Panama Canal

Panama Canal: Our most recommended tours and activities

Panama City: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus

1. Panama City: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus

See Panama City from the top deck of an open top tour bus. New to the city, the tour takes you to all the major attractions of the Panama capital. Set amidst the Pacific Ocean, the rainforest and Panama Canal, Panama City is a striking modern city, not least because of its unique attractions. The tour is designed to ensure that you see all main attractions beginning with the World famous Panama Canal. Learn about the construction of this 8th wonder of the world with a live guide. The bus also travels to the colonial city of Casco Antiguo, as it is known in Spanish. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it boasts wonderful colonial Spanish and Italian architecture. Panama also has splendid examples of French architecture, due to the French presence during the last decade of the 19th century when the French attempted to build the canal. Visit the islands that are connected by a Causeway. From here you will experience great views of the Panama Canal entrance and the Bridge of the Americas, as well as stunning views of the Panama City skyline and skyscrapers. On the way to the islands, and at the entrance of the Causeway, is the amazing Frank Gehry-designed Bio-Museum. Also known as the "Bridge of Life," it explains how Panama rises from the seas and links North with South America. As well as taking in Panama´s key places of historical interest, the city has a vibrant outdoor scene with several cafés, which are a delight to hop-off and linger at. You can visit areas where you will find restaurants and bars that cater for all palates, as well as shopping areas like the Albrook Mall, which boasts brands from around the world, sometimes sold at bargain prices. Tour stops: 1. Balboa Boutiques Plaza 2. Parque Urraca 3. Mi Pueblito 4. Albrook Mall 5. Miraflores Locks - Canal 6. Entrada de Amador 7. Biomuseum 8. Punta Culebra 9. Isla Flamenco 10. Isla Perico 11. Sabores Del Chorrillo 12. Casco Antiguo 13. Multicentro

Panama City: Half Day City and Panama Canal Tour

2. Panama City: Half Day City and Panama Canal Tour

Enjoy 2 hours at the fascinating Panama Canal before exploring Panama City's history and sights. Discover 4 levels of exhibitions about the Canal at the Miraflores Visitor Center.  Take a panoramic drive along the Ancon foothills where you can take in the lush greenery and learn about the area's importance during the world wars. Stop at the Amador Causeway for a chance to get some incredible photos of the city, try one of its best ceviche places, have some amazing homemade ice cream, or do some shopping. Walk through the streets of the Old Town and visit the Cathedral Basilica Santa Maria la Antigua. Take a guided walk, ending in the Plaza de Francia on the old walls that protected the city from invasion over the years.

From Panama City: Panama Canal and Monkey Island Tour

3. From Panama City: Panama Canal and Monkey Island Tour

Spend the day exploring the Panama Canal, learning about its history and creation. Visit the museum and make your way to the Chagres River to embark on a boat ride across Gatun Lake. Get picked up at your hotel or other location in Panama City, and journey to the Panama Canal Visitors Center for a detailed explanation about how the canal and famous Miraflores Locks work. Visit the museum to learn more about this important water passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Return to the vehicle and pass Miraflores Lake and the Pedro Miguel Locks as you make your way to the town of Gamboa. Upon arrival at the Chagres River, climb aboard for a scenic boat trip across artificial Gatun Lake. Marvel at the surrounding landscape of the biggest and most important lake in the Panama Canal. Watch the large ships passing through the canal to get a sense of the magnitude of this masterpiece of engineering. Arrive at a group of islands to see different species of animals and monkeys. Return to Panama City and get dropped off at your hotel.

From Panama City: Gamboa Rainforest Guided Tour with Lunch

4. From Panama City: Gamboa Rainforest Guided Tour with Lunch

Explore the Panamanian rain forest while gliding smoothly through treetops on an aerial tram. Learn the jungle's most interesting facts from a naturalist guide. Watch colorful birds flying around you.  Take a boat ride through the Panama Canal, observing marine life. End your tour with a delicious lunch. Board a tram bound for a 280-feet peak surrounded by leafy jungle. While going up to the observation tower, enjoy fabulous views of the Chagres River, the Embera indigenous community, and much of the Soberania National Park. Gamboa is home to many natural labs including a butterfly farm, an orchids center, and a frog pond. See around 20 species of butterflies native to Panama at the Butterfly House. Get up close to the sloths at the Sloth Sanctuary. This sanctuary hosts a rehabilitation and training program for injured, sick, and orphaned sloths. Enjoy a scenic boat tour along the Panama Canal's waterways. Observe the fascinating tropical wildlife of Gatun Lake and the surrounding forest. Get a chance to spot crocodiles, caimans, sloths, monkeys, and a host of birds with the help of your guide.

Panama: 6-Hour Northbound Panama Canal Cruise & Lunch

5. Panama: 6-Hour Northbound Panama Canal Cruise & Lunch

Experience a relaxing northbound cruise on the Panama Canal aboard the glorious Pacific Queen. Enjoy a complimentary lunch while admiring the breathtaking landscape passing slowly by you.  Pass through the Culebra Cut, the Pedro Miguel Locks, and the engineering marvel of the Miraflores Locks. Learn how the locks are controlled to allow ships to pass through, while tucking into your lunch. Feel the waves beneath your feet as you admire scenic views of the Puente Centenario, the Chagres River, and the brilliant Bridge of the Americas, connecting North and South America. Wave goodbye to the Pacific Queen but hold onto the memories, as you disembark at Gamboa before returning to Panama City.

Monkey Island and Indian Village Tour

6. Monkey Island and Indian Village Tour

Leave the city behind in the morning and head to the Chagres River where you will board a boat for a 2-hour tour of Lake Gatun (once the largest manmade lake in the world) and the Panama Canal. Explore the ins and outs of the nearby bays, search for wildlife, and visit the famous Monkey Island, home of the amazing white-faced monkeys. Also, keep an eye out for turtles, crocodiles, caiman, tons of bird life, and all kinds of other surprises. Return towards Gamboa, pass the dock, and head upstream to the Indian village. Unlike most Indian village tours, this one is authentic. Learn about the local culture, history, and crafts. Then, hike along a short trail to see the plants that grow in this area and how the locals use them (practical, artist, or medical uses) and see dance that is part of their custom. After visiting the village, return to Panama City and stop along the way for lunch and arrive at your hotel in the late afternoon.

6-Hour Panama Canal Ship Cruise

7. 6-Hour Panama Canal Ship Cruise

Experience the Panama Canal in the most authentic way, by crossing it on board a ship. This 6-hour tour from Panama City will take you to the world famous Miraflores Locks, where you can watch huge ocean-going vessels transiting the canal just a few feet away. Your partial Panama Canal transit starts with a coach ride to Gamboa, where the Panama Canal Dredging Division is located. On arrival, board the cruise ship and enter the canal at the north end of Gaillard Cut, where the Chagres River flows into the canal. The Gaillard Cut, also known as Culebra Cut due to its serpent-like curve, was carved through the Continental Divide, making it one of the canal’s most popular attractions. Travel for 8.2 miles (13.7 kilometers) on the way to Pedro Miguel Locks. As you transit the Cut you will observe the continuous maintenance that the area requires, and the work in progress for the Panama Canal expansion project. View the new Centennial Bridge before you enter Pedro Miguel Locks. Here your vessel will be lowered 29.5 feet (9 meters) in one step. You will then enter Miraflores Lake, a small artificial body of fresh water that separates Pedro Miguel from Miraflores Locks. At Miraflores Locks the vessel will be lowered another 52.5 feet (16 meters) in 2 distinct steps. Once at the Pacific Ocean, sail to the beautiful Flamenco Marina to disembark. On the way to Flamenco, pass under the Bridge of the Americas, and admire the Bay of Panama and Panama City's spectacular skyline.

Panama City: Layover Private Tour

8. Panama City: Layover Private Tour

Using your flight number and airline name, a driver will track your flight until it lands. After landing, the driver will be waiting for you outside with a sign highlighting your name. The driver will assist you to the car with your luggage. Once in the car, the driver will head to the Miraflores Visitors Center at the Panama Canal where you will see the ships going through the Miraflores Locks on their way from one ocean to the other. The tour will be designed for you to visit the Panama Canal during the busiest time of the day so you can watch the whole process from a terrace. After leaving the Panama Canal, the guide will take you to the Amador Coastway, a road that connects 3 islands where you will have the opportunity to see the Biodiversity Museum designed by Frank Gehry. The following destination will be the Old Town of Panama where you can appreciate the beauty of colonial buildings and handicraft shops while walking the quaint, narrow roads. After the Old Town, see the modern Panama City on your way to the airport.

Panama City: Historic District and Canal Tour with Transfer

9. Panama City: Historic District and Canal Tour with Transfer

Explore the highlights of Panama City in the company of a local to acquire a deeper sense of appreciation for its history and culture. Travel through the many landmarks along the Panama Canal, explore the Causeway Islands, and stroll through the historic Casco Viejo. Enjoy a transfer from your accommodation and begin your journey by heading over to the canal. Stop by the Miraflores Locks to observe how ships travel through them. Allow your guide to give you a thorough explanation of the locks' functions and the canal's operations. Move on to gaze at the famous Bridge of the Americas. Drive around the incredible Causeway Islands, sitting at the end of the canal and connected to the mainland by a narrow road. Take in the city skyline from afar, then stop for an optional Panamanian lunch at your own expense. Explore the historic district of Casco Viejo, the oldest part of the city. Walk around the charming streets as you learn about the major sites and browse through the ancient squares for the most amazing handicrafts. End your journey with a transfer back to your hotel.

Panama: Walking Tour Panama, Old Town, French Plaza & Casco

10. Panama: Walking Tour Panama, Old Town, French Plaza & Casco

Experience the beauty of Panama on a walking tour of some of the most historical and interesting districts of the city. See the city's Old Quarter, and visit Casco Antiguo to wander its historical cobblestone streets and admire its architecture. Meet your guide at Herrera Plaza near American Trade hotel. Begin your tour with a stroll along the charming cobblestone streets of Casco Antiguo. Explore part of the city that can trace its history back to 1673 and is filled with colonial architecture. Wander this UNESCO World Heritage Site and take in its unique beauty, and one of Panama's liveliest districts, with local Indigenous arts and crafts. Finish the tour back at the meeting point in Old Town Panama where you can continue exploring and enjoy your afternoon.

Other Sightseeing Options in Panama Canal

Want to discover all there is to do in Panama Canal? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Panama Canal

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 858 reviews

A boat going thru at least part of the Panamá Canal is a must do in the city. It is facinating to experience first hand. We did it the day after spending 3 hours learning about the locks in the museum and watching and listening to the bilingual narrator the day before. The combined experience was un beatable. We actually went back to the viewing a 3rd day for about an hour. A true marvel of engineering and perserverence.

Dan was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. I learned a lot and had fun too. I really do recommend this private tour where it’s personalized and more informal.

Gonzo was a great guide, his knowledge of plants on our nature walk was very valuable. We got to see 3 types of monkeys up close. It was wonderful!

Gustavo was very informative about Panama's history and about how the canal worked. He also gave us enough time to enjoy each attraction.

We enjoyed the tour and would highly recommend to anyone wanting to see the Canal and Panama City.