Panama Canal

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Panama Canal, Panama

Panama Canal Reviews

X_Drive X_Drive
836 reviews
A full day to enjoy the Panama Canal Oct 02, 2012
One of the places on my bucket list was seeing the Panama Canal, and the best way to do it was on a cruise through the canal on a nice ship. I won’t go into how good or bad the ship was but I will try to let you know how the trip through the canal was. This is certainly a better way to see the canal than being on one side or the other and watching ships go through. This way you get to experience the entire thing.

Morning brought us to the western entrance of the bay and on towards the first locks. There were lots of ships waiting their turn as we seemed to pass them all and continue into the locks. It was still pretty early but it was quite warm and super humid! And it seemed like the entire load of passengers were right there at the front of the ship trying to get the best place to watch as the ship eased forward as we slid under the Bridge of the Americas. The first locks, the Miraflores locks, brought us up one level and we quickly could see what a tight fit it was for the new ships of today. But even before we made to the lake the heat caught up with me and without drinking enough water I suffered heat stroke and nearly passed out. They got me down and looked at the medical office and I headed back to our room for an hour or so, as we made our way through the second set of locks, the San Miguel locks. This really wasn’t a bad thing after all because from our cabin on the lowest level we got see and take pictures of the canals wall and down where people usually don’t get a chance to look. Paint on the sides and definite scrapes on the canal walls. Then as the ship was raised with the water that was pumped in we were down closer to the level of the mules (which is what they call the heavy locomotives) that assist every ship through the canal.

After spending a while there we made our way back up to the inside lounge at the front of the ship. And again, we were not alone by any stretch of the imagination. Comfortable chairs and drinks of all kinds were available in the air conditioned lounge, with huge windows from ceiling to floor to see everything. This was a pretty ideal spot to be.

We finished the day crossing the huge lake and then dropping down the last set of locks to the ocean level on the north. We could even see where they were digging a new third canal for newer large ships.

This is pretty much an all day thing and staying well hydrated and wearing comfortable clothes are my suggestions. And it you can find a nice indoor spot to watch from, even better.

This is one of those places that are on most people’s bucket list and I am so glad I was able to check if off of mine.
8 / 8 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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spocklogic says:
Earlier this year the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier (CVN-65) was retired in Norfolk, VA. I remember reading that the Enterprise, like America's other nuclear carriers, are too big to fit through the Panama Canal, so they had to go round the southern-most point of South America. Gives an appreciation for their size I guess.
Posted on: Apr 07, 2013
erios29 says:
cool blog! i live here in Panama, it is always awesome! looking fwd to have the same trip, but when the expansion process is finished!
Posted on: Apr 07, 2013
Zagnut66 says:
Nothing worse than a medical emergency on long anticipated trip. I'm glad you still had a good time!
Posted on: Apr 07, 2013
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kingoftheicedragons kingofth…
83 reviews
Panama Canal Jan 20, 2011
I remember reading about the building of the Panama Canal in school to allow global shipping get from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to go all the way around South America. When the opportunity came to visit the canal, I had to go.

I don't know what I really expected the canal to be, as I had never been to locks on a river, let alone the Canal. I guess I expected the series of locks that lifted the ships up away from sea level to be spread out more, and for there to be lake-like holding areas after each step up or down, at least a couple of miles between each one. That isn't the case at all. All of the locks are in rapid succession as they raise or lower the traffic through the locks the 85 feet difference. And as the ships go through, with the assistance of mules to hold the ship in place without moving from side to side, they don't have much clearance at all.

As ships traverse the locks (at Gatun), there are announcements in both Spanish and English about the canal, the locks, and the various ships that have gone through, as well as talking about the canal itself.

There are three viewing platforms. The first of these is at ground level after the ships have gone through the locks. We didn't stay there long, so I can't remember if you can hear the announcements from that viewing platform or not. The other two viewing areas are closer to where the ships enter the locks from and give more of a bird's eye view as the ships actually go through the canal.
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Birddiaz Birddiaz
2 reviews
Panama Canal Jun 13, 2011
If you get lucky enough to have ships passing by when you are there, it is pretty cool. Otherwise, you cannot really appreciate. The bar there is expensive and the food way over priced.

However, ask for Jairo in the bar on the second floor and he will hook you up. He adviced me how I could get part of the buffet and use it as an appetizer platter for my table instead of getting a super small order of cheese for $12.00

Late afternoons are better.
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kely kely
4 reviews
interesting May 04, 2011
if you go to panama canal is good to know because you learn so much on imports and the connections made here is wonderful to watch these big ships are so large that you'll like it :)

There is a museum of history as the channel becomes much I liked this museum and you can meet different kinds of animals are very interesting and near an old train is good to take a picture and the landscape is pretty quiet
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chiefatl chiefatl
2 reviews
Panama Canal was fantastic Jun 25, 2011
I highly recommend touring the Panama Canal. Call ahead to find out when the ships are scheduled to enter the canal so you will witness the locks opening up for the ships to pass through the canal. Also, one should explore the Panama Canal museum too. You will learn the history about the canal and the different wildlife that are located in the waters of the canal.
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paolop1969 paolop19…
3 reviews
Panama May 28, 2011
I spend few days before and after my diving cruise vacation to Coiba and Malpelo. The city is nice with lots of attraction the chanel is the main one. We made a small cruise on the chanel and we visited the museo. Was intersting
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mrkrueger13 mrkruege…
11 reviews
Awesome Manmade accomplishment in trade Apr 19, 2009
Luckily it doesn't cost you as much to visit here as it does for a vessel to pass through... we're talking millions sometimes. It's a wonder of the world for a reason... check it out.
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up4anything901 up4anyth…
32 reviews
another check off on the bucket list Jun 26, 2009
the panama canal was cool. for sure its a great engineering feat.

different price schemes for admission. i went ahead and paid $8 for the works. watch a introductory film. walk through the onsite museum. it details the history and planned future of the canal. head up to observation deck to watch the ships. took approximately 40 minutes for one of the tankers to pass through the locks.

when a ship enters the outer lock (from the atlantic side..i think) it is drained until its roughly level with the pacific side. the middle locks are opened to allow ship passage. closed behind when it does. then the other outer lock is opened. the ship is now on the pacific side. the process is reversed when heading the other direction.

different kinds of ships pay various fees to pass through the locks. cruise ships pay the most. i think i correctly remember it being $180K. the canal is a big money maker for panama.

there is a restaurant onsite. i didnt see any other people eating and to me it actually looked closed. can't comment on the type, quality and/or prices of the food.

i stayed about 2.5 - 3 hours
good shot of the locks
entering the canal
0 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Eric says:
I agree! Really amazing experience to pass through the locks!
Posted on: Jun 26, 2009
ryates24 ryates24
2 reviews
Jan 12, 2008
Obviously you have to see the Panama Canal. It will take you over an hour to see a ship pass through one of the locks. Mira Flores is the lock set up for tourist to watch. It will cost you $5 (Balboa or American Dollars) and it is money well spent.
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CFD CFD
138 reviews
Aug 22, 2007
The Panama Canal where built by the Americans to transport their warships from the East Coast to the West coast as fast as possible.

The ship on the Pictures is Bow Firda, a Panamax Chemical Tanker. See how small the locks really are!

The ships are being lifted up through water-locks and then to continue into the mainland in the middle of the jungle. On the other side the locks are taking the ships down again.

Some facts:

The maximum width of the ships passing trough the Panama Canal is 32.2meters and ships that are tailor-made to go through the Panama Canal is called Panamax, which means Bulk ships up to 70.000 tonns, but most ships are smaller , between 30.000 and 45.000 tonns.

Its a Must-see if you are in Panama.
In the "Jungle"
Miraflores Locks (i Belive).
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cabotono cabotono
6 reviews
Mar 31, 2007
The Panamá Canal is must see in Panamá.

The Panamá Canal is a major ship canal that traverses the Isthmus of Panama in Central America, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
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tiffharg tiffharg
19 reviews
Jun 07, 2006
I never quite knew what to expect from the Panama Canal. However, it turned out to be a great experience. You can take a tour of the little museum and watch a video about the Canal. Once finished with that you make your way to the observation area. If you are lucky, like I was you will be able to see a few ships making their way through the third lock. It was really neat to here cheering for so many different countries during the who's here portion. Have so much fun! And be sure to learn the history... I think that is what made it so special to me.

Oh, if you have time after visiting the Canal, or maybe before... you should go the the Gamboa Resort at the Panama Canal. Not only is it gorgeous, but you can take a gondola ride through the rain forest (can't remember price, but totally worth it!).
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Panama Canal
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