After our visit to colorful Cartagena our ship made way for the port of Cristóbal, Panama. Cristóbal seems to have a bad reputation. We were adviced by our agency to book an excursion for the day and there was talk about holdups and armed robberies on the ship. Once we arrived there was police all around our cruise ship. We had docked in the port itself, next to a line of container ships. After breakfast we got on board of an excursion bus. There were police escorts out of the port for those who wanted to visit the nearby shopping center. It was all a bit impressive.
We were travelling with family and most of the group wanted to take a boat tour on the Panama Canal. I must admit that I felt little for floating around in a small boat right between the container giants, but the promise of a beautiful rain forest and wildlife helped me get over my fears. We choose the Monkey Watch at Gamboa (Monkey Islands tour). After a 1 hour bus ride we were put into small motor boats with a capacity of about twenty people. Quick safety instructions and off we went!
It was a rainy day and most of the birds were in hiding. The monkeys, however, were all out to play! Our guide spotted a group of Capuchins and lured them onto our boat with bananas. People were going crazy! It was simply sad to see how some completely lost their manners. The kids next to me couldn’t see the cute little monkeys because a few ladies in the front just wouldn’t move aside for them to watch. It made me feel bad. We drifted through the canals looking for other wildlife, but people showed the same obnoxious behavior every time our guide found another monkey. We soon came across a large group of Howler Monkeys. My boyfriend was especially fond of this species, because when they get mad they 1) howl extremely loud and 2) throw poo. That latter fact was seriously the highlight of his cruise, haha. If you are lucky you can also spot Toucans on the Monkey Islands. I wanted to see toucans the whole cruise and never got to see one. #sadpanda.
As soon as we got back on the boat we were surprised by another tropical thunderstorm. The rain came down with buckets and it got so dark so quickly. It was truly majestic to see all the container ships laid out on the canal as it got misty and dark outside. We had a bit of gun shooting the ghostly sights from the top deck!