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.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best?
This award is our highest recognition and is presented annually to those businesses that are the Best of the Best on Tripadvisor, those that earn excellent reviews from travellers and are ranked in the top 1% of properties worldwide.
Top ways to experience Panama Canal
See what travellers are saying
  • Edwin R
    Edmonton, Canada3 contributions
    History of Panama Canal
    Thank you to Kevin, owner of Barefoot Panama, who took the time to give us a tour of Panama Canal and a City Tour. Not only did we get to know about Panama Canal but we also was given a history lesson of how Panama became a country. I very much enjoyed the tour.
    Visited November 2022
    Written 1 December 2022
  • BobC1510
    Grand Junction, Colorado153 contributions
    Highlight of the trip
    Booked a tour to do a partial transit of the Panama Canal from Panama City to Gamboa through Panamazing tours. Well worth it. To actually experience going through the canal and the locks was incredible. Our guide did an excellent job explaining the history of the canal and pointing out sites of interest. Lots of great photo-ops. The coffee bar in the morning and the lunch were very good. Highly recommend.
    Visited November 2022
    Written 2 December 2022
  • C D
    31 contributions
    Great Place to visit.
    Great photo opportunities while at the Canal. They have a guide to explain what is happening when boats arrive. There is plenty of seating available, but when the boats come through everyone will begin to stand. Recommend getting right up front early. There's a $10 fee to enter if you're not a resident. Vending machine with cold drinks is available, There's an IMAX and cafeteria but both are under construction.
    Visited December 2022
    Written 2 December 2022
  • William F
    Denver, Colorado653 contributions
    Surprising experience
    Visited the Canal twice during our time in Panama the first time took a small boat tour that took us out on Lake Gatun and saw the wildlife. Very informative and was surprised to learn that the canal also was a nature area. The 2nd time went back to the Miraflores locks to get a feel for how the locks worked and that was also fascinating. You could obviously do this all in one tour but liked breaking it up. Don't think you really need a tour to go to the Miraflores visitor's center. We just took UBER and worked out fine.
    Visited November 2022
    Written 4 December 2022
  • Jillian2020
    Bayview, Australia25 contributions
    Definitely an interesting and inspirational experience.
    When in Panama City this is an amazing trip to do. The history, velocity and sheer greatness of the Panama Canal is unbelievable. To enjoy breakfast on the Pacific Ocean and Dinner in the Atlantic Ocean all in the same voyage is remarkable.
    Visited April 2022
    Written 8 December 2022
  • GrassValleyMe
    Grass Valley, California60 contributions
    Amazing feat, beautiful scenery. Interesting
    This is such a feat of engineering, and so full of cargo traffic. We were blessed with good weather. Lake Gatun is very lovely, and serene even with so many big ships slowly cruising through. The Canal system runs very smoothly to handle an amazing number of ships. Filling and emptying locks was fast, and intriguing to watch how these huge ships are carefully kept in position inches from the walls. Didn't care much for the bustle and endless towering skyscrapers of Panama City- and I'm sure the new cruise terminal will be great when finished; it took about 30 minutes on the mandatory shuttle just to get to the port exit...
    Visited November 2022
    Travelled with friends
    Written 14 December 2022
  • wkenety
    3 contributions
    Panama - and the Panama Canal - made for a Superb Trip.
    We had a wonderful five night visit to Panama, focusing mostly on the Panama Canal. Panama City is a bustling first-world attraction, with an attractive colonial period area undergoing gradual rehabilitation. The Canal is an amazing wonder, especially when seen not from the tall decks of a cruise ship, but from the paved areas directly adjacent to the Canal and from a small 250 passenger vessel that shares lock space with behemoth freighters. And there's a rain forest to visit and sleep in. We did all this with Road Scholar which ran a superb tour with superb guides at an excellent price. English is widely spoken and the U.S. dollar is the actually currency. An A++++ trip!
    Visited October 2022
    Written 14 December 2022
  • Kendra Toews
    Killarney, Canada9 contributions
    Panama Canal a must see
    Absolutely loved the Panama Canal. So fascinating to watch and learn about the ships’s passage. The history behind the construction is fascinating!! We were on a bus tour from Rio Hato area…if I were to do it again, we’d book a cab and tour the canal! Most importantly, we would go through the passage on a boat tour that was offered!
    Visited November 2022
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 16 December 2022
  • Lynn A
    12 contributions
    Wonderful trip, great guide
    So amazing. The guide spoke the whole time and was so informative, on the topic at hand plus any other Panama questions I asked him. Great job with the translation, with giving equal time to English and Spanish. The trip was longer and more comprehensive than we had hoped. They fed us a quick breakfast and a nice lunch plus water and hot beverages. I can't say enough about how informative the guide was.
    Visited December 2022
    Written 5 January 2023
  • Brian Xie
    Evanston, Illinois6 contributions
    Have to go place in Panama
    You cant miss this. There is only a few ships come across the Canal each day so timing is important. I got there at 10am sharp, being the first group visiting. I saw the entire process of a huge ship crossing the Canal. This entire process takes like almost an hour. If you come earlier you can have a nice spot.
    Visited December 2022
    Written 11 January 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
18,989 reviews
Excellent
12,914
Very good
4,688
Average
1,128
Poor
161
Terrible
98

Taneisha W
Montego Bay, Jamaica3 contributions
Nov 2023 • Family
A most see ,a wonder of one of the most famous place on earth,it's amazing to see it unfolds before your eyes,love the history and perseverance of the Carft men of the canal and people of Panama.
Written 27 November 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.

Gardengel-IoW
West Sussex, UK765 contributions
Nov 2023 • Couples
We were on a cruise ship and crossed via the new locks.
We arrived at 4am and watched from our balcony. All very interesting. We had a commentator on board giving all manor of information to do with the canals building and use. I didnt stay up for the whole duration! started looking again about 9am. All a necessarily slow process to get through the three locks to the lake then the other three to return to the sea.
Possibly a once in a life time journey although I heard someone say they had done it six times this year!
Definitely a tick off our bucket list. Or do we return on a smaller ship to cross the original locks?
Written 27 November 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.

Libby613
Passaic Park, NJ70 contributions
Aug 2023 • Couples
Fabulous thing to watch, but I don't think you need more than an hour. Make sure you time it right to see the ships going through
Written 13 November 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.

Ron S
Toronto, Canada504 contributions
Dec 2022 • Family
The Panama Canal is quite the sight to see in person. Seeing the ships funneling in and leaving provides an appreciation for the importance for the waterway. The brief video to begin the tour provides great context of what went into the canal and its importance today.
Written 25 October 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.

Gerry T
1 contribution
Oct 2023 • Couples
We had an excellent trip and toured nearly all of the country. It would be a great place to live in our retirement it if wasn’t such a hassle airports with the biggest problems leaving Canada. The people in panama are really nice and helpful. panama relocation tours are very good at what they do and we would move there in a minute if we were a little younger and things were less upsetting to move from Canada. What we need is someone to take us my the hand and say lets go. Every thing else was great and we enjoyed the trip
Written 19 October 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.

Ilona W
Puerto Rico3 contributions
Sep 2023 • Family
Historical place for visiting in Panama. Our guide from miviajeapanama (+50763242898) was very friendly and informative. He took us from the hotel directly to the Channel in a private car. The price was well worth and I wouldn't hesitate to send any of my friends on this tour, too.
Written 17 October 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.

Mandy Coombs
North Petherton, UK548 contributions
Jan 2023 • Couples
Amazing experience going through the canal. There were lots of opportunities to look for sea creatures and birds along the route. It was quite an experience going through the canal in such a big ship.
Written 14 October 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.

Attila H
220 contributions
Oct 2023 • Couples
When I thought Panama canal, I thought just one passing and done, to my surprise there's several!!! Its literally a full day of fun, exciting to see all the cargo and passenger ships from literally all over the world!!!! Great system of passage. Amazing history and scenes...
Written 1 October 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.

Marie D
Birmingham, UK3 contributions
Sep 2023 • Family
Our excursion to the Panama Canal at the Miraflores Locks left us truly awestruck by the incredible engineering behind it. It was a captivating blend of beauty and excitement, making it an absolute must-see experience during your visit to Panama.
Written 30 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.

Ann H
York, UK2,430 contributions
Aug 2023 • Couples
We had booked a cruise with Queen Elizabeth which included a full transit through the Panama Canal due to its repositioning. We had a guest speaker onboard giving some lectures all about the history politics and everything else about this amazing area of the world. We were awake very early on the day in order to get the full experience and our balcony was luckily situated at a very good spot on the ship to enjoy it all. It is incredible this was thought of and built over a century ago and a bit tense as our ship was really near the edges in the lock chambers!!! Brilliant experience - glad we did it!
Written 22 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.

Showing results 1-10 of 8,226
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Panama Canal - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Panama Canal

According to Tripadvisor travellers, these are the best ways to experience Panama Canal: