Panama Canal
Activities

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Our most recommended Panama Canal Activities

Panama City: Small-Group Miraflores Locks and City Tour

1. Panama City: Small-Group Miraflores Locks and City Tour

Starting the day early will give you the chance to learn even more about the Panama Canal. Skip the traffic and arrive at the Miraflores Locks visitor center when it opens, so you can watch the action in peace. After the canal, head to Casco Viejo, the second city of Panama built in 1673. Walk around and enjoy the architecture and hear about its historical relevance.  Drive over the Bridge of the Americas for amazing views. Stop at the viewpoint to hear more about Panama City and its future. The Amador Causeway, Panama City's bustling boardwalk, is one of the most refreshing places in the city. End the tour with some recommendations for lunch and further exploration from your guide, leaving you with the tools to get the most out of your visit to this beautiful and modern city.

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Panama City: Ocean to Ocean Panama Canal and Jungle Tour

2. Panama City: Ocean to Ocean Panama Canal and Jungle Tour

Begin your tour with hotel pickup at 7:00 AM. Travel west of Panama City to start your exploration of the Panama Canal. Embark on a 90-minute boat tour on the Canal and Gatun Lake. Ride along the canal and get an up-close view of the ships passing through as well as the abundant wildlife along the shores. Visit the famous Monkey Islands, where you can see capuchins, howlers, and tamarins. Then, head 45 minutes north to the Caribbean side of Panama to visit the Agua Clara Visitor Center to see the new expansion locks operating up-close. Observe transiting vessels passing through the Agua Clara Locks on the way to the Pacific or the Atlantic Ocean from a scenic lookout point. Learn first-hand about the various operations of the Panama Canal, the history of its construction, its participation in world markets, and the importance of its watershed. Make your way to a scenic and quiet spot beneath the Gatun Dam and have a picnic lunch at the fork of the French West Diversion Channel and the Chagres River. Next, travel to San Lorenzo National Park, where you can visit a remote rainforest full of flora and fauna, followed by a tour of Fort San Lorenzo. Discover a 400-year-old Spanish fort on a scenic cliff overlooking the Caribbean. Hear about the many attacks by pirates and privateers at one of the most historically important places in Panama. Finally, be returned to your hotel in Panama City.

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Panama: Miraflores, Canal, & Casco Viejo Private City Tour

3. Panama: Miraflores, Canal, & Casco Viejo Private City Tour

Discover the sights of Panama City on this private multi-stop day tour with a local guide. Visit the Miraflores Locks and the Panama Canal and its museum before continuing to Amador Causeway and Casco Viejo, Panama City’s colonial quarter. In the morning, meet your private Panama guide at your hotel or residence, then set out for an unforgettable excursion to the city’s most historical sites and the Panama Canal Miraflores Locks. Take a 30-minute ride to the Miraflores Locks to observe the huge vessels passing the Panama Canal. The busiest hours are from 9 AM to 11 AM and from 2 PM to 5 PM, so you will be able to see many ships getting lifted or lowered 16 meters in two distinct steps. Take in the views on the locks from a sheltered terrace and listen to the explanations of your guide. To complete your visit to the Canal, visit the Panama Canal Museum and Visitor Center to get a good idea of the construction of the canal, a masterpiece of engineering. Before the next stop, learn about the history of the canal and its significance for Panama and the entire world trade as well as on the current expansion project. Continue the tour to the Panamá Viejo, the ruins of Old Panama. Old Panama was the first European settlement and community on the Pacific Coast of the Americas. This first Panama City was looted and destroyed by the notorious English buccaneer Henry Morgan in 1671 and therefore was abandoned. Today, there are only ruins left of Old Panama. Still, the tower of the ancient cathedral is standing and has become a landmark of the town. Head to Amador Causeway next, a road that connects three Islands in the Pacific Ocean and offers unbeatable views of the canal on one side and of the city skyline on the other. Lunch will be served in a Panamanian restaurant on the causeway (cost not included). After lunch, the tour continues to the Casco Viejo, where you will feel set back in time as you admire and enjoy the view of the characteristic colonial houses, the narrow roads, and the awe-inspiring churches. Before drop-off back at your hotel or residence, get a better picture of Panama’s history by driving or walking through the main attractions of this historic quarter. 

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From Panama City: Gatun Lake and Monkey Island Tour

4. From Panama City: Gatun Lake and Monkey Island Tour

Following a convenient pickup from your hotel in Panama City, head to the town of Gamboa in the Soberania National Park. Get on board a boat and depart along the Gatun Lake next to the huge ships that cross the Panama Canal. Marvel at the fauna and vegetation of the tropical forest, as well as the residents of Monkey Island where you can admire the white-faced capuchin, Geoffroy’s tamarin, and howler monkeys in their natural habitat. In Gatun Lake you’ll also can find many species of birds like toucans, hawks, herons, snail kites, and other mamals like agoutis, coatis, and capybaras. After the boat trip and Monkey Island experience, return back to your hotel with a drop-off.

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Panama City: Panama Canal and Gatun Lake Jungle Eco Cruise

5. Panama City: Panama Canal and Gatun Lake Jungle Eco Cruise

Begin your tour with hotel pickup in central Panama City. Travel to Panama Canal north to the town of Gamboa, where the Chagres River meets the canal. Ride along the waters of the Panama Canal right next to the ships passing through on their way to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Then, head to Gatun Lake, a large artificial lake created in 1907. Cruise around islands created during the canal construction and see the abundant wildlife on its shores. Also visit the famous Monkey Islands where you can see capuchins, howlers, and tamarins up-close in their natural habitat. Once you finish with the canal and Monkey Island boat tour (around 90 minutes), travel to a unique spot with views of the Panama Canal and enjoy a traditional Panamanian breakfast. After breakfast, enjoy a walk in Soberania National Park. Here, experience nature in one of the most biodiverse rain forests in the world. The length of the walk and the type of trail will depend on the physical capabilities of the group.

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Panama City Layover Tour

6. Panama City Layover Tour

Using your flight number and airline name, a driver will track your flight until it lands. After landing, the driver will be waiting for you outside with a sign highlighting your name. The driver will assist you to the car with your luggage. Once in the car, the driver will head to the Miraflores Visitors Center at the Panama Canal where you will see the ships going through the Miraflores Locks on their way from one ocean to the other. The tour will be designed for you to visit the Panama Canal during the busiest time of the day so you can watch the whole process from a terrace. After leaving the Panama Canal, the guide will take you to the Amador Coastway, a road which connects 3 islands where you will have the opportunity to see the Biodiversity Museum designed by Frank Gehry or the Smithsonian Marine Research Center. The following destination will be the Old Town of Panama where you can appreciate the beauty of colonial buildings and handicraft shops while walking the quaint, narrow roads. After the Old Town, see the modern Panama City on your way to the airport.

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Panama City: Panama Canal Eco Cruise and Embera Village Tour

7. Panama City: Panama Canal Eco Cruise and Embera Village Tour

Begin your tour with hotel pickup. Follow the Panama Canal north to the town of Gamboa, where the Chagres River meets the canal. Begin your 90-minute cruise from a boat on the waters of the canal and Gatun Lake, riding along the canal near the ships passing through. Enjoy an up-close view of the abundant wildlife on the shores. Visit the famous Monkey Islands where you can see capuchins, howlers, and tamarins. Once you finish your canal and lake boat ride, head 1-hour northeast to the rugged and remote Chagres National Park. Once you arrive at Puerto Corotu on the banks of Lake Alajuela, the indigenous Embera people will be waiting to take you up the Chagres River aboard their version of a motorized dugout canoe. From the canoe, witness pristine rain forest that is protected as part of the Panama Canal watershed. Discover one of the most biologically diverse national parks in the world, home to jaguars, harpy eagles, tapirs, monkeys, sloths, and hundreds of bird species. Arrive at the indigenous village where the hosts will be waiting. Learn about the local way of life with a cultural presentation and take the opportunity to explore the village. Enjoy a light lunch of fried fish, plantains, and fresh fruit prepared by the locals. Browse for traditional handicrafts and receive traditional temporary tattoos, which will fade away after a few days. Hop back in the canoe and begin your journey back to Panama City.

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Panama City: Jungle & Gatun Safari Tour on the Panama Canal

8. Panama City: Jungle & Gatun Safari Tour on the Panama Canal

Depart for the the world’s most famous manmade lake at 8:30 and spend 6 hours touring the area. Lake Gatun was constructed between 1906 and 1914 to make the Panama Canal possible. From the lake’s shore you will board fast motorboats for a voyage of discovery. Navigate above ancient routes that crossed the isthmus long before the lake's creation. Huge ocean ships can be seen gliding across this water bridge that links the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. See history in the making with the works to expand the canal. Glide past lush tropical forests to a scenic region of the lake and see the splendor and excitement of the jungle first-hand. Exotic birds, monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and crocodiles are just a few of the animals that you can view in their native surroundings. The sights, sounds, and scents that make up this tropical paradise will engulf you. Your ultimate destination will be the only floating house on the lake. This 2-story structure has plenty of room for you to relax and enjoy the day. A delicious native-style lunch with refreshments will be served. Afterwards numerous activities are available at no additional costs. Explore on your own while kayaking, swimming, and fishing.

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Panama City Private 5-Hour Tour

9. Panama City Private 5-Hour Tour

See the highlights of Panama City and the incredible Panama Canal on a 5-hour morning or afternoon tour with a private guide. Get picked-up 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 Coastway road that connects 3 islands at the Pacific Ocean entrance to the Panama Canal. Visit the Biodiversity Museum designed by Frank Gehry, or learn more about the tropical marine life at the Smithsonian Marine Research Center. Get some time for lunch before exploring the Old Town of Panama City to appreciate the beauty of the colonial buildings and browse the handicrafts stores.

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Panama City: Gamboa Rainforest Resort Aerial Tram Tour

10. Panama City: Gamboa Rainforest Resort Aerial Tram Tour

Enjoy sweeping views of the local wildlife on an aerial tram ride through the rainforest near Panama City. Get picked up from your hotel in Panama City and head into the rainforest. Take in the views from the tram and enjoy even more fabulous, 360-degree views from the top. See ships moving through the Panama Canal and amazing views down the Chagres River, around beautiful Soberania Park, and the Gamboa Rainforest Resort.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Panama Canal

Want to discover all there is to do in Panama Canal? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Panama Canal

I definitely recommend the tour. Tony picked me up from the hotel on time. On the trip to the canal, he told a lot about the city and answered all questions. At the canal itself you have to pay another $ 10 entry - I hadn't known that before, but it's worth it. In the old quarter he showed us a lot out of the car. I would have preferred to get out of the car and walk around more, but of course it was a convenient alternative.

Our tour was fantastic. Our guide John Acosta was very kind with the kids, very knowledgeable and always ready to assist us in any needs. Would definitively recommend this trip for anyone coming to Panama.

Good experience to discover the Panama way from the Pacific to the Atlantic and the Canal story from the Carlos Quintos project to the actual one.

Our guide was excellent and knowledgeable and very helpful!

The tour fills all that you need to see in Panama City.