Panama Canal
Panama Canal
4.5
About
Operating since 1914 and considered one of the wonders of the world, this fifty-mile waterway transports ships by raising them from sea level to more than 85 feet via a series of gravity-powered locks.
Duration: More than 3 hours
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  • sskroll
    Orlando, Florida1,042 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    WOW!!!
    What a fantastic thing to see. We were on a Viking cruise and went through all three of the locks. It was an experience to be able to sit and watch as our ship went through the locks and learn all about the process as we went through and to also see animals in the area around us.
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 25 April 2023
  • Mike T
    Richmond, California102 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Engineering Marvel! Bucket list must see.
    We did a full transit fro Miami to Seattle on the Carnival Spirit. Our ship went thru the old smaller locks and it was pretty amazing. Transiting the 3 locks is a all day adventure. Watching and experiencing this engineering marvel was as good as the hype. Things happen pretty slowly but the process is so fascinating. be sure to read up and do a bit of research prior to going, it will help you understand what is happening.
    Visited April 2023
    Written 4 May 2023
  • Thomas P
    5 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Panama Canal
    Took two private tours thqt included visits to the canal. First tour took us to the Miraflores lock. Quite interesting. Second tour was a private tour of Gatun Lake which included motoring by ships in the open area of the canal itself. This was by far the more interesting part of the canal area.
    Visited April 2023
    Written 10 May 2023
  • KarenM1_10
    1,084 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Awesome Experience
    We went through the canal on our cruise ship. We really enjoyed this. The cruise ship brought aboard a local expert that provided us with the commentary. The ship also provided us with a brochure that we could reference as we went through. We arrived on deck as we started going through the Gatun locks, which were the first ones and noticed that we passed the Atlantic Bridge as we were having our coffee and Panama Roll (custard filled small donut). Great photo op of the bridge with other vessels waiting their turn to proceed. Since it took a full day to go through the locks, we went back outside as we went through the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks. At the Miraflores Locks there is a visitor center that you can travel to if you are staying in Fuerte Amador. Also at these locks, there is a camera where friends and family could access the Panama Canal Locks site and try to spot you on board as your ship passes through.
    Visited January 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 25 May 2023
  • bylandorbyair
    Chicago, Illinois635 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    An Engineering Marvel
    It's an engineering marvel and yes, one of the most famous places in the world. I thought it's worth the stop and the price of admission just to see this fascinating work of engineering. During our visit, some of the parts of the visitor's center were closed off, which was a shame. It was easy to see ships go thru tho, even though we went pretty late in the day. The 3D Imax movie is decent but it gave me motion sickness.
    Visited June 2023
    Written 16 June 2023
  • cbucksred
    35 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth a visit
    If you're visiting Panama, the Panama Canal is a must-see. Granted, watching a boat go through the locks is a bit tedious, but the engineering behind it all is amazing. I'd suggest getting there early so you can have a good view....and while the movie at the visitor's center is informative, it is, of course, all of the good, none of the bad. So I'd suggest visiting the canal museum in Casco Viejo for a better understanding of the big picture.
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 19 June 2023
  • Kev
    Palm Bay, Florida141 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Panama Canal- Amazing Man Made Engineering Structure!
    Amazing visit! I highly recommend observing the step-by-step process of positioning the ships into the canal. It will be lengthy but worth it. You get to see the tug boats (worth $12 million each) position the boats into the canal. Afterward, you begin to see the canal draining to transition into the next section of the canal. On this trip, I was with my dad (71), and he said he would like to stay all day and watch the ships pass through. I think you need maybe 1 hour tops at this place. Again, highly recommend if you're in Panama for a few days.
    Visited May 2023
    Written 2 July 2023
  • Ja G
    6 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful experience
    It was interesting and fun. My son loved it and we all enjoyed the 3D movie. However, if you really want to see the canal with a lot less people go to Agua Clara that's where you will REALLY have a good view.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 23 July 2023
  • Thuis_in_NL
    16 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    #1 place to be in Panama City
    A special place to be, but to fully understand what is actually going on, it is highly recommended to visit the 3D IMAX theatre and to learn about history and the different approaches followed to get this canal realized. The IMAX theatre is very modern and comes with a small food mall. The subsequent visit to the locks as part of the full Panama Channel is interesting. Looking for a ship to pass takes 30 minutes and gives a good impression of daily business here. The number of places with a good view is rather limited, though. Note that access is only available to the old locks, the bigger and more modern ones are not accessible from the visitor center.
    Visited July 2023
    Written 5 August 2023
  • RenR
    Detroit, Michigan8 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Panama Canal and IMAX Movie
    We had a great visit to the Panama Canal at the Miraflores Locks. We were lucky enough to see a cargo ship pass through the locks while we were there. Panama is currently suffering a drought so they have cut back the number of ships they allow to pass through the locks right now. Admission to the visitors center includes an IMAX movie about the Panama Canal to watch. I highly recommend you watch the movie. It is very informative and is only 45 minutes. Also, if you go during summer like us, you will appreciate the cold air conditioning during the movie. Note that as of right now the museum portion of the visitors center is still closed. You only get access to the movie and observation decks to view the locks.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 2 September 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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Shellee
Orange County, CA96 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
It was better than expected. There were no lines to get in. The theater was a great temp. The food was good. We learned a lot.
Written 18 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Joanne
Lake Mary, FL1,787 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Business
Our cruise ship did the north transit and it was amazing. I really enjoyed watching the little trains pull the ship into the locks. There was only 2 feet between the ship and the canal walls - so the navigation is quite a feat. Amazing that this canal is over 100 years old. I just wish our ship had time to stop in some of the places.
Written 18 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Karina N
7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
Very nice experience,

Very impressive 👏!

Must watch 45 min amazing documentary movie 🎬 there in 3D about Panama Canal. How was it built .
It is free of charge, and they provide a glacess for 3D experience.
Also, you can buy popcorn 🍿 and drinks there

Take a half day for that experience. Go early so you can watch the boats 🚢 passing the canal from pacific ocean in to the Caraibeian sea 🌊 👀 !

Written 17 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Christine L
Kissimmee, FL3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Friends
Visiting the Panama Canal was truly an incredible experience. I was highly skeptical to its value as a place to visit as a tourist but was proven quite wrong. The canal itself is not the most interesting to watch as some ships are quite slow to pass through, but with some snacks and friends, I'm sure it could be interesting to watch the progression. The true value is in the Imax movie, narrated by Morgan Freeman, that you can see the the visitor center. In the 45-minute movie, I learned about the history of building the canal, technical challenges, how it operates today, and the future outlook of the canal. The story was told in such a compelling manner that even as someone uninterested in international trades routes, I cried at how powerful it was. The film was truly one of the most informative and memorable movies I have seen. I highly recommend adding this to your stop in Panama City to both understand how this man-made wonder of the world operates and how climate change may threaten its very operation.
Written 7 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wayne D
Trenton, Canada51 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
We did a partial transit here while cruising on the Ruby Princess. It was interesting, hot and impressive. I'd recommend a cruise here.
Written 3 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JFLeBlanc
Moncton, Canada3,446 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
Visited the Panama Canal by cruise ship. This was quite a good experience. If you've never experience this, this is a must. Truly a historical thing to do!
Written 2 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

carigarcia
Slate Hill, NY17 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
We never booked a private tour because we like group tours. We like meeting people from all over the world. We must say that this was a private tour and it was one of the best tours ever! We have traveled 18 countries so far and we must say that Victor our tour guide was AMAZING!!! He was informative, knowledgeable and fun. He let us deviate a little when we needed that extra time to scope around. We were not rushed which made the tour extra special. We recommend Manakin Adventures Panama Tour & Victor the Tour guide 1000%!
Written 1 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Thecatsmum4
Kettering, UK2,249 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Friends
True this is a marvel of engineering but you arrive to a terraced seating area overlooking the Miaflores Lock and that is all.

There were no ships passing through as apparently the water levels are so low the numbers allowed through are very limited and this happens early morning. Hence ten minutes is more than enough.

I had long wanted to visit this destination but have to say the aniticipation wasn't worth it. The IMAX cinema had a good film on the background, I learnt more there.
Written 28 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Paul E
Reading, PA4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Family
The New Panama Canal is a wonder of engineering. Truly outstanding, I fully recommend it. It is a slow crossing but worth it
Written 23 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LondonLola1
London, UK36 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
We visited the canal as my husband is interested in this kind of thing and I enjoyed it much more than anticipated. There is a movie theatre inside the complex where you can watch a film narrated by Morgan Freeman which tells the history of the canal and how it came to be built with all the challenges it presented. I would say it’s a must see if in Panama City.
Written 20 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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PANAMA CANAL: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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