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“Over priced tour. (Partial Tour, Panama Canal.)” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Canal & Bay Tours

Canal & Bay Tours
Playita de Amador, Panama City, Panama
+507 209-2009
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Ranked #65 of 106 Activities in Panama City
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Owner description: It does not matter if you do the Full or the Partial transit of the Panama Canal you still would have to check off #5 from the list of 100 Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Canal and Bay Tours has been offering both transits for over 12 years and we are committed in assisting you to create a memorable experience. Both transits are an all-day affair with breakfast, lunch, and non-alcoholic refreshments included. Your once in a lifetime experience of transiting the Panama Canal begins with check in at the Playita de Amador and boarding one of our three vessels; Tuira II, Fantasia del Mar, or Isla Morada. Aboard our vessel you be on the Pacific Ocean and will pass under the Bridge of the Americas, through the Mira Flores and Pedro Miguel Locks, beneath the Centenario Bridge, through Culebra Cut, and ending in Gatun Lake which was the largest man-made lake in the world. You will also observe the construction of the second set of locks otherwise known as the Expansion of the Panama Canal.
Antigua, Guatemala
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Over priced tour. (Partial Tour, Panama Canal.)”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013 via mobile

In a small sentence: lack of organization, a lot of money for not much, great tour guide! Bad food for the amount of money they charge, this company is never on time! Is not like I want to get it for free but $135.USD? For sweet bread with pineapple and then next to it lunch was right after breakfast so not many people was able to enjoy both meals. The experience is nice but again too much money for not much time in the boat and not much service... Hope this help and this company need to work on their timing and the pick up service should be on time... Today we suppose to start at 9:00 am and we start at 10:00 am. Bad bad...

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Seattle, Washington
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Partial transit tour”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

I went on the partial transit tour and overall enjoyed the experience of seeing the canal up close. I booked it through Aventuras Panama for $135 which did not include transportation. I found the Canal & Bay website hard to navigate and that's why I didn't book directly through them. Many of the guests I met had booked through other companies and the same fee included transportation, so be aware of that.

We got on buses at Playita Amador and were driven to Gamboa. Due to it being Carnaval, the boat captain was apparently stuck in traffic and so we could not board the boat to do the transit. We waited about 1.5 to 2 hours in Gamboa for this reason. No one really announced this to us, however, and many people were standing around simply bewildered. Make sure you travel with snacks in case something like this happens!!

Once on the boat, things went pretty smoothly. There were ample drinks. And the lunch was good as well. We didn't get breakfast because it departed so late.

Often times I could not really hear what the tour guide was saying over the loudspeakers but I still enjoyed the tour. The day was long enough doing the partial transit from Gamboa to Panama City. Lots of great photo taking opportunities.

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Unreliable company- use at own risk!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

My grandparents, mother and I visited Panama in February 2013- it was a short stop over after a vacation to Costa Rica. We only had two days to see the Canal and the city before flying home. As seeing the Canal had been on my grandmother's 'bucket list' for a long time, my mother had made reservations with this company in early December for the four of us to do a partial transit tour on Monday.

Our instructions were to be ready by 8:00am and a bus would pick us up between 8-8:30am. At 8:00 sharp we were out on the bench in front of our hotel. By 8:30 we had not been picked up yet. My mother got out her confirmation sheet and called Canal & Bay Tours and was told that the bus was running late but not to worry it would pick us up. By 9:00am we still had not been picked up yet. My mom called again and was told that the bus 'forgot to pick us up' but that we should take a taxi to Playita Amador and they would hold the bus for us. Well we did just that. When we got to the marina a few minutes later (our hotel was very close) the people had no clue who we were, that the bus forgot to pick us up, or that the bus was supposed to wait for us. In fact, they said the bus had already left and that we could not go on a tour. They couldn't do anything for us.

We told the people at the front desk of our hotel what happened and they said that this happens a lot with this company and that they don't recommend them because they aren't reliable.

We looked into using another company on Tuesday to do a partial transit tour but no other companies offered it. So we had to use Canal & Bay Tours on Tuesday for the tour. The guy at the front desk told us not to rely on their transportation but to take a taxi to the marina and get there early- 8:00am to buy tickets. We did.

The partial transit tour offered a light breakfast, lunch, and non-alcoholic drinks. In addition, the tour was conducted in both English and Spanish. There was a small souvenier stand on the top deck.

If you decide to use Canal & Bay Tours make sure that 1) it's not your only day to take a Canal trip- just in case they forget to pick you up (if you are relying on their transportation) and 2) You take a taxi to Playita Amador- it will ensure you actually make it on the boat!

The cost was $135 for an adult at this time.

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hariken257, Manager at Canal & Bay Tours, responded to this review, June 17, 2014
WOW!!! This is totally unacceptable and I am sorry your Grandmother's trip had a delay. As the new Account Executive I would like to know if there is something we can do amend such a bad time.
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Ottawa, Canada
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Wonderful time on the canal”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

We really enjoyed our partial transit of the tour. The tour guide gives you information, but doesn't overwhelm you - there are times when he doesn't announce anything over the speakers, and gives you time to enjoy what you are seeing. There was plenty of food for breakfast and lunch - breakfast included buns, cake (chocolate and vanilla), fruit and coffee; while lunch included pasta, chicken, beef, salad, fruit.

There was a small area to buy souvenirs, as well as a bar area to buy beer.

The pick up was on time, but after the tour we nearly got left behind as none of the buses indicated which hotel they were going to.

In retrospect, we should have stayed and wandered around the causway area, as we ended up going back there a few days later.

Visited December 2012
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So. Cal.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Wonderful trip spoiled by journey home.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

The full transit trip itself was 5 star: I agree wholeheartedly with the many positive reviews . However, the bus ride from Colon back to Panama City was miserable! One bus was used to drop off all passengers at their respective hotels. Unfortunately the driver and assistant apparently did not have a list of passengers with drop off points; did not clearly announce, or failed to announce, each hotel; and in fact did not know where some of the hotels were. Consequently the short journey home took almost 3 1/2 hours, much of it spent aimlessly wandering around the city. In retrospect the partial transit would have been better: saved some money, too.

A shame to spoil the ship for ha' porth of tar!

Visited November 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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