A cruise on the Panama Canal through Central America can appeal to more than one type of passenger. The Panama Canal portion of the trip focuses on the transit itself,with onboard lectures as ships make their way through the locks. Within the rest of Central America, put on your hiking boots and head for the rainforest or kick off your shoes and hit the beach. Port highlights include Costa Rica's Puntarenas and Limon, with excursions that cater to adrenaline junkies.
A cruise through the Panama Canal is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many travelers. The canal is an engineering marvel connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans via the 50-mile long Isthmus of Panama. The original construction of this narrow waterway was completed in August 1914, but the most recent expansion project, which doubled its capacity, began operation in June 2016. Completing the passage through these world-renowned locks is a highlight of any Panama Canal cruise, but the surrounding region and ports of call offer extraordinary opportunities for exploration and sightseeing in Central and South America. We've compiled this list of the must-do tours when visiting the Panama Canal. Many cruise lines offer similar excursions, but depending on the itinerary, they can depart from either Colon, Gatun Lake or Panama City. You can also independently arrange for a private or group trip for some of these tours. No matter which excursion you choose, they all afford opportunities to explore the rich biodiversity of the Panama Canal region. They also offer historical perspectives about one of the world's most incredible engineering feats.