The Panama Canal is a wonder of the engineering world and is a conduit between the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the largest engineering projects on earth, and took 33 years to complete. The Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks, located at either end of the canal, lift ships a staggering 26 metres above sea level before lowering them again on the other side.
With the fascinating locks, the man-made Gatun Lake, Gamboa rainforest, and Monkey Island, this canal and the surrounding areas are indeed worth a visit at least once in your life.
Below are the 15 best Panama Canal tours to help you make the most of your visit.
1. Panama Canal, Colón Rainforest and San Lorenzo Fort Tour
On this 7-hour guided tour, you can discover a plethora of sites in addition to the Panama Canal. You will be picked up from your hotel in Panama City and taken to the Colon Rainforest in an air-conditioned vehicle. Here, tourists get on board a ferry and enjoy the nature from a minibus. Tourists love to take pictures here, and this place is an amazing spot to discover wildlife.
After exploring Colon, tourists get to visit the historical San Lorenzo Fort and learn about its history. This guided tour then takes you to the last destination, the Panama Canal’s expansion at Agua Clara.
The tour includes pick-up and drop-off service, transportation to the sites, fresh local fruit, and a selection of drinks. It is a really good option if you enjoy the mystic scenery of nature and wildlife, and also love to visit or learn about significant historical sites.
2. Monkey Island and the Indian Village Tour
Discover Monkey Island and a real Indian village on this fascinating eco tour, whilst traveling through the waters of the Gatun Lake and the Panama Canal.
You will be picked up from your hotel and taken to the River Chagres for a 2-hour cruise in the Gatun Lake and the Panama Canal. Here, tourists love to look out for wildlife and capture pictures of themselves amongst the natural beauty and the nearby bays. Next, get an opportunity to visit the famous Monkey Island, which is home to white-faced monkeys. Here, you may encounter other species of animals as well.
You will also visit a real Indian village where you can learn about the culture, traditions, and history of the inhabitants there.
This tour is a great option for you if you wish to interact and learn about new cultures while getting to experience unique things on the way.
This tour is a 7-hour guided tour. The price includes taxes and the boat tour price and offers a pickup service as well.
3. Private Miraflores Visitor Center Panama Canal Tour
Get to see the Panama Canal busy at work, from the Miraflores Locks at the Miraflores Visitor Center on this private guided tour.
Enjoy the view of the Panama Canal and watch the ships traveling to and fro between the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean.
This tour is a 3-hour guided tour and includes a pick-up and drop-off service, along with other transportation and water.
4. 6-Hour Panama Canal Cruising Tour
Get the most of the Panama Canal by cruising on a ship through the waters for 6 hours. This tour is guided and will let you experience the Panama Canal in a very realistic way.
This tour will take you through a section of the Panama Canal, to the world-famous Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks. Here, you get to see the engineering wonder close up, and marvel at the sight of the huge ships.
The tour further takes you to the Pacific Ocean marina at Flamenco and also lets you see the Centennial Bridge.
This tour includes drinks and lunch as well.
5. Jungle and Gatun Lake at the Panama Canal Tour
Discover the Panama Canal from a very different aspect and take a look at a plethora of sites whilst cruising in a huge ocean vessel.
Depart from Lake Gatun and get a motorboat for traveling around. Tourists here get to see fauna and flora, the expansion of the canal, and will even learn about the history of this place.
This tour then leads you past the jungle to the Monkey Island. Lastly, there is a floating house on the lake where you can enjoy traditional cuisine and then sit back to unravel the marvels of this place at your own pace.
This is a one-day guided tour.
6. Panama Canal Tour including a variety of sites
Discover the beauty of the rainforest on an old-fashioned train and see the San Lorenzo Fort and the National Park’s focal points.
Here, you can also sightsee and learn about the wildlife in the area. Tourists love to capture pictures here and look out for different kinds of animals.
This is a 7-hour guided tour and includes transportation. A pick-up and drop-off service is also offered.
7. 5-hour Panama Canal and Monkey Island Tour
Brace yourselves to set out on an exciting full-day tour at the Panama Canal. Avail yourself of the pickup service and depart from your hotel, to the Panama Canal Visitors Center. Here, tourists can learn about the Canal and how it works. You can also visit the museum here.
The tour then leads you through the Miraflores and Pedro Locks to Lake Gatun. After spending some time there, tourists are taken to Monkey Island and then back to their respective hotels.
This is a 5-hour fully guided tour.
8. Panama Canal Partial Transit Tour
This tour takes tourists on a boat through the waters along the Panama Canal to the Pacific entrance, where you are then moved to pleasure boats. From there, the boats take you to the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks. You also get a chance to discover the Gaillard Cut, which is the narrowest section of the canal. Tourists are disembarked at Gamboa.
Amidst of all this, a commentator is available that tells you every detail about the places you visit.
The tour lasts for about 5 hours and is guided.
9. Panama Canal and City Day tour
Discover not only the Panama Canal but Panama City as well. This tour enables you to visit the Panama Canal and see the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks.
It then leads you to the top of Ancon Hill to admire the scenery. Furthermore, tourists also get to see the Punta Culebra museum and the Casco Viejo site.
This tour lasts about for 8 hours and is guided.
10. Panama Canal Tour from the Airport
Make the best of your layover by heading to the Panama Canal right from Tocumen International Airport.
This is a private guided tour lasting for about 3 hours. You will get a chance to marvel at the wonder of engineering and explore the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks.
On your way back to the airport, you can enjoy the sights of Panama City from the comfort of a private car.
11. Panama Canal and the Jungle Experience Tour
Take the opportunity to escape Panama City and discover the amazing sights beyond. Visit the world-famous Panama Canal, and also see the National Park along with Monkey Island.
This tour is perfect for people who wish to visit the Panama Canal, the National Park, Gamboa Rainforest, Lake Gatun, and Monkey Island, all in one go. The tour also takes you to an Indian village where you can learn about the customs and culture of the people there.
This guided tour lasts for about 7.5 hours.
12. Panama Canal and the City Walking Tour With Your Local Guide
Visit the Panama Visitors Center at the Miraflores Lock and unravel some of the mystery of this engineering wonder. Your local guide can teach you a lot about the history and the modern day, and even help you envision the future of the Panama Canal.
After this, your local guide will take you to sites awaiting your presence in the city. From the Ancon Hill, Casca Viejo, and Punta Culebra to the Bridge of Americas, tourists will be able to enjoy everything like locals and at their own pace.
This guided tour takes about 7 hours to complete.
13. Panama City and Panama Canal Half-day tour
Experience a visit to the world-famous Panama Canal, and Panama City for a lifelong memory.
This tour first takes you towards the Panama Canal, and then to the area called Casco Antiguo. It then gives the tourists the amazing opportunity to view the canal and the city from the Amador Causeway.
This guided tour lasts for about 4 hours.
14. 5-hour Eco-Cruise in the Gatun Lake on the Panama Canal
This five-star tour enables you to visit the world-famous Panama Canal and go on a boat adventure, taking pictures of the beautiful scenery and wildlife in the rainforest and discovering the history and present of the canal at Miraflores Locks.
This tour then heads towards Gatun Lake which is also manmade, and this tour will help you learn about the ecological and scenic aspects of it. You might want to click pictures here.
This guided tour lasts about for 5 hours.
15. Panama City and Panama Canal Railway Half-day Tour
Travel from Panama City to the world famous Panama Canal on an old-fashioned train that will lead you from the Panama City to Colon along the Canal. During this half-day tour, you can enjoy the view of the mystic canal and click pictures for a keepsake.
This tour takes you through the Isthmus of Panama from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Amidst this, you can enjoy the beauty of the lush green rainforest around you. Tourists will also get a chance to unravel the mystery of the Gatun Locks and learn about the history of the place.
This tour is guided and lasts about for 5 hours.