Controversial. Revolutionary. Amazing. The Panama Canal has been called "The Eighth Wonder of the World"... and with good reason! It took 250,000 people from all corners of the globe more than 10 years to build, and it stands as a monument to mankind's ingenuity and power of conviction. In 2014 the Canal celebrates its 100th Anniversary.
The Panama Canal is a unique experience which can't be reproduced anywhere else in the world. See 5,000,000-ton vessels rise and drop more than 50 feet as they make their way through Panama from one ocean to another, and learn about the history and future of this marvel of modern engineering.
How To Get There
The Panama Canal can be easily reached from Panama City by taxi.
Most Panama City tours include a visit to the Miraflores' Locks Visitor Center—the best place to visit the canal from the city.
Gamboa Rainforest Resort and Canopy Tower offer to pick up guests at the airport.
Where To Eat
Recommended in the Frommers Guide as one of Panama's top dining 5 experiences. The terrace and dining room of the fine International Miraflores Restaurant at the Miraflores Panama Canal Visitors Center offers you a view of the Panama Canal Miraflores Locks and ships going through the locks and on their way through the Canal or out to the Pacific Ocean.
What To Do
A Panama City "must-do" is a visit to the Miraflores Visitors Center at the Panama Canal. The state-of-art visitor center has 4 exhibition halls: Canal History, Water the Source of Life, The Canal in Action and the Canal of the World. The exhibitions include historical objects of Canal operations, interactive modules, video presentations, and models of the Panama Canal. There is also a snack bar and a restaurant with stunning Canal-side views.
Visitors may view ships passing through the Canal from the Visitors Center terrace free of charge.
Miraflores Visitor Center Daily Schedule:
The exhibition halls are open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The ticket office closes at 4pm.
- Non-residents: $10 for adults, $5 for children under 12. Children under 5 are free.
- Residents:$5 for adults, $2 for children under 12 and retirees. Children under 5 are free.
Exhibition Hall #1
Canal History: It portrays the background, technological innovations, and sanitary initiatives that went hand in hand with the construction of the Canal. This exhibition hall honors the hundreds of men and women who made this achievement possible.
Exhibition Hall #2
Water: Source of Life. It emphasizes the importance of water, conservation of the environment, protection of the Canal Watershed, and the diversity of fauna and flora. It underscores the ACP's commitment to the sustainable management of this resource and the interoceanic region.
Exhibition Hall #3
The Canal in Action: This exhibition hall depicts in an amusing manner how the Canal operates and allows us the experience of being inside a navigation simulator and one of the lock culverts. This exhibition showcases Canal improvement, modernization, and maintenance projects.
Exhibition Hall #4
The Canal of the World: This hall provides information on the importance of the Canal to world trade, describes the trade routes it serves and the main commodities, identifies its main users, and allows visitors to get acquainted with the different types of vessels that transit the waterway.
In addition, it presents some of the criteria studied to guarantee the future competitiveness of the Canal and benefits to the Republic of Panama.
Panama Canal Tours
Did you know you can 'cruise' the Panama Canal without taking a cruise? Panama Marine Adventures specializes in Panama Canal transits—partial and full—on their beautiful vessel, the Pacific Queen, with seating for 275 people and 3 large decks—one for observation and two fully air-conditioned.
The Pacific Queen departs from Flamenco Marina in Panama City and Gamboa for Partial Transits every Saturday. Full Canal transits are once a month. We also offer chartered Panama Bay cruises by day and night.
Another great way to explore is the Panama Canal Eco Monkey Island Tour. Get a close look of the work being done to expand the Panama Canal: history in the making; encounter rainforest animals like monkeys, sloths, toucans, crocodiles and many other species; take kayak excursion through the jungle ending at a pristine water hole & cascade where you can swim. Or if you like you can go fishing too. Read more about the Panama Canal Rainforest.