The Embera people originally lived their lives in the Darien province, but due to the proximity to their neighbor Colombia and their guerrillas and drug traffickers, the area turned out a little dangerous.
So that, in 1950 members of the community moved from Darien to this area when it was not yet a national park. They moved here to farm, cultivate, hunt and fish. Thirty years later, the Panamanian government created the Chagres National Park, thus making the land a protected area. This is the reason why the Embera people living here now are not allowed to hunt or grow any crops, only to fish. The government gave the idea to the Embera people to organize themselves in order to receive tourists and share their culture with them as a source of income. The government suggested them to change their housing arrangement and gather as a community for easier access for tourists to visit them. So, even if the Embera people still live in huts built on high stilts (for protection from floods, and also wild animals) and with thatched roofs, wear vividly colorful handmade clothes, and eat traditional food, they had to make many changes in their lifestyle: they learned how to market their handicrafts and how to work with tourism agencies from the capital in order to receive groups of tourists. Some young people from the community choose to go to work or study in the city; and some return to contribute their acquired skills (e.g., Spanish language) to the community. (90 minutes from Panama City approx).
The community of Embera Tusipono are happily living in this new location closer to Panama City because as a consequence of this moving, they have some kind of access to medical services and some education without losing their identity, respecting their traditions and life style. Come and take the Embera Tour to see by yourself how nice these people are.
To make a reservation call:
In Panama: 836-5333
Toll Free from USA: 1-866-390-3451