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Panama Canal and Miraflores Locks

canal, Panama City, Panama
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Navigating the World’s Most Famous Canal Panama City  Panama
Traversing the Panama Canal in Style Panama City  Panama
Take a Day Tour of the Panama Canal Panama City  Panama
Panama Canal and Miraflores Locks Panama City  Panama
Navigating the World’s Most Famous Canal Panama City  Panama
Traversing the Panama Canal in Style Panama City  Panama
Take a Day Tour of the Panama Canal Panama City  Panama
Panama Canal and Miraflores Locks Panama City  Panama

Navigating the World’s Most Famous Canal

The Panama Canal is a mind-boggling feat of human engineering. The canal’s series of mechanized locks, extending almost two miles in length, move some 26 million gallons of water every time a freight ship passes through (up to 40 per day), allowing their safe passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Traveling through the canal on a ship—and being lifted 85 feet above sea level—is a singular experience.

While daytime tours of the Panama Canal draw crowds, few travelers get the chance to see the locks dramatically lit at night. All Costa Rica & Panama itineraries with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic include this opportunity.

More Recommendations

AFAR Local Expert
over 7 years ago

Traversing the Panama Canal in Style

Yes, the Panama Canal is a popular destination for some of the world’s biggest cruise ships. But navigating the 50-mile isthmus that connects North and South America in a smaller vessel gives you the opportunity to get a front-row seat for each of the three main locks—a real treat for engineering geeks. Many of these smaller ships, including those from Tauck, offer full trans-canal crossings on both Atlantic-to-Pacific and Pacific-to-Atlantic routes; with this option, you spend a full day on the canal, and usually spend time in ports such as Limon or Puntarenas (in Costa Rica) and Cartagena (in Colombia). Some small ships also offer partial crossings—trips that include passage through one lock and incorporate significant amounts of shore time (most commonly at Gamboa, in Panama). The best shore experiences are in the Costa Rican ports; in Limon, Tortuguero National Park offers close encounters with green tortoise, while Braulio Carillo National Park sports the first aerial tramway in Central America.
AFAR Local Expert
about 5 years ago

Panama Canal and Miraflores Locks

It seems surprising that something so simple—water goes up, water goes down—could be so fascinating and popular. But because it is so easy to visit from Panama City, the Miraflores Locks and its visitor center are by far the most frequented sites on the Panama Canal. Droves of people come to watch the around-the-clock ballet of ship traffic and to see how millions of tons of products can slip through these 34-meter-wide (110-foot-wide) chunks of 100-year-old concrete.

AFAR Local Expert
about 7 years ago

Take a Day Tour of the Panama Canal

Even travelers who consider themselves averse to cruises seem to feel drawn to a daytime cruise tour of the Panama Canal, and it's easy to understand why: it's a man-made engineering marvel, best seen close up.

A full-day tour, which typically lasts 8-10 hours, takes passengers along the locks and lakes of the canal, starting at the Pacific Ocean and transiting to the Atlantic. Along the way, tour operators provide meals and snacks, along with narration in English and Spanish. Tours are offered year-round.