly long distance, sometimes up to 50m, which allowed us to be without a mask and thus make the bed more pleasant.

With Jenny I learned that nothing should be left, even organic, because its composition can affect the place and the animals in it.

I already knew that you should not leave seeds, nor plant non-native trees, since the fruits of these can negatively affect animals, but I did not know their composition as well, something new is learned every day.


Although the street of Gamboa says that they can drive up to 80km, I recommend driving 60km or less.

That street is in Soberanía National Park and it is very easy to see sloths and ñeques crossing the street, you can also see other animals such as toucans and monkeys.

These animals are easy to see between the Centennial Bridge and Gamboa.

Pipeline Trail in gamboa


  • Bring sunscreen,
  • Water,
  • Snacks, (in Gamboa the only place to eat is at the Gamboa Hotel)
  • Raincoat in case of rain,
  • Sneakers,
  • Waterproof bag for your things, in case of rain,
  • Comfortable clothes that you can walk in,
  • For the boat, it is recommended clothing that covers it from the sun, however, for the Soberanía National Park, fresher clothing is recommended,
  • Complete change clothes, in case it rains and you get wet,
  • Do not leave garbage.


  • There is no defined schedule for the visit, this will depend on the tour. They are always day tour, in my case I start at 7:30 a.m. from Panama City.


  • From $60.00 – tours.

Includes transportation from Panama City, tour of Gatun Lake, and hiking in the Soberanía National Park.

My guide

Jenny from El Trip de Jenny, you can contact her at 507 6676-2005, info@eltripdejenny.com

Tours in Spanish, English and Portuguese.

trees at Pipeline Trail

How to get there?

The place to start the tour, will depend on the tour, it can be a meeting point in Panama City such as a shopping center or even the hotel where you are staying.

Due to Covid-19 issues, for home bubble tours or small groups, in many cases, a meeting point is set up in Panama City.

Then all the cars move to the Port of Gamboa.

Although Gamboa is in Colón, the port is in the province of Panama, this means that it is next to the Gamboa Bridge.

You will not be lost, because the guide is in the first car guiding the others and it is only one way.

Other places you may like

A Titi Monkey at monkeys island
A Titi Monkey decided to rest right next to me.

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