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The Embera and the Wounan indigenous peoples of Panama are often thought to inhabit only the Darien Province. Because of historical circumstances traditional borders and boundaries have disappeared and these two distinct cultures have migrated and moved to different areas within Panama and Colombia. The Darien is no longer the only  home to to these cultures. Members of the Kuna Yala also inhabit the Darien although many think that they primarily live on the San Blas Islands.

Regardless of why these peoples have moved the Embera and the Wounan have joined together in many instances in order to simply survive. Their languages are different as are their customs. But they know that for their culture to survive there must be continual adaptations and development.

The Embera and the Wounan found closest to Panama City and Colon are those that inhabit land along the Rio Gatun, not far from the highway between the two cities. They are very hospitable and eager to show outsiders how they live.


The Embera Wounan live on the Rio Gatun (yellow arrow marks the spot)








Entire website and photos (C) 2005 Fred Salaff