Panama Canal
Panama Canal
4.5
About
Operating since 1914 and considered one of the wonders of the world, this fifty-mile waterway transports ships by raising them from sea level to more than 85 feet via a series of gravity-powered locks.
Duration: More than 3 hours
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  • cbucksred
    33 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth a visit
    If you're visiting Panama, the Panama Canal is a must-see. Granted, watching a boat go through the locks is a bit tedious, but the engineering behind it all is amazing. I'd suggest getting there early so you can have a good view....and while the movie at the visitor's center is informative, it is, of course, all of the good, none of the bad. So I'd suggest visiting the canal museum in Casco Viejo for a better understanding of the big picture.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 19, 2023
  • Kev
    Palm Bay, Florida140 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Panama Canal- Amazing Man Made Engineering Structure!
    Amazing visit! I highly recommend observing the step-by-step process of positioning the ships into the canal. It will be lengthy but worth it. You get to see the tug boats (worth $12 million each) position the boats into the canal. Afterward, you begin to see the canal draining to transition into the next section of the canal. On this trip, I was with my dad (71), and he said he would like to stay all day and watch the ships pass through. I think you need maybe 1 hour tops at this place. Again, highly recommend if you're in Panama for a few days.
    Visited May 2023
    Written July 2, 2023
  • Ja G
    22 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful experience
    It was interesting and fun. My son loved it and we all enjoyed the 3D movie. However, if you really want to see the canal with a lot less people go to Agua Clara that's where you will REALLY have a good view.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 23, 2023
  • Thuis_in_NL
    16 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    #1 place to be in Panama City
    A special place to be, but to fully understand what is actually going on, it is highly recommended to visit the 3D IMAX theatre and to learn about history and the different approaches followed to get this canal realized. The IMAX theatre is very modern and comes with a small food mall. The subsequent visit to the locks as part of the full Panama Channel is interesting. Looking for a ship to pass takes 30 minutes and gives a good impression of daily business here. The number of places with a good view is rather limited, though. Note that access is only available to the old locks, the bigger and more modern ones are not accessible from the visitor center.
    Visited July 2023
    Written August 5, 2023
  • RenR
    Detroit, Michigan8 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Panama Canal and IMAX Movie
    We had a great visit to the Panama Canal at the Miraflores Locks. We were lucky enough to see a cargo ship pass through the locks while we were there. Panama is currently suffering a drought so they have cut back the number of ships they allow to pass through the locks right now. Admission to the visitors center includes an IMAX movie about the Panama Canal to watch. I highly recommend you watch the movie. It is very informative and is only 45 minutes. Also, if you go during summer like us, you will appreciate the cold air conditioning during the movie. Note that as of right now the museum portion of the visitors center is still closed. You only get access to the movie and observation decks to view the locks.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written September 2, 2023
  • KMB_GA
    Atlanta, Georgia1,224 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Such a Neat Experience
    If your a history, engineering or architecture buff, don’t skip a trip to the Panama Canal. We got to experience a partial transit on a Carnival cruise and it was an experience I won’t forget. It was so cool to see how the locks system works to get ships through the canal and into the lake. Looking forward to eventually booking the full transit to enjoy the whole experience.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 8, 2023
  • Ann H
    York, United Kingdom2,442 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fabulous feat of engineering
    We had booked a cruise with Queen Elizabeth which included a full transit through the Panama Canal due to its repositioning. We had a guest speaker onboard giving some lectures all about the history politics and everything else about this amazing area of the world. We were awake very early on the day in order to get the full experience and our balcony was luckily situated at a very good spot on the ship to enjoy it all. It is incredible this was thought of and built over a century ago and a bit tense as our ship was really near the edges in the lock chambers!!! Brilliant experience - glad we did it!
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 22, 2023
  • Attila H
    252 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful experience!!!
    When I thought Panama canal, I thought just one passing and done, to my surprise there's several!!! Its literally a full day of fun, exciting to see all the cargo and passenger ships from literally all over the world!!!! Great system of passage. Amazing history and scenes...
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 1, 2023
  • ilona W
    Puerto Rico7 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Channel, a place you dont' have to miss
    Historical place for visiting in Panama. Our guide from miviajeapanama (+50763242898) was very friendly and informative. He took us from the hotel directly to the Channel in a private car. The price was well worth and I wouldn't hesitate to send any of my friends on this tour, too.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 17, 2023
  • Gerry T
    11 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Tour of moving to Panama
    We had an excellent trip and toured nearly all of the country. It would be a great place to live in our retirement it if wasn’t such a hassle airports with the biggest problems leaving Canada. The people in panama are really nice and helpful. panama relocation tours are very good at what they do and we would move there in a minute if we were a little younger and things were less upsetting to move from Canada. What we need is someone to take us my the hand and say lets go. Every thing else was great and we enjoyed the trip
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 19, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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George Randall H
Toronto, Canada1,033 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Couples
So my gf and I paid for the buffet lunch as she heard it was a good vantage point to see boats come through the canal. The buffet is expensive, but we were able to secure a seat on the deck at the rail to watch the action. It is very hot on the deck, and the service for the 12 or so glasses of water I had was almost worth it alone. The food was not bad, and the service was pretty good. The concern was all the people that came out to watch the boat pass through and crowded around our table. I had to eat with someone over my shoulder....and someone even sat at the table (we were 2, but had 4 chairs). I know it might be difficult to control, but the restaurant should ensure non paying customers go up to the 4th level observation deck so paying customers can enjoy this.....we paid a premium for lunch for a reason.
Written January 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

fernandez s
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK78 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Solo
I took a city tour bus ride to the canal. A 24 hr pass cost $35.00 usd a $2.00 discount with coupon. You pay $10 for a 45min. IMAX movie narrated by Morgan freeman illustrating the history of the canal, excellent!! You can pay $20 for the museum, initially I thought this price included the imax movie, it does not. Worth the price. There are other tours out there but this bargin basement deal let’s you see the canal and educates as well. I even got to meet 2 of the canal workers by coincidence. They were very friendly. Highly recommend it, however the souvenirs and food was overpriced. You can buy the same trinkets in old town Panama for a third of the price, save your money.
Written February 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Piotr P
Poznan, Poland382 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Family
We went by taxi from the hotel 15$ approx. 45 minutes drive. The entry to the museum and 3D cinema was 30 $ per person. Plan your visit when the ships are going through the lock. Museum is interesting to see the history of the channel. Also visiting the cinema for 3 D movie about channel is worth of this 10$. For the whole trip plan 3 - 4 hours.
Written January 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

UtahJerry
Salt Lake City, UT401 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
It's not exciting to watch a ship pass through , but it certainly fascinating especially when you think of the engineering feat that it was 100 years ago. It is worth seeing just for the contribution it makes to worldwide commerce. You are moved through several floors of history and artifacts as you work your way to the upper deck where you can view ships going through the locks. They have guides on each floor that provide some history and them move you on to the next floor. I found them hard to understand and I felt rushed through the floor. I would have liked to have more time to view the exhibits. They only allow 15 people in every 15 minutes and I assume they are trying to get each group through in that 15 minute slot. Once you reach the upper deck you can stay as long as you wish. There is an IMAX theater, but it has been closed due to COVID so we were not able to go there. There is a lot of history in the surrounding area, so I would recommend taking a tour to get the whole story.
Written October 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

egerena
Boston, MA131 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
We recommend visiting the Miraflores locks to get information and view of the Panama Canal. We encourage everyone to watch the movie because it is very informative. The theater has a large capacity with comfortable seats. We had to make a long line to buy the tickets. The building has multiple floors to view the locks. We recommend getting there after 2:00 p.m. to see ships go by. Don't forget to see the museum on the first floor, it has interesting photographs and artifacts of the history of the canal. Miraflores has several places that sell food. The parking is free and close to the building.
Written January 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

cnj840
Dillon, CO71 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022
We took a cheap Uber to the Panama Canal (~$5 for 20min drive, but you could take a bus for 25¢ if you figured out the bus system). We didn’t have a reservation even though the website says you need one (this may be a Covid thing, I’m not sure). The website fails to mention that boats only pass through between 8 and 10am and then 2-6pm, but trust me, this is important! It would be a huge disappointment to miss watching boats passing through the canal! We couldn’t find any info on how many boats are expected for the day, but I’d recommend showing up around 2pm and planning to spend a few hours there. It’s worth it!

Due to Covid, the IMAX movie and museum were closed, but the entry price seems to be reduced because of that. And there were employees making announcements on the upper viewing deck and explaining what was happening in front of us (English and Spanish). The upper viewing deck is the best spot for viewing, and not the bottom floor like they may encourage (just to clear out the crowd a little). The Panama Canal is DEF worth a visit! I thought it might be overrated, but I really, really enjoyed it.

There wasn’t wifi to call an Uber after, but there are taxis waiting and we negotiated them down in price. Or, you could take the bus into town and get an Uber from there.
Written March 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Don R
Salem, MA48 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022
It goes without saying that partial (recommended) or full transit tour should be apart of any itinerary when visiting Panama. I would highly recommend staying at one of the hotels where the tour operator picks you up, because making arrangements to do it yourself can be a little onerous and you have to get up at the crack of dawn. The transit itself was really nice. My tour started in Gamboa, traversed the MiraFlores Locks and ended just outside the northern aspect of Panama City. The guides were informative and it was interesting to learn the history of the canal.
Written June 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Darcy F
Medicine Hat, Canada5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2019 • Couples
We toured the Canal in 2019 and also in 2006 before they opened up the new addition. In both times, we hired Miguel Rudas to take us to the canal plus around Panama City which was more convenient and more economical. I have known Miguel now for 14 years and he is the most trustworthy person I know. He is also very reliable and punctual and speaks good English which can sometimes be an issue in Panama. I would highly recommend him. His contact info is:
miguelviajes29@hotmail.com or through What’s App: +50765326621
Written January 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gail O
Nokomis, FL59 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
We have been traveling with Tauck for almost 10 years and have always enjoyed their tours. This one, however, was not one to write home about. Granted, Panama is not a real tourist destination although they are trying. So the pre stay Day was a waste of time. Once on Board the Ponant ship and into Canal things got somewhat better. Rooms on ship were very small so we needed a traffic light to pass ! food was great. Wet landings went ok but some of the zodiac drivers seemed like trainees. . Tour directors tried but because we were grouped together we had the same guide all trip. Others seemed to be better. San Jose was a major disappointment. Over crowded, run down with very little to offer tourists l
We stayed at the Marriott in Panama and San Jose, both were very nice.
It was very hot with not much relief even at night. Not much shopping time so purchase when u can. Native goods were very nice . After that the only place to shop is woodcart stop and coffee plantation. Airport has some very nice gifts also.
Written March 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jcisinthehouse
Monterrey, Mexico4,543 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
To see this place up close and working you need to go to Miraflores visitor center. Check the website the day of your visit to know the times the boats will be crossing. I wanted to share the website here but it was deemed as advertising so I had to remove it.

Visitor center is open from 8am to 6pm, but the boats usually cross until 8-9am and again starting at 2-3pm.

The 3D Imax movie is totally worth to see, I suggest you watch it before going to the observation deck.
They will announce once the boats are coming, make sure to go up to the 4th floor and take your spot. It may seem it is not crowded, but once the boats are coming everybody goes out and it will be a mob.

We took an uber from Cinta Costera and it was $4. On the way back it was $11.50 since we left around 5:30pm and it was rush hour. There are taxis out there and you’d have to negotiate your rate
Written February 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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