"CANAL TOURS" Panama Things to Do Tip by mtncorg

Panama Things to Do: 234 reviews and 444 photos

  Fantasia del Mar taking a load of tourists
by mtncorg
  • Fantasia del Mar taking a load of tourists - Panama
      Fantasia del Mar taking a load of tourists
    by mtncorg
  • Another way to see the Canal from a Panamax - Panama
      Another way to see the Canal from a Panamax
    by mtncorg

Most tourists to Panama visit by transiting the Canal on gigantic cruise ships during the Panamanian dry season - their ?summer? - mid-December to mid-April. Other land-based tourists can experience the 80 kilometer Canal on Saturday cruises from the Panama City side of the Canal. Partial transits are offered every Saturday while at least one Saturday per month - usually the last Saturday - complete transits are offered. We had already see the locks at Gatun, so we decided to take the partial tour which disembarks at Gamboa on the south side of Gatun Lake - remember, the Canal goes in a north-south direction and Panama, itself, runs in an east-west direction. The difference in cost is $50 - partial tour being $99. The difference in time is 4.5 hours for the partial tour and 8 hours for the complete. For more on the partial transit, see my two travelogues in these pages.

The tours, run by the Canal Bay and Tours company from Muelle/Pier 19 in Balboa. They leave from there at 0730, heading out to the Puente de las Americas and then back through both the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks before moving up into the Gatun Lake and through the Culebra Cut (and the Continental Divide) to Gamboa. Here, partial transit passenger disembark, while complete transit passengers stay aboard for the passage across the lake and through the three locks at Gatun. At the end of either transit, passengers are then bussed back to the point of the tour?s origin. Food, coffee, water and soft drinks are all available aboard - beer costs $2 per can. The bilingual guide - English/Spanish - will tell you all you need to know about the Canal?s history and operation. Tip boxes for the guide and crew come out at the tour?s end.

Phone: (507) 314-1349
Website: http://www.canalandbaytours.com/

Review Helpfulness: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jun 24, 2005
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