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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  • Noel78
    Tennessee605 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must-see for any Panama visitor
    Despite the large crowds, this is a must-see. We went to the Miraflores locks, but there are other places that may be better for viewing the canal. Fortunately, we were there at a busy time and watched two cargo ships, two tourist boats and one private sailboat negotiate the narrow locks
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 4 March 2023
  • froglag
    Spokane, Washington1,373 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing feat in 1914 of Building the Canal
    The whole experience of watching the boats and ships go through the canal is amazing to watch. The water is gravity fed and it is so darn fast between the locks. And to think it was completed in 1914 and the manual work it took to do. WOW, for me to watch. They also have a Imax theater to watch a movie on the Canal. That was very informative and great to get a idea of what it took to build it all.
    Visited February 2023
    Written 5 March 2023
  • scotdoc2015
    Birmingham, United Kingdom189 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    World famous canal
    Well worth the half day USD 145 tour in a boat. 6-8 hrs duration. Plenty of entertainment to keep you busy. Lots of videos and pictures to take. Lunch and drinks provided but NOT cold water bottles!. Remember to take you sun protection lotion. Boat stationary for ling periods during trip.
    Visited February 2023
    Written 11 March 2023
  • gatormotherof2
    Washington DC, District of Columbia466 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Happy I was not on a cruise ship
    A “so called” renovation project is slated and so the Miraflores Locks museum was closed and the observation seating a lackluster and outdated platform for an inadequate volume of passengers by todays standards. Hope springs eternal when the project commences-this is Panama and I’ve been reading about it for over a year. Well worth the visit and if seeing the locks in action is a must, then timing your visit imperative. I was surprised by the lack of volume of traffic. What’s China up to since they are jockeying to take ownership of both ports of entry. Shame on you Carter!
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 22 March 2023
  • John L
    Grand Bend, Canada2,043 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A short visit was enough
    The Panama Canal may be a marvel of innovation and engineering, but seeing one ship pass through the locks was more than enough, as far as I was concerned. I found the history of its construction much more interesting than watching it in operation, particularly as the opening video is narrated by Morgan Freeman, which is like listening to the voice of God. Of course, one must go ... it's the Panama Canal! But it was far from my favourite stop in the city.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 8 April 2023
  • Deborah P
    2 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Canal tour & IMAX Movie
    Was able to view a ship in transit through the locks prior to actually going through them on my cruise ship. Lots of interesting information and a good IMAX movie. There was quite a crowd but still worth it.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 10 April 2023
  • ERIKA G
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Panama Canal
    One cannot miss it!!! Magnificent ! Important arrive early morning when ships are passing through. Also important watch the video to better understand how the canal was constructed and works.
    Visited April 2023
    Written 12 April 2023
  • simplytravel2015
    Bratislava, Slovakia186 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    It's an amazing experience.
    We sailed from the Pacific side to the Caribbean. It was amazing. Everything perfectly organized. Various ships also next to us and incredible trains pulling them. All credit to those who designed and built this. It's an amazing experience.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 15 April 2023
  • sskroll
    Orlando, Florida1,026 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
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.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles19,034 reviews
Excellent
12,946
Very good
4,699
Average
1,129
Poor
161
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100

TravelingCowgirl
United Kingdom21 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
Fabulous experience seeing how it was made and actually seeing tankers and boats go through it
Staff were great as you can only use your ticket once and informed us a boat was due in at 1230 this was 11 so we went and had brunch and came back to witness it in action we really appreciated this
Written 26 February 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.

Navabsafa
Minneapolis, MN18 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
Don’t need a guide - get taxi . IMAX is great . Couldn’t see much because of the crowds . Driving up there is interesting the Americas bridge had too much traffic and had to bypass it
Written 22 February 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.

Rickster4665
Lynchburg, VA120 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
Our Day trip Around Panama City, and the Canal were amazing!!! Jose are guide was wonderful and took us everywhere we wanted to go!!!
Written 18 February 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.

kysawada
Arvada, CO22 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Friends
We went to the Mille Fleurs Locks with a guide arranged by our Hotel (Le Central) and it was a wonderful experience especially the IMAX show there that discussed the building of the Panama Canal. Couple that with the Canal Museum in the Olde City of Panama City and you have a great experience.
Written 11 February 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.

Navigator29098964952
Trinidad and Tobago1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Solo
I visited the city, the Albrook Mall, the Panama Canal. I highly recommend visiting the canal it was an amazing experience, the 3D movie on the history of the canal was really good too.
Written 7 February 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.

iowacityia
iowa city, ia1,845 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
My wife and I, along with 2 adult family members visited the Panama Canal via the NCL Gem cruise ship. We arrived via Colon, then partial transit where we anchored in Gatun Lake. Then our shore excursion took us to Balboa, where our canal transit by ferry departed, heading back to Colon. The partial transit from Colon to Gatun Lake was fascinating. The transit by ferry was never completed. Due to issues with tendering at Gatun Lake, we were so behind schedule that our transit ferry was cancelled, then we were returned to Colon via motor coach. Sad, but what we did see from our cruise ship, was wonderful. I would visit again, but do a cruise ship complete transit, so we lessen our chance of another disappointment.
Written 7 February 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.

lucycan
San Diego, CA3,508 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Friends
I mean, this is why you came to Panama no? Easiest way to get a view of the canal is to drive over either the Centennial Bridge or the Bridge of the Americas. Easy drive from Panama city and this gives you a good view. We went further and booked one of many tours that puts you on a boat in the canal so you can get an even closer look.
Written 4 February 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.

TwinCreek
Michigan417 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Friends
Our organized land tour with 12 other persons and one guide included a full-day tour through the Panama Canal isthmus which coincided with the once-a-month full day tour for those who weren't with a formal tour group. The advantage of being with a tour group was that we were one of the first to board the 3-level ferry....ahead of the separate one-day tour purchased online, thus giving us a better choice for seating. The Pacific Queen ferry has a lower level which is enclosed, close to water line, and is where meals are prepared and served. Very limited seating and a bit crowded. The middle level is also enclosed with bench seating and tables. Both have a/c. The shaded upper level has only a canopy and plastic chairs. Sitting for 8-10 hours in 90+ heat requires a/c and fairly comfortable seats. (The exposed level passengers looked miserable). There is also an unprotected seating area at the bow of the boat. Sun for 8-10 hours on plastic benches. We chose the middle level which had bench seats with table and a/c. Though I initially dreaded this long of a journey on a ferry boat, it wasn't that bad. We sat with another couple and often went upstairs to the upper, exposed front deck as well as back deck to more closely watch the locks in operation as well as the lakes/channel beyond the locks. Both engineers and non-engineers would be duly impressed. The locks are truly an engineering and logistic marvel. Throughout most of the journey there was a person explaining over a speaker the history of the locks to include modern updates. "Octavio" did a superb job and was easy to understand. ($20 tip). We departed port at 7:06 a.m. and disembarked around 4:30 p.m. to go to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Note that each lock takes about an hour. The rest is cruising the channel. If you think you'll be bored, take a book. The meals were adequate, so no need to take food at least for the ferry. There are 4 bathrooms onboard. Definitely once in a lifetime experience and immensely educational. Kids might get really bored, though.
Written 30 January 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.

ArsaniousHanna
Cerritos, CA77 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Family
It is a must visit to see this miraculous project. It takes around 8-10 hours to cross the canal. My review here is not for the canal but for a personal experience with the City Tourist Police. They are very friendly and extremely helpful. The tour guide left us behind at the old town and we don't speak Spanish but we used google translation and the tourist police cam and provided us with transportation to the tour bus. The tour guide was careless but the tourist police did an amazing job finding the tour bus and gave us a ride back. Thank you.
Written 29 January 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.

WanderingFarmer
Payson, UT418 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
We have toured the old locks before which are amazing. The new locks are also impressive. Engineering marvel to use the water over and over again.
Written 25 January 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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