Gatun Lake
About
After Lake Mead, this is the world's largest man-made lake that forms the central part of the Panama Canal.
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Tours & experiences
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Top ways to experience Gatun Lake
The area
Best nearby
We rank these restaurants and attractions by balancing reviews from our members with how close they are to this location.
Attractions
3 within 10 kms
See what travellers are saying
  • orrdin
    New York883 contributions
    Lovely lake though not as much wildlife as expected
    The lake is large and pretty. All the tour promotions suggest a wide array of wildlife is present there. The reality is that yes there’s monkeys and a few bird species and supposedly some caimans but they are not abundant or easy to find. Even the monkeys that are supposed to come eat food from your boat didn’t come. So yes we had fun in the tour but we were also a bit disappointed. We expected more.
    Visited December 2022
    Travelled with family
    Written 25 December 2022
  • betteskid
    Boston, Massachusetts1,310 contributions
    Beautiful spot and exciting to be in the Panama Canal
    We took a boat ride on Gatun Lake while we were in Panama City. I don't remember the company, but there are several. The lake is beautiful and there are opportunities to see the large ships in the Panama Canal as the Lake is a major part of the canal. We were even fortunate to see one ship that we later saw going through the locks at Miraflores. The Lake was a very pleasant place to visit and it was a great way to experience the canal.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 1 May 2023
  • Ontario76
    Sherwood Park, Canada1,101 contributions
    In transit to a canal transit!
    We went over part of the lake on the way to the western part of the canal. This was a group tour. Not much wildlife seen in that brief part. We got into the boat more than halfway over the lake and made no special tours of any islands or such. If you want to see wildlife, the brief bit during the route to the western canal transit won't satisfy. You'll have to go to a more dedicated lake tour.
    Visited February 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 3 September 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
1,081 reviews
Excellent
634
Very good
350
Average
84
Poor
11
Terrible
2

Ontario76
Sherwood Park, Canada1,101 contributions
Feb 2023 • Couples
We went over part of the lake on the way to the western part of the canal. This was a group tour. Not much wildlife seen in that brief part. We got into the boat more than halfway over the lake and made no special tours of any islands or such. If you want to see wildlife, the brief bit during the route to the western canal transit won't satisfy. You'll have to go to a more dedicated lake tour.
Written 3 September 2023
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.

betteskid
Boston, MA1,310 contributions
Mar 2023
We took a boat ride on Gatun Lake while we were in Panama City. I don't remember the company, but there are several. The lake is beautiful and there are opportunities to see the large ships in the Panama Canal as the Lake is a major part of the canal. We were even fortunate to see one ship that we later saw going through the locks at Miraflores. The Lake was a very pleasant place to visit and it was a great way to experience the canal.
Written 1 May 2023
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.

AZCatFan1998
Mechanicsburg, PA291 contributions
Apr 2023
We were in a little skiff going around to see monkey island but the best part was seeing the giant shipping vessels in the lake. Beware if you have a weak stomach the water does get choppy when you pass a ship and you may get sick.
Written 10 April 2023
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.

Shelley C
8 contributions
Mar 2023
We crossed Gatun Lake on our Monkey Tour, passed a couple of massive boats that were crossing the Panama Canal.
We didn't see the whole lake but it was very interesting to be on the canal route.
Written 25 March 2023
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.

Ken Q
Denver, United States851 contributions
Feb 2023
We visited here as part of our boat tour of the Panama Canal. Fun to see the ships and there was lots of wildlife.
Written 25 February 2023
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.

BigMerk
Glasgow, UK2,274 contributions
Feb 2023
Huge man-made lake into which ships sail from the Caribbean locks of the Panama Canal. We took a small boat to look for wildlife but, apart from a swimming sloth and some monkeys there was little to see. On another day we may have been more lucky.
Written 22 February 2023
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.

Marc N
Bartlesville, OK932 contributions
Feb 2023
Hard to believe this is a man-made lake. Several opportunities to see flora and fauna. Highlight of this trip were the howler monkeys.
Written 12 February 2023
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.

Kevin
Chicago, IL217 contributions
Dec 2022
we caught peacock bass as saw monkeys, but the traffic getting there (Gambaa) from city was a hassle
Written 8 January 2023
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.

TAMAN1951
Liberty Lake, WA6,464 contributions
Dec 2022 • Couples
Significant body of water part of the Panama Canal system.

Quite busy and full of ships traversing the canal.

Nice scenery.
Written 30 December 2022
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.

orrdin
New York883 contributions
Dec 2022 • Family
The lake is large and pretty. All the tour promotions suggest a wide array of wildlife is present there. The reality is that yes there’s monkeys and a few bird species and supposedly some caimans but they are not abundant or easy to find. Even the monkeys that are supposed to come eat food from your boat didn’t come. So yes we had fun in the tour but we were also a bit disappointed. We expected more.
Written 25 December 2022
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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GATUN LAKE: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Gatun Lake

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