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Panama Canal

Panama Canal: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Panama City: Panama Canal and Monkey Island Tour

1. From Panama City: Panama Canal and Monkey Island Tour

Spend half a day exploring the Panama Canal while learning about its history and creation. See the famed Miraflores Locks in action and take a scenic boat ride on the Chagres River. Get picked up at your hotel or other location in Panama City, and journey to the Panama Canal Visitors Center for a detailed explanation about how the canal and famous Miraflores Locks work. Visit the museum to learn more about this important water passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Drive by Miraflores Lake and the Pedro Miguel Locks as you make your way to the Chagres River. Climb aboard for a scenic boat trip across artificial Gatun Lake. Marvel at the surrounding landscape of the biggest and most important lake in the Panama Canal. Watch as large ships pass through the canal to get a sense of the magnitude of this masterpiece of engineering. Arrive at a group of islands to see different species of animals and monkeys. Return to Panama City and get dropped off at your hotel.

Panama City: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus

2. Panama City: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus

See Panama City from the top deck of an open top tour bus. New to the city, the tour takes you to all the major attractions of the Panama capital. Set amidst the Pacific Ocean, the rainforest and Panama Canal, Panama City is a striking modern city, not least because of its unique attractions. The tour is designed to ensure that you see all main attractions beginning with the World famous Panama Canal. Learn about the construction of this 8th wonder of the world with a live guide. The bus also travels to the colonial city of Casco Antiguo, as it is known in Spanish. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it boasts wonderful colonial Spanish and Italian architecture. Panama also has splendid examples of French architecture, due to the French presence during the last decade of the 19th century when the French attempted to build the canal. Visit the islands that are connected by a Causeway. From here you will experience great views of the Panama Canal entrance and the Bridge of the Americas, as well as stunning views of the Panama City skyline and skyscrapers. On the way to the islands, and at the entrance of the Causeway, is the amazing Frank Gehry-designed Bio-Museum. Also known as the "Bridge of Life," it explains how Panama rises from the seas and links North with South America. As well as taking in Panama´s key places of historical interest, the city has a vibrant outdoor scene with several cafés, which are a delight to hop-off and linger at. You can visit areas where you will find restaurants and bars that cater for all palates, as well as shopping areas like the Albrook Mall, which boasts brands from around the world, sometimes sold at bargain prices. Tour stops: 1. Balboa Boutiques Plaza 2. Parque Urraca 3. Mi Pueblito 4. Albrook Mall 5. Miraflores Locks - Canal 6. Entrada de Amador 7. Biomuseum 8. Punta Culebra 9. Isla Flamenco 10. Isla Perico 11. Sabores Del Chorrillo 12. Casco Antiguo 13. Multicentro

Panama City: Half Day City and Panama Canal Tour

3. Panama City: Half Day City and Panama Canal Tour

Enjoy 2 hours at the fascinating Panama Canal before exploring Panama City's history and sights. Discover 4 levels of exhibitions about the Canal at the Miraflores Visitor Center.  Take a panoramic drive along the Ancon foothills where you can take in the lush greenery and learn about the area's importance during the world wars. Stop at the Amador Causeway for a chance to get some incredible photos of the city, try one of its best ceviche places, have some amazing homemade ice cream, or do some shopping. Walk through the streets of the Old Town and visit the Cathedral Basilica Santa Maria la Antigua. Take a guided walk, ending in the Plaza de Francia on the old walls that protected the city from invasion over the years.

From Panama City: Monkey Island and Sloth Sanctuary Tour

4. From Panama City: Monkey Island and Sloth Sanctuary Tour

After a pickup from your hotel, head to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort in the Soberania National Park. From here board a boat and sail on Gatun Lake next to the huge ships that cross the Panama Canal. Admire the fauna and vegetation of the tropical forest, as well as Monkey Island where you have the chance to see white-faced capuchin monkeys and howler monkeys in their natural habitat. Continue on to the Sloth Sanctuary to observe three-toed and two-toed sloths that have been rescued. Learn about the life and habits of the sloths, as well as the efforts for the conservation of the species through the volunteers and specialized guides. From the Sloth Sanctuary, move on to the Butterfly House where you can see the butterflies that live in the rainforest such as the colorful Blue Morpho Butterfly. You will also visit the orchid and frog exhibitions to discover more about the species that live in the rainforest.

Panama: 6-Hour Panama Canal Southbound Cruise & Lunch

5. Panama: 6-Hour Panama Canal Southbound Cruise & Lunch

Travel southbound through the Panama Canal during this 6-hour tour from Panama City. With your local guide, board a bus for a 45-minute journey to Gamboa, home of the Panama Canal Dredging Division. Meet your vessel, the Pacific Queen, for a trip through the Gailard cut, the Pedro Miguel Locks, and the Miraflores Locks. Admire scenic views of the Centennial Bridge, the Chagres River, and the Bridge of the Americas. Eat a complimentary lunch on board during your journey. Disembark at the Flamenco Marina in Panama City. - Journey southbound through the Panama Canal - Travel on a small vessel to see the workings of the locks up close - Navigate through the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks - Box Lunch is provided onboard the boat.

From Panama City: Gamboa Rainforest Guided Tour with Lunch

6. From Panama City: Gamboa Rainforest Guided Tour with Lunch

Explore the Panamanian rain forest while gliding smoothly through treetops on an aerial tram. Learn the jungle's most interesting facts from a naturalist guide. Watch colorful birds flying around you.  Take a boat ride through the Panama Canal, observing marine life. End your tour with a delicious lunch. Board a tram bound for a 280-feet peak surrounded by leafy jungle. While going up to the observation tower, enjoy fabulous views of the Chagres River, the Embera indigenous community, and much of the Soberania National Park. Gamboa is home to many natural labs including a butterfly farm, an orchids center, and a frog pond. See around 20 species of butterflies native to Panama at the Butterfly House. Get up close to the sloths at the Sloth Sanctuary. This sanctuary hosts a rehabilitation and training program for injured, sick, and orphaned sloths. Enjoy a scenic boat tour along the Panama Canal's waterways. Observe the fascinating tropical wildlife of Gatun Lake and the surrounding forest. Get a chance to spot crocodiles, caimans, sloths, monkeys, and a host of birds with the help of your guide.

6-Hour Panama Canal Ship Cruise

7. 6-Hour Panama Canal Ship Cruise

Experience the Panama Canal in the most authentic way, by crossing it on board a ship. This 6-hour tour from Panama City will take you to the world famous Miraflores Locks, where you can watch huge ocean-going vessels transiting the canal just a few feet away. Your partial Panama Canal transit starts with a coach ride to Gamboa, where the Panama Canal Dredging Division is located. On arrival, board the cruise ship and enter the canal at the north end of Gaillard Cut, where the Chagres River flows into the canal. The Gaillard Cut, also known as Culebra Cut due to its serpent-like curve, was carved through the Continental Divide, making it one of the canal’s most popular attractions. Travel for 8.2 miles (13.7 kilometers) on the way to Pedro Miguel Locks. As you transit the Cut you will observe the continuous maintenance that the area requires, and the work in progress for the Panama Canal expansion project. View the new Centennial Bridge before you enter Pedro Miguel Locks. Here your vessel will be lowered 29.5 feet (9 meters) in one step. You will then enter Miraflores Lake, a small artificial body of fresh water that separates Pedro Miguel from Miraflores Locks. At Miraflores Locks the vessel will be lowered another 52.5 feet (16 meters) in 2 distinct steps. Once at the Pacific Ocean, sail to the beautiful Flamenco Marina to disembark. On the way to Flamenco, pass under the Bridge of the Americas, and admire the Bay of Panama and Panama City's spectacular skyline.

Panama: Guided Northbound Panama Canal Cruise with Box Lunch

8. Panama: Guided Northbound Panama Canal Cruise with Box Lunch

Experience a relaxing northbound cruise on the Panama Canal aboard the glorious Pacific Queen. Enjoy a complimentary lunch while admiring the breathtaking landscape passing slowly by you.  Pass through the Culebra Cut, the Pedro Miguel Locks, and the engineering marvel of the Miraflores Locks. Learn how the locks are controlled to allow ships to pass through, while tucking into your lunch. Feel the waves beneath your feet as you admire scenic views of the Puente Centenario, the Chagres River, and the brilliant Bridge of the Americas, connecting North and South America. Wave goodbye to the Pacific Queen but hold onto the memories, as you disembark at Gamboa before returning to Panama City.

Panama City: Guided Panama Canal & City Tour with Transfers

9. Panama City: Guided Panama Canal & City Tour with Transfers

First arrive to the Miraflores Visitor's Center look for the transit to the vessels in the Panama Canal, there you can see when the vessels raise and through the Miraflores lake and continue the raise to Pedro Miguel Locks, next trough for the bridge of Americas for look the panoramic air view for the New Locks, and the line for the vessels waiting your turn for transit for the canal, stop in the Flamingo island for take the picture to the big Panama sign and see the natural fishbowl, and finish in the marvel Casco Antiguo, there we'll walk or make the panoramic view to the churches and squares. Tour time around 4 to 5 hours.

Panama City: City and Panama Canal Private Tour

10. Panama City: City and Panama Canal Private Tour

Discover the highlights of Panama City and the incredible Panama Canal on a morning or afternoon tour with a private guide. Start with pickup from your hotel by comfortable car, and then visit the Miraflores Visitors Center to learn more about the workings of the Panama Canal. Watch the ships pass through the locks at the busiest time of day. Then, marvel at the Amador Causeway road that connects 3 islands at the Pacific Ocean entrance to the Panama Canal. See the Biodiversity Museum designed by Frank Gehry and take a memorable picture at the Panama sign. Explore the Casco Viejo (Old Town) of Panama City to appreciate the beauty of the colonial buildings and browse the handicraft stores.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Panama Canal

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What people are saying about Panama Canal

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 858 reviews

We were picked up by a bus from the Hotel Dreams Playa Bonita and looked after optimally throughout the day, very well informed and driven safely (an adventurous trip Panama-style). We got many impressions and were pointed out to animals in the trees. The driver stopped for this and we were allowed to get out to watch and film the animals. A small boat took us across the Panama Canal towards Gatun Lake to see the monkeys and birds. On the way back we even saw a big crocodile in front of the camera. A visit to the sloths, butterflies and orchids is also included and worth seeing. The highlight is of course the gondola ride with a German audio guide in and over the rainforest - exciting, impressive and just beautiful. The food at the hotel was a buffet with all the goodies you can imagine. All in all a great tour worth seeing that you absolutely have to take part in.

Juan Carlos was our guide and he was amazing gave us so much history and facts about Panama City that really made this tour worth it. He also made sure to take us to the Canal at a time when the boat would actually be passing through. Van was comfortable and picked us up from our hotel, they provided cold water and snacks as well along the way.

This was my first time in Panama, and I'm glad that I chose this wonderful, very informative tour. Chris was awesome and very knowledgeable. I would definitely recommend I loved every part of the tour. If I could give 10 stars I certainly would.

Juan Carlos is a excellent tour guide, he explained everything that was going on very well and he is very knowledgeable about the history of Panama

Gonzo was an excellent guide and this is a great trip. Rainforest, canal, Indian village and lots of interesting information from Gonzo.