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A Cruise Across the Panama Canal

By Alba Espinosa |

The Panama Canal is a magnificent work of engineering that profits from the strategic geographical location of Panama. Sail across it aboard a cruise ship!


Apart from the wonderful landscapes the sea offers, it can become an important factor to determine life in a city, or even a country. Panama is an example of this. Located between two oceans, this country helps connect different continents, languages and traditions, and one of its main assets is the Panama Canal. The variety of ships that cross it, their international crews and the different flags that fly on their decks are proof of the diversity they represent.


This canal is a great work of engineering that connects the Caribbean with the Pacific Ocean, saving ships months of voyage.

There are different ways of exploring it, so in your next trip to Panama you’ll get the chance to choose the type of attractions you prefer related with this icon: from its constructive mechanical design and technological elements to the landscapes you can find on a cruise across the canal. That’s why we recommend going first to the Visitor Centers where you can learn about how the Canal works, or taking a railway tour on a path across the Isthmus of Panama that flanks the Canal and passes through rainforests and causeways. A third option is admiring the machinery used in this modern engineering work from certain locations in Panama City or Colón City. Still, DINKtravelers’ favorite option is going on a cruise across the Canal because that gives you the chance to try all these experiences together.


After driving past several ships that you’ll find waiting for their turn to cross the canal and once you spot the Bridge of the Americas, you’ll know that you are approaching your departure site at the Pedro Miguel & Miraflores Locks, where an adventure will be waiting for you. The tour begins on the Pacific Ocean. Water lifts that are separated by locks raise ships to help them advance. When this happens, you’ll notice the ship rising up to 26 meters above sea level! All of this occurs with the help of gravity, which levels the water trapped between locks helping the ship glide on the surface.

A good way to wait for this process to end is by greeting the people who are watching how the Canal works from the stands of the Visitors Centers or greeting passengers aboard ships going on the opposite direction. It will be an ideal time to make new friends and wish other travelers a safe voyage.

The ship will move forward through the locks while four water tractors pull it to keep it from derailing. Taking into account that you’ll be literally sailing across the country on a South-North direction through areas that used to be dry land, consider that you’ll be fulfilling the dream many sailors had since the 16th century but that didn’t come true until the 20th century. Also, you’ll enjoy the product of the effort made by thousands of construction workers who even died in the construction process of such admirable mechanical ensemble.

Your trip will continue through the Chagres River, where you’ll find a great variety of flora and fauna: from mangroves and monkeys to the harpy eagle, symbol of Panama. Later, you’ll reach the Gatun Locks, where the mechanism starts working in reverse order and the cruise ship slowly descends until it reaches the Caribbean.

Once at sea and after making this amazing voyage, gaze into the landscape and remember that the Panama Canal is an example of the strategic geographical location this country has, but that Panama has a lot more to offer. Therefore, in your next trip, consider the possibility of visiting its dreamy beaches and historical fortresses.

Tell us all about your cruise across the Panama Canal!