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“Close Up View of Ships”
Review of Gatun Locks

Gatun Locks
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$165.00*
and up
Chagres River Kayak Expedition From Panama City
Ranked #1 of 23 things to do in Colon
Certificate of Excellence
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Reviewed September 18, 2013

The Gatun Locks are on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal and they lift or lower ships 27 meters in three steps, going from sea level to the level of Gatun Lake. There is no museum at Gatun Locks, just a viewing area. However, the elevated viewing area is very close to the east set of locks. When you are on the viewing platform, it is only about 30 feet to the ships as they pass through the middle of the three locks. The mules keeping the ships centered in the locks pass right below the viewing area.The view is pretty amazing, especially when the big Panamax ships pass through. It looks like they have zero clearance on either side. Great place for close up pictures.

We did this as part of a tour with Rudy's Tours that included the Panama Canal Railroad, Fort San Lorenzo, Colon, and Portobelo. Fort San Lorenzo is on the west side of the Canal and you pass over a single lane bridge over the locks that opens and closes to alternate ship and vehicle traffic to get to the road to San Lorenzo. Rudy is a great guide. He speaks excellent English (and Spanish, Italian, and German), has very nice vehicles, is very knowledgeable about Panama, and was always on time.

6  Thank MIHorseman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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264 - 268 of 634 reviews

Reviewed September 12, 2013

If you visit Colon you have to go to the Gatun locks. You get a birds I eyed view of the process from start to finish. The best part is that you are able to see the ships passing through up close. Cost is $5.00 per person and Panamanian citizens do not pay the entry fee.

1  Thank Amed A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2013

I was not a huge fan of Colon, and its construction traffic. However, the Gatun Locks are not crowded and give you an outstanding opportunity to watch the locks in operation I VERY close proximity. We were able to watch 3 ships come through. The informational guide at the Locks was very good. This is really all there is at this location but it is the best location for watching the ships come through the Locks. It is an entirely different experience and perspective than taking the canal marine tour through the locks.

1  Thank Suzyd1964
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2013

The Gatun Locks are amazing and breathtaking!!! Only $5 per person to get in...no museum or anything touristy...just the locks in action, from about 10 feet away. We heard a lot about this being a better site than Miraflores because of the proximity. It's out of Panama City quite a ways, but worth it!

3  Thank D R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2013

I'd read several reviews about the locks. Some said it was boring. When we went, we must have timed it just right. We were able to watch 4 boats go through. You are able to get a great view of the boats by way of an elevated observation deck. There's a small fee but I thought it was worth it.

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

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