Panama Canal

A staggering engineering achievement that has to be seen to be truly appreciated.

Formally handed back to Panama at midnight on 31 December 1999, the Panama Canal's revenues now benefit the Panamanian economy-these days one of the strongest in Latin America.

Today around 14,000 ships (about 5% of world shipping) pass through the Canal's 80km each year, with a double lock at Miraflores on the Pacific side, and a single lock at Pedro Miguel, to reach Gatun Lake, the highest point, before the triple Gatun lock that connects to the Caribbean.

Work has begun on locks to accommodate even larger ships.

The story of the Canal is so vivid (see box), and the engineering feat so awesome, that a 'transit' through the Canal, or part of it, is a must for anyone.

Around the Canal

  • Panama City
  • National parks around the Canal
  • Colon and Portobelo

Start planning your trip to Panama

Let us know what kind of trip to Panama you are most interested in, and when you are thinking of travelling. Our travel experts know Panama extremely well, and will be delighted to offer some initial ideas and advice, and to develop a more detailed design for your holiday as your ideas evolve. You can order our special brochure for Costa Rica, Panama & Nicaragua here.

Call us on 020 7281 7788 ( Mon-Fri 9:15-5:45). Or we'd be happy to call you back.


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Holiday designs that visit the Panama Canal

'Panama Odyssey'

Panama - Touring and wildlife

This private tour is ideal for active people who would like to discover something of the real Panama and its wildlife as well as seeing the main sights.

13 nights from £3690

'Along the Caribbean'

Costa Rica - Touring and wildlife

A wonderful tour visiting the highlights of the Caribbean coast- the flooded forest of Tortuguero, Cahuita National Park, jungle backed beaches and the Bocas del Toro archipelago in Panama.

17 nights from £3395

'Just a Week in Panama'

Panama - Touring and wildlife

A week of touring in Panama that combines well with time at a beach, or with a visit to Costa Rica.

7 nights from £1955

'And Panama Too'

Panama - Touring and wildlife

A short stopover in Panama to see the Panama Canal, following on from a trip in Costa Rica. Call us for other options.

4 nights from £1275

'The Camino Real Trek'

Panama - Walking and active

A satisfying, fairly rugged short jungle trek to follow the gold of the Incas from the mountains to the Caribbean.

7 nights

'Panama Chill-out'

Panama - Beach and relaxation

Beautiful locations make this a memorable getaway, an unusual honeymoon, or a chilled-out break from busy lives.

11 nights from £3140

'The Birds of Panama'

Panama - Birdwatching

This is probably the very best two-week birdwatching itinerary for Panama in terms of covering key birdwatching sites, building a long list including spectaculars and endemics.

14 nights from £4985

'Easy Birding in Panama'

Panama - Birdwatching

275-300 species in a week of relatively easy bird watching in two complementary locations

11 nights from £3175

Other parts of Panama