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“great experience !! unforgettable !!”
Review of Canal & Bay Tours

Canal & Bay Tours
Ranked #45 of 166 Tours 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.
Reviewed September 23, 2013

I took a "complete transit" tour on Sep. 7.
It was one and only reason why I went to Panama.

Unfortunately, in the morning, the weather was terrible, the downpour, frightful thunder and lightning !!
But, the guide, Martin D.Harrington tried to comfort 300 passengers in Spanish and English in that scary situation. Thanks to him, non of the passengers went into a panic.

In the afternoon, it cleared up, the boat ride through the Gatun lake was great and peaceful and we enjoyed sunbathing.
It was astonishing, in the Gatun locks, the massive boat in front of us was lowered and there was only 30cm to spare on either side.

Martin's narration was very informative and funny. As I am Japanese, his distinct pronunciation and metric conversion were very helpful.

Moreover, he had very improvisational attitude,
-under the rain, controlled the checking-in and embarking orderly,
-celebrated the 50th wedding anniversary for the couple,
-after disembarking, indicated busses to passengers and allocated bus stop to each one, etc.

All in all, without Martin, it would have been chaotic.
I really appreciate his great effort.

I strongly recommend the guide, Martin D. Harrington.

2  Thank lovefiji2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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63 - 67 of 108 reviews

Reviewed July 26, 2013

A cruise is the best way to see and experience the canal and the locks first hand. My wife and I booked a partial transit cruise with the Canal and Bay Tours Company. We were picked up at our hotel(10 minutes early) in a small mini bus. The bus had made one stop prior to our hotel and made one additional hotel stop before going to the departure site. At the departure site we paid for our tickets(Cash or Credit Card) and had @ a 20 minute wait before boarding the boat. Our narrated partial transit cruise took us up the canal where the mini bus was waiting to return us back to our Panama City hotel. The cruise lasted @ 4 hours and included in the price was hotel transportation, breakfast, lunch, bottled water, coffee and sodas. Adult drinks and souvenirs were available on the boat for a fee. After a period of time, the partial transit cruise can get boring. Therefore, we do not recommend a full transit cruise unless it is necessary. Overall, we were very satisfied and pleased with the cruise, the service and the company.

2  Thank Bigone77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2013

I booked this tour through Barefoot Panama.

We booked the half-day Canal tour on a Friday at the end of March. One annoying thing is that we were given a 45-minute window in which the bus would pick us up (I can't remember exactly when but it was around 7-8am). The bus picked us up about 10 minutes late (after the 45 minute wait), so it requires quite a bit of waiting around. The reason for this window I guess is that the bus trolls the city hotels picking people up.

After our hotel, we stopped at roughly another 8 or 10. A couple of them were very out of the way and sometimes the people didn't show up (so a total waste of time). I doubt they can do anything to fix it, but it's a nuisance. The bus finally gets to a place to buy tickets where we get out, buy tickets and then get back in the bus. Then back on the bus for another hefty drive to where the tour boat actually takes off. All in all, we started waiting for the bus around 7am and didn't get to the boat until probably 10am or so.

We finally got to the boat and boarded pretty easily. Once on the boat, the tour went smoothly. They had water and refreshments and about halfway through they served a buffet lunch which was nice as well. The tour guide on the boat gave his tour in both Spanish and English and he seemed pretty knowledgeable of what he was talking about.

The tour was very thorough and lasted probably four hours.I would DEFINITELY recommend this half-day tour rather than just going to Milaflores. Well worth the time investment.

Lesson having been learned from the endless morning bus ride, when we got off the boat at the place where we had bought tickets in the morning, we hailed a cab and paid the $15 to get back to the hotel. This probably saved us a couple hours of bus riding and visiting all the morning hotels again.

All in all, the tour is good -- aside from a few inefficiencies (i.e. they could have a city meeting point rather than spending an hour going hotel to hotel). The price was reasonable.

2  Thank MichaelMfromNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2013

We booked a partial canal tour through My Friend Mario, but the majority of our day/tour was with Canal and Bay Tours. Mario picked us up at the hotel, transported us to the tour office and checked us in. After that we were officially on the Canal tour.

We boarded about 9:15 am and had a nice breakfast provided. My 12 year old loved chocolate cake on the menu. There were several bundt cakes, fruit and delicious coffee. Balboa Beer was for sale for $2.

We proceeded to cruise into the lock area while the guide announced some history and facts surrounding the building of the Panama Canal. As we approached the first lock we could take pictures at the front of the boat. These were available for purchase at $10 each and were set in a cute background with some Canal humor. I am used to being overpriced for same size pictures so I thought $10 was fair. Some may think it is a rip off for a 5 x 7.

We proceeded through a total of three locks before disembarking at Gamboa. Lunch was served in the middle of these transits and was a nice "typical Panamanian lunch".

Bathrooms are the boat were clean and the area was large with plenty of stalls.

The transportation back was okay. They did drive around aimlessly downtown trying to find all the hotels.

Overall I would recommend it highly.

Thank zoesmom2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2013

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...

Thank Wanako78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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