Panama City ATTRACTIONS See all

Miraflores Locks

It is a mesmerizing scene, the massive machinery - some 700 tons of it, reinforced against the mighty Pacific - of iconic Miraflores Locks in operation. It is particularly impressive when Panamax barges, specifically designed to thread the world's ... 

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Mary Ann M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2017

It was an amazing trip. JC our guide was so knowledgeable. We loved it.

Doing what: Panama Canal Partial Transit Sightseeing Cruise

Ann T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2017

There is nothing like the Panama Canal. The ride through the jungle to the starting point was interesting....and then we got on the boat! Though there are long periods when nothing is happening.....the boat has to wait for the other tour boats, tankers, freighters etc. going through the lock together.....the narrator fills the gaps in action with fascinating narrative about the canal. Watching the HUGE tanker follow us into the lock, and then descending as the water level in the lock decreases...simply amazing. The lunch served by the efficient and pleasant staff was quite adequate one doesn't go to Panama for the food. Your experience will be enhanced if you read about the making of the canal beforehand. A tip for the budget traveler: though you will be told to get to the check-in point via taxi, at about 30 each way, it is super easy to get there via Panama's fast, quiet underground metro and then a bus to the marina for a total cost of 70 cents each way.

Doing what: Panama Canal Partial Tour - Southbound Direction

Ramsay T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2017

A full day giving us an excellent sense of Panama City. We learned about both history and a sense of the current development. Early start was a great idea to beat heat and traffic. Our guide, Ross, was both personable and knowledgeable.

Doing what: Panama City Sightseeing Tour Including Miraflores Locks

Guy W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2017

All perfect from pickup at hotel to the return to hotel!

Doing what: Panama Canal Partial Transit Sightseeing Cruise

Fluvia G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2017

Great experience, a must in Panama!

Doing what: Panama Canal Partial Transit Sightseeing Cruise

YENHUI C

4 star rating: Recommended
February 2017

The guide is really good and knowledgable. I enjoy very much the walking tour in Vasco viejo.

Doing what: Panama City Sightseeing Tour Including Miraflores Locks

Liz V

4 star rating: Recommended
February 2017

A wonderful experience! The boat was full of character, the food was average but plentiful, the commentary was interesting and informative but could have been cleare on occasions , the Canal itself was awesome! My husband was even invited up to the ship's bridge to meet the pilot!
The organisation and pick ups were good, but we did not get email confirmation of our pick up time and our hotel had to ring the company to check for us. A great trip along the Canal !

Doing what: Panama Canal Partial Transit Sightseeing Cruise

minoti r

4 star rating: Recommended
February 2017

This was an excellent tour with JC as our tour guide. Although it was a long day, since we started at 6:30 AM and finished by 6:00PM, it was well worth it.The canal is an engineering miracle and I was really glad to take this tour. The staff were all courteous, the food was moderately good but JC's explanation made it fun.
Minoti Rajput
February 4, 2017

Doing what: Panama Canal Transit Tour

Beth R

4 star rating: Recommended
February 2017

The canal is an amazing feat of engineering and the tour was overall worthwhile. The emcee/host talked a bit too much and the rides there and back were long - and the day was very long as well - but I'd still recommend people try this when in the area.

Doing what: Panama Canal Partial Transit Sightseeing Cruise

joseavilesiii

4 star rating: Recommended
February 2017

Next time would bring own food.

Doing what: Panama Canal Full Transit Tour

Molly P

3 star rating: Worth doing
February 2017

Our guide was delightful, but the waiting was not. We were told to be in our lobby at 7:15 for a pick up time between 720 and 740, at 825 our bus arrived.
We then went to the terminal where we waited for our next bus and then off to the boat, where we waited for the food to arrive, etc. There seemed to be a lot of waiting.
After we got underway things were better, there was plenty to drink, sodas and water. The breakfast snacks of fruit and cake were nice. Lunch was so, so - beef or chicken with rice and potatoes, mixed veggies and a basic salad.
But I will say our Guide was informative and fun to listen to - the trip through the locks was worth the time.
I am glad that I went on this trip.

Doing what: Panama Canal Transit Tour

Rick H

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
February 2017

Book this tour directly from Panama Canal and Bay Tours! Our guide J.C., or Juan Carlos is bilingual, explaining everything in both English and Spanish using a microphone so all could hear. We took an air conditioned bus to the dock, traveling about 1 hour 20 minutes. At the dock we boarded a wooden boat with a covered top and open sides. Restrooms are below deck. There is an open area on the front of the boat and you can easily move between the two areas, or go below deck for the buffet lunch. The tour was wonderful, about 3 hours moving across the lake and through the locks to the Pacific side. So interesting!! A must see for your bucket list!

The bad part was that when we booked the trip, Viator provided information that a driver would bring us from the hotel to the bus stop and we would be notified the day before of the the pick up time. Emailed them the day before and no response so our hotel concierge assisted us in calling several numbers until we found a live person that gave us a hotel pick up time of 8:30 a.m. The
morning of the trip, the driver called us at 6:30 a.m. and said he was in the lobby. He did not speak English and we did not speak Spanish, so he left. We were again assisted by our hotel concierge for several more phone calls, and finally the driver returned at 9:00 30 minutes late and we were driven to the bus pick up station. Proceeded to have a great tour of the canal, but when we arrived back at site, there was no return driver. Juan Carlos, our guide, stayed at the site for an additional 25-30 minutes with us, calling the phone numbers provided by Viator, and was told a driver was coming, but no one ever showed up. Finally Juan helped us procure a cab to take us back to the hotel. Our hotel concierge and our tour narrator provided more assistance that Viator, so we recommend booking the trip directly through the Panama Bay and Canal Tours company.

Doing what: Panama Canal Partial Transit Sightseeing Cruise

Kathleen F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

The partial transit tour was great. JC was a great tour guide. One problem was our bus was late and we were the last group to get on the boat and so we got the only seating that was left which were lightweight aluminum deck chairs that were not secured. It was a little scary a couple of times when the boat lurched and the chairs tipped. Since most everybody was 70 years old or older this could've been a disaster if the chairs had tipped over. Some of the people already on the boat seem to be getting more attention and better service than our group and we couldn't understand the reason for that but it was still a great day. Would highly recommend the tour.

Doing what: Panama Canal Partial Transit Sightseeing Cruise

Linda G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

We had an awesome experience on the Panama Canal - went through 3 locks! The tour guide did a fantastic job! Once in a lifetime experience!

Doing what: Panama Canal Partial Transit Sightseeing Cruise

Lawrence V

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

logistically, the trip was executed perfectly from hotel pickup to hotel drop off. They called the hotel the day before to confirm pickup time ranges Panama City traffic is bad in the AM. Well done! Took a bus to Gamboa, about 45 minutes and boarded the ship. A note of caution, no pictures are allowed from outside the ship in this area.

The ship itself is historic as it was commissioned in 1912 by JP Morgan and later owned by Al Capone. During it's lifetime it has been chartered by many celebrities, John Wayne and Steve McQueen are a few. It also holds the record for canal passages. Every time it makes the transit there is a new record.

The trip from the boat is great. Our guide was extraordinarily knowledgable about the canal and the boat itself. If you listen and want to hear some fascinating stories, this is the trip for you.

Make sure to get a picture touching the wall of the canal inside the locks. There are tlles with depth indicators - look for them and snap away.

On the downside, the trip can be longer than anticipated. Since our boat is not huge, it has to wait for a large ship to come to make the usage of water worthwhile to operate the locks. The tour does time this as lock appointments are scheduled and paid for 48 hours in advance. This is one of the reasons the departure times vary. Every tour is different in that. Way.

Allow extra time and enjoy the trip. It is a worthwhile usage of a day. Remember tips for the guide, the crew and your bus driver.

Enjoy!

Doing what: Panama Canal Partial Transit Sightseeing Cruise

Shirley M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

We really enjoyed the boat tour of the canal. The experience was great! Staff and crew were pleasant and helpful, and our narrator was very knowledgeable and quick with answers to our many questions. We would recommend it over a larger, less personal tour. Great fun! Thanks.

Doing what: Panama Canal Full Transit Tour

Mransdell111

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

Kevin with Barefoot Panama did an excellent job of showing us the sights of Panama City! It was an great way to learn about the history of Panama. Kevin was very animated and energetic which made the tour lots of fun! He also gave us local knowledge about places to eat, things to see, and the bst way to arrange transportaion during our stay. Our tour started at 8:00 with the walking tour of Casco Viejo. I would suggest bringing water along with you because it can get quite warm out in the sun. Kevin would stop and talk along the way and would try to find shady spots for us to stand in. At Miraflores Locks we were able to view a ship leaving the locks amd entering the locks. One of the highlights of the tour was the Smithsonian Research Center where we were able to look for sloths in the trees. Kevin had said he hoped to see 5 and we actually were able to see 6! Very entertaining and informative day. We liked the tour, Kevin and Barefoot Panama so much that we booked for another tour with them for the next day to Monky Island and the Indian Village. Would highly recommend that tour as well!! You won't go wrong using Barefoot Panama for your excursions in Panama.

Doing what: Panama City Sightseeing Tour Including Miraflores Locks

Angela D. E

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

First hand experience of the Panama Canal was better than expected. Up close and personal to large ships was a real trip.
Visiting the Canal museum the day before made the trip even more enjoyable. Thus, we had background and perspective to help us understand what we were seeing.
I loved being on the front deck but had not brought a hat so my husband and I were a bit sunburned. It was still worth it but bring a hat.
Of course the front top deck was the most sought after but because meals rotated with groups, and there was an announcement that there were NO SAVED SEATS, so people did rotate on and off this deck, everyone having a chance to be up front and take photos.
The guide was VERY knowledgeable and was available for all individual questions. We learned so much and was amazed by so much especially the cost of traversing the canal. The crew were helpful and very attentive. Our trip was the full transit tour, but if time or money are issues definitely take at learn the half day tour.

Doing what: Panama Canal Full Transit Tour

ALEKSEJS L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2017

This tour was amazing!

Doing what: Panama Canal Transit Tour

Xiaohui L

4 star rating: Recommended
January 2017

The trip was shorter than we expected. There were some places we did not go because some kind of demonstration based on our guide.

Doing what: Panama City Sightseeing Tour Including Miraflores Locks

Lauren N

4 star rating: Recommended
January 2017

The only drawback to the tour was that we were at the mercy of the Canal itself. Our tour boat is nowhere near the size or rank of the big cargo ships so we had to wait several hours until we could start the tour and go in the locks with a much larger ship. Our tour guide was amazing, however, and the Canal itself is absolutely beautiful!

Doing what: Panama Canal Partial Transit Sightseeing Cruise

Leonard L

4 star rating: Recommended
January 2017

Enjoyable..........felt that we should have experienced more for the price.

Doing what: Panama City Sightseeing Tour Including Miraflores Locks

Marcel P

4 star rating: Recommended
January 2017

All in all a good experience. Food was so so, la la, but I nobody expects haute cuisine on a excursion like this. The landing in Colon took about 20 minutes, which is quite disturbing after such a long day. Glad I went on the trip, but once is enough.

Doing what: Panama Canal Full Transit Tour

louis s

4 star rating: Recommended
January 2017

we had a great tour guide.

Doing what: Panama City Sightseeing Tour Including Miraflores Locks

Willie J. G

4 star rating: Recommended
January 2017

The guide picked us up promptly at our hotel. The tour in a very clean van with the guide, three couples and one single was educational and enjoying. The walk around Old Panama City was educational and enjoyable. The guide was very knowledgeable. The only thing I would change was the restaurant chosen for our lunch. It was not great from either its location or the quality of the food. Still I would highly recommend it.

Doing what: Panama Canal Partial Tour - Northbound direction

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