Let me get the negatives of this trip out of the way first:
A full transit is quite expensive.
They only take place once a once and the boat is packed.
The food is awful and most of the staff unfriendly.
The bus back from Colon is old and uncomfortable
Having said that, I could not image visiting Panama and not taking this trip. Starting at the end of the Amador Causeway and traveling through the locks, the Gallard Cut, Lake Gatun, and ending in Colon is a magical experience. There is no other way to fully understand the achievement of constructing the Panama Canal.
Gus, the narrator, is an excellent, well-informed guide. But to get the most out of the trip you should do some preparation. Visit the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center to get a ground-level view of the locks and visit their museum. Read David McCullough's The Path Between the Seas to understand how the canal was built.
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