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Panama Canal Tours

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Panama Canal
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.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • By booking ahead with a guided tour, there's a much higher likelihood of actually seeing the famous Panama Canal in action.
  • 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 There
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.
Address: Panama
Hours: Daily
Admission: Varies
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61 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Day Cruises

Panama Canal Full Transit Tour

Cruise the entirety of the Panamá Canal, from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, during this 12-hour tour in Panamá City. Board a small vessel to travel through all 3 sets of locks that make up the canal. Voyage on Gatun Lake and the Chagres River. Learn about the history and construction of the canal from your guide while you travel. Disembark in Colón and board a shuttle for the return trip to Panamá City. Breakfast, lunch, snacks and beverages are provided on board.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 180.00
From  
US$ 180.00
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Cruises

Panama Canal Partial Tour - Northbound direction

Journey through the Panama Canal's Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks aboard the Pacific Queen. During this 6-hour tour from Panama City, travel to Gamboa with your local guide, then board a boat for a trip through the canal's impressive locks. Entering through the Gailard Cut, observe the impressive feats of engineering that make this passage possible. Learn about the canal's construction and consistent maintenance from through your guide's informative commentary. Cruise back to your departure point, admiring views of Panama City's skyline before disembarking. A continental breakfast and lunch are included on board.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 125.00
From  
US$ 125.00
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Cruises

Panama Canal Partial Tour - Southbound Direction

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.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 125.00
From  
US$ 125.00
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Cruises

Panama Canal Partial Transit Tour from Panama City

You don't have to get on a cruise ship to pass through the Panama Canal. Aboard the Pacific Queen tourist boat, you'll travel through two locks on the Panama Canal. Experience the sensation of rising and lowering through the locks and to see this engineering marvel at work. Onboard commentary explains the history and importance of the Panama Canal.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 185.00
From  
US$ 185.00
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

Colonial Quarter and Panama La Vieja Tour with Lunch by Rainforest Adventures

Take a tour of Casco Antiguo, the Old Quarter of Panama City, with a tour guide. Visit San Jose Church with its golden altar, French Plaza and City Plaza, and see the city walls. You will also is it a local fish market and visit the Museo de Panama Viejo Museum to learn about the city’s rich culture and history.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 113.14
From  
US$ 113.14
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

Panama City Tour and Miraflores Locks Full Day with Optional Lunch

Visit the Panama Canal and witness the operation of the Miraflores Locks during this all-day guided tour. After watching the ships travel from the Pacific toward the Atlantic, visit the on-site museum and learn about the canal, its history, and its significance to trade. The tour also includes a stop at Casco Antiguo (home to restored colonial mansions) and the settlement of Panama La Vieja.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 145.87
From  
US$ 145.87
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

SPECIAL OFFER

PRIVATE TOUR IN THE CITY OF PANAMA

We offer you a different and personalized experience tailored to your needs, with flexible schedules and made in the order you want.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 52.00
US$ 65.00
US$ 13.00 savings
From  
US$ 52.00
US$ 65.00
US$ 13.00 savings
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Nature & Wildlife

NEW TO VIATOR

WHALE WATCHING GOLF OF PANAMA

Our tour is Unique because we are the only Mega Catamaran in Panama designed exclusively for this type of whale and dolphin watching excursions. Our staff is highly professional and offer only high standard services.We have a professional Chef on board and our meals are prepared fresh on the moment.Our guides are highly qualify to offer you a great informative experience and on the way back to the city our DJ will help you to relax with great music as you keep on observing more whales and dolphins.
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  • 10 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 185.00
From  
US$ 185.00
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  • 10 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

Chorrillo Streets

Get off the beaten path and see where boxer Roberto Duran trained, learn about how the U.S. invasion of Panama affected this neighborhood, try local food and drinks, visit the park where dominoes are played, chat with the locals in their homes and get to know the people of this area, and learn about the gentrification that has taken place in the now trendy Casco Viejo historic district.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 99.00
From  
US$ 99.00
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

Tours Canal de Panama 2 Horas

our service is personalized since we manage private reserves, we have experienced guides that will make you feel at home, we have flexi ility of time, we have spacious and new cars
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 60.00
From  
US$ 60.00
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation

4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

Bayano Lake Caves

The tour to the caves of Lake Bayano in Panama, is an experience that moves the human spirit.Discovering a natural place, of such great and enormous beauty, is an exciting adventure and shows us, at the same time, the ephemeral nature of our passage through this world; leading us to remember that we must responsibly preserve our world with all its natural wonders.For the tour wear clothes that cover the whole body and dry quickly. Take change complete change including footwear.
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  • 12 to 13 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 79.00
From  
US$ 79.00
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  • 12 to 13 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Cruises

Panama Canal Eco-Cruise and Rainforest Discovery Center

Cruise through the Panama Canal by boat for an up-close experience this important waterway. Look for wildlife on the shores of Gatun Lake, and see ships transiting through the canal. Then head to Gamboa and the Pipeline Road in Soberania National Park, and visit the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center.
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  • 6 to 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 110.00
From  
US$ 110.00
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  • 6 to 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Historical & Heritage Tours

Ocean to Ocean Panama Canal and Jungle Tour

Travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans during this full-day tour of the Panama Canal. With your local guide, explore the canal by sea and on foot, viewing the ships passing through the locks and the variety of plant and animal life on the canal's shores. Explore Gatun Lake and Monkey Island, home to howlers, capuchins and tamarins. Stop at the Gatun Locks Visitor Center to get an overview of the canal's history through informative displays and exhibits. Eat a picnic lunch near the Gatun Dam before moving on to explore San Lorenzo National Park and Fort San Lorenzo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site overlooking the Caribbean Sea. All activities, entrance fees, lunch and round-trip transportation from Panama City hotels are included.
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  • 7 to 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 135.00
From  
US$ 135.00
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  • 7 to 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Cruises

Gatun Lake Expedition

Immerse yourself in the nature, history and impressive engineering of the Panama Canal during this 45-minute boat tour of Gatun Lake. This major part of the canal is home to abundant tropical wildlife and is surrounded by a lush forest. Aboard a boat with a local guide and captain, visit some of the islands in one of the largest artificial lakes in the world.
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  • 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 37.45
From  
US$ 37.45
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  • 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Nature & Wildlife

Full-Day Monkey Island and Indian Village Tour from Panama City, Panama

Combine some of the most popular day trips from Panama City, Panama into one day of adventure. This tour includes a boat ride on Lake Gatun, which is part of the Panama Canal, a visit to Monkey Island, which is home to three species of monkeys, and a visit to Soberania National Park and an indigenous village.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 145.00
From  
US$ 145.00
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

Portobelo - Canal Expansion - Train

The ruins of Portobello speak volume of the prosperity of the site, colonial custom, churches, and forts. Travel back to the 16th century and come back to present days to understand the contribution made, its people, culture and wealth. Visit the new locks (Aguas Claras) and to top up your experience take a ride on the over 150 years railroad financed and built by the United States of America, the train takes you from Colon to Panama City and provides an outstanding experience of the canal landscape, lakes, rivers, vessels transiting, flora and fauna.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 125.00
From  
US$ 125.00
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation

City Tours

Panama City Tour And The Canal

Gain valuable insight into the history of Panama City during this tour of Casco Antiguo and the Panama Canal. Get acquainted with the colonial history of the city, founded by French colonists in 1673. At the Miraflores Locks, view the gargantuan ships making their way through the Panama Canal, then visit the four exhibition halls of the Miraflores Visitors Center. All entrance fees and round-trip transportation from Panama City hotels are included.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 119.64
From  
US$ 119.64
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

Panama City tour

Enjoy a guided sightseeing excursion in Panama’s vibrant capital city. After a convenient hotel pickup, experience one of the world’s great engineering marvels, the Panama Canal, at Miraflores Visitor Center. Take a walking tour of the city’s historic district, Casco Viejo, marvel at the Bridge of the Americas, and stop by the handicraft market at Amador Causeway to pick up some souvenirs.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 65.00
From  
US$ 65.00
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

City Canal Tour (Centro de Visitante de Miraflores)

Panoramic tour of the modern city, then we will visit the Casco Antiguo, a castrato of colonial architecture, the Cathedral and the Altar de Oro, the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal, where you can observe the crossing of the boats and we will complement the tour through the 4 exhibition halls in homage to the eighth wonder of the modern world. Later, we will visit the Amador Causeway, the breakwater that the Americans built to protect the navigable course of the Panama Canal. Here doing a short stop at the Duty Free. And for those who wish to take a souvenir the obligatory stop is the craft market
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 25.00
From  
US$ 25.00
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation

4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

aquatic tour gatun lake and monkey island

This tour includes:  • Pick up and return from your hotel.  • Qualified site Guide  • Boat ride on Lake Gatun  • Soft drinks and fruits  • Personnel trained in first aid  • Ascent to the famous Cerro Ancon or visit El Charco Trail (national sovereignty Park) • This tour of Lake Gatun allows travelers to experience the natural wonders of the lake and also get a partial view of the Panama Canal. . Visit the famous El Charco trail in the national Park soberania.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 70.00
From  
US$ 70.00
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Bus & Minivan Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

PANAMA CITY TOUR (PANAMA CANAL, OLD TOWN AND CAUSEWAY)

A tour that combines the visit to one of the most important engineering wonders in the world. You can relive histories of the Spanish Colony in our walk through the Old Town (Casco Antiguo) to finalize in the modern Causeway where you can view of different Marinas and the place where the Panama Canal encounters the Pacific Ocean.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 89.00
From  
US$ 89.00
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation

4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

Panama Canal Eco Cruise and Embera Village Combo Tour

Take an in-depth look at the famous Panama Canal and the indigenous culltures of the Chagres River during this boat-based, eco-adventure. Cruise amidst the waterways, lakes, and islands that make up the Panama Canal stopping to observe local bird life and primates. Then meet up with residents of the Embera tribe in Parara Puru village for cultural presentations and an included lunch.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 125.00
From  
US$ 125.00
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Cruises

Panama Canal and Gatun Lake Jungle Eco Cruise

Cruise the Panama Canal to Gatun Lake on a nature tour from Panama City that includes round-trip transport from central Panama City and time to explore Gatun’s wildlife-rich shoreline by boat. Visit jungle islands that were cut off from mainland Panama by the construction of the canal, which protect a thriving population of monkeys, birds, crocodiles, and mammals.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 70.00
From  
US$ 70.00
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

Canal Tour Ocean to Ocean - Navigate the Panama Canal

Navigate through the Panama Canal (Wonder of the World) and enjoy with family and friends the experience of looking at the giant gates that open in front of you to access to the Canal locks. This is a full-day tour, 8 hours approximately.During the activity, you will have the opportunity to navigate through: The Miraflores locks, Pedro Miguel lock, Culebra Cut, Gamboa National Park, Gatun locks and the Port of Colón 2000.ALL the first Saturdays of each monthHours: 7:30 a.m. (subject to change)Itinerary: Departure to the La Playita dock, arrival at the Port of Colon 2000 and return to the La Playita dock in bus.Includes: Breakfast, lunch, unlimited soft drinks, bilingual guide and transportation to come back.
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  • 8 to 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$ 170.00
From  
US$ 170.00
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  • 8 to 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation


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