Things to do in
Panama Canal

Panama Canal: Our most recommended tours and activities

Panama City: City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

1. Panama City: City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

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 / Pasillo del Koala 5. Esclusas de Miraflores (Canal de Panama) 6. Biomuseo 7. Punta Culebra 8. Isla Flamenco 9. Isla Perico 10. Sabores del Chorrillo 11. Casco Antiguo 12. Mercado del Marisco 13. Multicentro

Panama City: Half Day City and Panama Canal Tour

2. 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.

Panama: Monkey Island, Sloth Sanctuary and Panama Canal Tour

3. Panama: Monkey Island, Sloth Sanctuary and Panama Canal Tour

Explore a rich variety of ecological attractions on a guided trip from Panama City to a butterfly farm, a frog exhibition, a sloth sanctuary, and an orchid garden. Ride a boat into the Chagres River and into the Panama Canal, watching large cruise ships sail by. Meet your guide at your hotel, starting the tour early to see more monkeys before their bellies are full from other visitors feeding them. As you begin the 40-minute drive, see colonial American neighborhoods that served as homes for the Canal construction families and pass the Culebra Cut. As you arrive at the shores of Lake Gatun, be greeted by the dense rainforest and all its intriguing sights and sounds. Embark on a boat ride into the Chagres River, which will lead you into the artificially created Gatun Lake, which is a hotspot for biodiversity. Spot wildlife such as the coati, howler monkeys, squirrels, and sloths, as well as beautiful birds like the toucan and parrots. Take a path parallel to the Panama Canal and into Soberanía National Park on your way to the Gamboa Public Docks, where the Chagres River meets the Panama Canal. A couple of minutes into the boat ride, enter the Canal and take a quick ride past the Dredging Division's facilities and along the shipping lane toward the Monkey Island area. With Panama’s abundant biodiversity, a bit of luck, and your boat captains’ sharp eyes, keep an eye out for wildlife. As you land on Monkey Island, listen for the different primate sounds and the rustling in the trees as monkeys jump amongst the branches. Prepare for monkeys to come up to you and inspect your clothes, hats, and bags. Next up, visit the Sloth Sanctuary located inside the Gamboa region, nestled within the lush rainforests of Panama. As you arrive at the sanctuary, find yourself surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature, creating a serene and tranquil atmosphere. Upon entering the sanctuary, be greeted by passionate staff who will provide you with an introduction to the world of sloths. Listen to interesting facts about these slow-moving creatures, their behaviors, and their importance in the ecosystem. Next, visit the Orchid Gardens within walking distance from the sloth sanctuary to admire wild species native to the country, including some miniature ones and Panama’s national flower. Then explore the Frog Exhibition, home to hundreds of frogs native to tropical America. For your last stop, head to the Butterfly House to observe the endemic butterflies that live in the Panamanian rainforest such as the colorful Blue Morpho Butterfly. Finally, make your way back to Panama City.

From Panama City: Panama Canal and Monkey Island Tour

4. 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 in the Panama Canal. 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: Embera Indigenous Tribe & River Tour with Lunch

5. Panama City: Embera Indigenous Tribe & River Tour with Lunch

Ride a canoe up the Chagres River, and visit the traditional Embera village on a full-day tour. Learn about their traditional food, see their lively dances, and immerse yourself in their fascinating traditions.  Start with a pickup and a 1-hour drive from Panama City to Lake Alajuela, inside the Panama Canal watershed. Board a motorized canoe for a 40-minute trip along the river, then stretch your legs on a short walk around the community. Return to the Embera village, who have traditionally lived and worked at the edge of rivers, and are known throughout Panama for their distinctive songs, dances, and costumes.  The Embera tribe originates from the Darien region in Panama and the Choco region of Colombia. They have lived in this area for centuries, long before the first Spanish explorer set foot in the new world.  You’ll have 3 hours to explore the village, get to know some local people, and learn about life in the community. Sit down for a traditional lunch, then watch a dance that depicts the Embera's relationship with the natural world.  Before departing the village, shop for traditional handicrafts and souvenirs made by the local people. Head back down the river by canoe, and board the vehicle for the return trip to Panama City.

Panama: Guided Northbound Panama Canal Cruise

6. Panama: Guided Northbound Panama Canal Cruise

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: 6-Hour Panama Canal Southbound Cruise & Lunch

7. 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.

Panama City: Monkey Island Boat Tour

8. Panama City: Monkey Island Boat Tour

After collection from your hotel in Panama City you'll head directly to the canal to see the Miraflores Lake, the Pedro Miguel Locks and finally, the journey continues by car until the town of Gamboa, in the middle of the Panama Canal. There, at the edge of the Chagres River, you'll take a trip by boat to the Gatun Lake - the biggest and most important lake in the Panama Canal. There you will share space with large ships during the journey through the Panama Canal until you arrive at a group of islands to find 3 monkey species who live there plus a variety of wildlife including birds, turtles, crocodiles, sloths and more. After the trip, you will go back to the Panama City and enjoy the view of the tropical rainforest and the canal on your way back to the hotel.

From Panama City: Monkey Island and Sloth Sanctuary Tour

9. 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.

From Panama City: Gamboa Rainforest Guided Tour with Lunch

10. 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.

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What people are saying about Panama Canal

Overall rating

(1,362 reviews)

Great tour. Visit to Miraflores locks was a litle rushed, but thanks to our guide's determination at the islands we saw up close all three different kinds of monkeys, and a sloth. Boutique type tour, delberately limited in number of people (there were seven on our tour), allows good group interaction and opportunity for everyone to see everything.

Excellent all around! Miguel was very responsive via phone/watsapp and accommodating. Our guide for the day, Tony, went above and beyond for our tour. My family and I enjoyed it and we would 10/10 recommend to others!

Perfect! No delays at all with the pickup schedule. We got to see more than monkeys and it was just amazing. We got to hold a small crocodile and it was just perfect

It was a great trip. Our guide Saul was so knowledgeable and such a good guide. It was a good experience and I recommend to everyone.

We loved it from the first second to the last. This was one of my bucket lists and was 100% satisfied. Highly recommended.