4.5 star rating: Recommended 563 Reviews

Add your review

  • Address: Panama
  • Hours: Daily
  • Admission: Varies

Panama City ATTRACTIONS See all

Panama Canal Tours

The first ships sailed through the Panama Canal in 1914, shaving nearly 9,000 miles off what was otherwise a very long sailing trip around South America. The engineering marvel transformed global trade, and today, 100 years after it was first installed, the canal has once again been expanded with new locks and widened existing ones, modernizing Panama Canal transit by allowing larger ships to pass from Panama City on the Pacific Ocean side to Colon on the Atlantic Ocean side.

The Basics
The best way for Panama visitors to see the canal is to literally get in the middle of it—on a transit or partial transit tour at sea level, travelers can experience the sensation of cruising directly through the canal, watching as the locks fill with water and your ship passes steadily through the three sets of double locks: the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks on the Pacific side, plus the Gatún locks on the Atlantic side. Between the locks is the artificial Gatún Lake (Lago Gatún), created by the Gatún Dam across the Chagres River (Rio Chagres), and the Culebra Cut, the narrowest section of the canal, hewn out of the mountains. It's also possible to see the locks by train, as you pass by the banks and through pristine rain forest en route to Gatún.

Most full- and half-day tours include roundtrip transportation and a visit to the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center, a museum that tells the story of this incredible engineering feat through exhibits. The center's restaurant, theater, and terraced decks also provide comfortable vantage points for watching ships pass through. It's also possible to visit the Gatún locks (about an hour from Panama City) to learn about the Panama Canal expansion.
  • By booking ahead with a guided tour, there's a much higher likelihood of actually seeing the famous Panama Canal in action.
  • Guided boat tours provide the full experience of traveling the Continental Divide
  • Travelers can make self-guided visits to the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center in Panama City and the Canal Expansion Observation Center in Colon on the Caribbean Sea.
  • Stop in for a meal at the Miraflores Restaurant at the Panama Canal to dine while viewing the ships cruise by.

How To Get to the Panama Canal
Arrive at the canal via boat, train, bus, or car. The Miraflores Locks Visitor Center has parking, but most visitors arrive as part of a group sightseeing tour with a tour guide.

When To Get There
The morning hours and late afternoon are the best times for actually watching a ship pass through the canal.

Nearby Attractions
A few tours depart from the town of Gamboa, situated at the end of the Gaillard Cut on the Chagres River in the Gamboa Rainforest. Neighboring SoberanÌa National Park, home to diverse bird species, sloths, and jaguars, is often visited along with a native Embera village. The Amador Causeway (Calzada de Amador) is also worth a trip; this narrow strip of land is a popular spot for recreation.

Tours & Tickets

See all

Panama Canal Partial Transit Sightseeing Cruise, Panama City, null
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Panama Canal Partial Transit Sightseeing Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 210 Reviews

See for yourself how the Panama Canal works as you transit the Miraflores Locks, one of three locks used along the canal. The construction of the canal was one ...  Read more

Location: Panama City, Panama
Duration: 6 hours (approx.)

From USD $145.00
Ocean to Ocean Panama Canal and Jungle Tour, Panama City, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Ocean to Ocean Panama Canal and Jungle Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 115 Reviews

This unique tour of the Panama Canal goes from the Pacific to the Atlantic ocean as you see the canal from the water and by foot. An exciting boat ride down ...  Read more

Location: Panama, Panama
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $135.00
Panama City Sightseeing Tour Including Miraflores Locks, Panama City, Full-day Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Panama City Sightseeing Tour Including Miraflores Locks

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 146 Reviews

See the best of Panama City — from sea level to hilltop, canal to islands — on this full-day sightseeing tour with a knowledgeable local guide, who will regale ...  Read more

Location: Panama City, Panama
Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $100.00
Panama Canal and Gatun Lake Jungle Eco Cruise, Panama City, City Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Panama Canal and Gatun Lake Jungle Eco Cruise

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 48 Reviews

In this tour that departs from central Panama City you will get up close with the Panama Canal and the abundance of wildlife on its shores.  You will take a ...  Read more

Location: Panama City, Panama
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $70.00
Panama City Tour And The Canal, Panama City, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Panama City Tour And The Canal

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 1 Review

Imagine the tales of Gallantry and Piracy that played out in the narrow streets of Colonial Panama known as the Casco Antiguo. This scenic, get acquainted, ...  Read more

Location: Panama City, Panama
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $98.99
Panama Canal Eco Cruise and Embera Village Combo Tour, Panama City, City Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Panama Canal Eco Cruise and Embera Village Combo Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 5 Reviews

This unique tour of the Panama Canal and its watershed takes you through the modern operations of the canal and a visit to a remote indigenous village on the ...  Read more

Location: Panama City, Panama
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $125.00
Panama Canal Eco-Cruise and Rainforest Discovery Center, Panama City, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Panama Canal Eco-Cruise and Rainforest Discovery Center

In this tour you will travel the Panama Canal by boat and see transiting ships up close as well as the diverse wildlife on the shores of Gatun Lake.  ...  Read more

Location: Panama City, Panama
Duration: 6 to 7 hrs

From USD $110.00
Colon Observation Center of the Canal Expansion From Panama City, Panama City, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Colon Observation Center of the Canal Expansion From Panama City

The Expansion Observation Center allows visitors to witness history in the making, while observing the construction of the new locks of the waterway.

Location: Panama City, Panama
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $285.00
Eco Canal Cruise On Gatún Lake And Miraflores Locks, Panama City, Day Trips
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Eco Canal Cruise On Gatún Lake And Miraflores Locks

1 star rating: I do not recommend this 1 Review

This tour combines the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal with an ecological boat ride on the Gatún Lake. Upon departing from the pier, your ...  Read more

Location: Panama City, Panama
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $165.60
Panama Canal Full Transit Tour, Panama City, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Panama Canal Full Transit Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 36 Reviews

Experience a Panama Canal Full Transit Tour navigating from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean in one day. Enjoy the comfort of being in a small vessel ...  Read more

Location: Panama City, Panama
Duration: 12 hours (approx.)

From USD $180.00

See all

Viator uses cookies to improve your experience on our website. Learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings | Close message