Panama Canal is not a choice...so here's my impression of the Panama Canal. Stupendous! It is always a highlight of cruising for us. The very fact one is gliding thru the green jungle aboard a luxury ship is quite an experience I could never adequately describe.
We never got to go ashore on East End of Panama Canal.....period.
On PACIFIC end of Canal the excursion was in the dark from about 7/pm to Midnight.
A race to Poas Volcano by Motorcoach for a peek into it's crater sez it all. Then a race back to ship. That was our Costa Rican experience. If we hadn't been to Costa Rica previously as vacationers we would have been ballistic about the meager time in Costa Rica. Nuff said.
I and 2 others went on a rigorous hike into the Sierra Madre Mts. on the same ranch some ATV'ers went on. I dared not venture off Independently account the limited time ashore. Puerto Vallarta proper is showing it's age as a 'Beach Destination' resort. The new stuff moved North to Nuevo Vallarta. But, Hey!!..there's a Wal-Mart right at the dock. I'm serious.
Antigua, Guatemala is the destination for the vast majority of those going ashore in Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala. Our tour into the Guatemalan highlands gave us a great show of a Volcano blew near the roadway near the Spanish Colonial town of ANTIGUA. It was great. Again, I dared not do a independent trek into the jungle account our limited time to be off the STATENDAM.