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Panama canal: afternoon visit

Panama canal: afternoon visit

Old Feb 19, 15, 1:00 am
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Panama canal: afternoon visit

I made a mistake the other day and booked my departure from Panama in such a way that it only gives me one afternoon to "visit" the canal. Are there half-day (afternoon) tours available? Any addresses? Or should I re-book (I am obviously avoiding the necessary fee)...
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Old Feb 19, 15, 12:59 pm
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
I made a mistake the other day and booked my departure from Panama in such a way that it only gives me one afternoon to "visit" the canal. Are there half-day (afternoon) tours available? Any addresses? Or should I re-book (I am obviously avoiding the necessary fee)...
You will be able to visit the Miraflores Locks - there are museum exhibits (pilot your own container ship!) and a nice viewing platform to watch the locks do their things.

In terms of experiencing the locks from a ship - if you want to do a full transit, you'll need a full day. If you want to do a half transit, I believe almost all of the tours leave in the morning and finish up around 1pm. I took the half transit in early January and found it very enjoyable.
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Old Feb 23, 15, 6:56 pm
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
I made a mistake the other day and booked my departure from Panama in such a way that it only gives me one afternoon to "visit" the canal. Are there half-day (afternoon) tours available? Any addresses? Or should I re-book (I am obviously avoiding the necessary fee)...
What you can do in an afternoon is the following: You can visit the Miraflores Locks. Also, if you want to see lots of wildlife on Gatun lake, you can go to the Gamboa Rainforest resort, and take their Monkey Island Gatun lake tour.

There's pretty much no way to get to the Gatun Locks or do a canal transit in just an afternoon. And the Monkey Island tour at Gamboa is much easier to arrange on short notice in a tight time window if you have arranged a private driver who knows where exactly he's going and who to arrange it with.
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Old Feb 23, 15, 7:49 pm
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Originally Posted by lhgreengrd1 View Post
What you can do in an afternoon is the following: You can visit the Miraflores Locks. Also, if you want to see lots of wildlife on Gatun lake, you can go to the Gamboa Rainforest resort, and take their Monkey Island Gatun lake tour.
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This sounds wonderful. Have you done the Gatun Lake tour? The website says "The boat ride to and from the island passes through the Panama Canal, giving you the chance to spot huge container ships that come from all over the world."
Does this mean they go through the locks on a little boat?
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Old Feb 24, 15, 10:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Nanook View Post
This sounds wonderful. Have you done the Gatun Lake tour? The website says "The boat ride to and from the island passes through the Panama Canal, giving you the chance to spot huge container ships that come from all over the world."
Does this mean they go through the locks on a little boat?
I did the Gatun Lake tour about 5 years ago. The lake itself is part of the Canal, between the locks. These small boats of this tour do not go through any of the Locks, which is why it can be done informally and in a fairly short amount of time. It just departs from a dock on the Gamboa resort at the side of the lake. Any boat that goes through the locks needs to do so on a carefully regulated schedule. But you will be in the same lake that the large ships pass through between the locks, and may get within 100-200 yards of one or two of them.

Be aware that a couple of recent Tripadvisor reviews indicate that this tour may have been altered recently due to the recent and ongoing Canal expansion, and so may not be as good as it was 5 years ago when I did it:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio..._Province.html

Last edited by lhgreengrd1; Feb 24, 15 at 10:34 pm
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