Panama Canal Cruise

From Panama City, Northbound OR From Panama Canal Railway, Southbound
  • Panama
  • Custom
  • Wildlife
  • Cruising
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Tour Description

Experience the engineering wonder of the Panama Canal on this small ship cruise between two seas. You will journey from the Pacific Ocean, visiting the jungles of the Darien where the proud Embera Indians live as they did hundreds of years ago. Land on remote and beautiful beaches to explore, snorkel and swim. Cruise through the Panama Canal during the day, through the famous Miraflores Locks and Pedro Miguel Locks to the Caribbean Sea. This cruise is full of history, cultural, natural beauty and engineering feats!

*This itinerary operates Northbound or Southbound depending on the departure date*

Viva's Best Bits...

Wake up at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal and enjoy the daylight transit through it

Visit unspoiled beaches to snorkel and kayak

Spend a day with the Embera Indians in the Darien Jungle

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Panama City - Flamenco Marina

Sail the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean towards Contadora, where the Discovery will stay the first night before navigating to the Darien Jungle. Take this opportunity to meet your expedition leaders, the crew and your fellow travellers while you savour our tempting native cuisine. (D)

Day 2
Darien Jungle

Step aboard a time machine and travel back more than 600 years to a place that not many have had the privilege of experiencing. More than an excursion, this is a journey into the lives of the Embera Indians. A proud people who have been able to maintain their traditions and lifestyle as they were before the Spaniards colonized the region. These natives are also master crafters of cocobolo woodcarvings and basketry. After motoring upriver, you will see the village emerging from the jungle, as if by magic. Keep your eyes open along the way as the region offers abundant wildlife that is particularly active along the river’s edge. (B, L, D)

Day 3
Pearl Islands

Snorkel, kayak, paddle and swim in the waters of the Pearl Islands. The archipelago owes its name to the abundance of pearl oysters, which supported a substantial fishery in the early 1900s. On the outer portion of the archipelago, the islands are home to some pristine beaches and fertile fishing grounds. (B, L, D)

Day 4
Panama Canal Daylight Transit & Gatun Lake Safari

Wake up at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal and join the morning’s ship convoy for our northbound canal passage traversing Miraflores Locks and Pedro Miguel Locks. The Discovery will be raised 85 feet above sea level to Gatun Lake. You will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience up close the history and operation of this engineering marvel. Navigate the Gaillard Cut, the narrowest section of the Panama Canal, bisecting the Continental Divide.

Prior to the construction of the Panama Canal, the vast jungle area that is now the Gatun Lake was teeming with an overwhelming abundance of wildlife. As the region was flooded to create the lake, animals took refuge in the mountain peaks, which are now the many islands that dot the renowned lake. Explore Gatun Lake and kayak in Panama Canal waters. Your expedition leader will take you on board small crafts past lush rainforests to secluded areas of the lake to witness first-hand the splendour and excitement of the jungle. The American Crocodile, Geoffroy’s Tamarin Monkey, White-faced Capuchin Monkey, Limpkin, Ringed Kingfisher and Purple Gallinule are just a few of the animals that you could see in their native surroundings. The sights, sounds and scents that make up this beautiful, tropical jungle will engulf you.
Spend the night in Gatun Lake on Panama Canal waters. (B, L, D)

Day 5
Soberania National Park & Pipeline Road

Travel into Soberania national park on a gravel dirt road built by the US military during WWII to lay an Oil Pipeline in this part of Panama to alleviate ship traffic jams thru the Canal due to the world conflict. This area was named Pipeline Road and is one of the best eco-trails in Panama. You will arrive at the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, which is an ecotourism and environmental education centre. Enjoy the view from its 100ft high observation tower while spotting Purple-throated Fruit crow, Swainson Toucan, Scarlet-rumped Cacique among other birds. Then enjoy a walk through the trail around the forest.

The Discovery will exit the Panama Canal in the afternoon on its way to the mouth of the Chagres River. (B, L, D)

Day 6
San Lorenzo National Park – UNESCO World Heritage site

Explore Fort San Lorenzo, which is located on a cliff at the mouth of the Chagres River on the Atlantic side, where your leader will offer details of the immense amount of history found on this area. This fort was built by the Spaniards in the 16th century to defend their well known gold trail. Not only is it rich in history but also in wildlife. As you walk around, be on the lookout for howler monkeys, Northern Tamandua Anteater and Blue-crowned Motmot.
In the afternoon, walk through the Pavon trail until you arrive at the lookout tower. Our crew will meet you for a “Sunset Wine & Cheese” picnic located on a cliff overlooking the Chagres River and enjoying the music of nature. (B, L, D)

Day 7
Chagres River & Panama Canal Railway

Experience the magnificent Chagres River, which was used by the conquistadors to move their gold across the Isthmus of Panama en-route from Peru to Spain and by the gold prospectors who attempted a "short cut" from the US East coast to the gold fields of California. The river was the centrepiece of the colonial inter-oceanic route and is now the lifeline of the Panama Canal full of wildlife and tropical jungle.

Later in the afternoon, you will board the Panama Canal Railway train back to Panama City. This one-hour railroad trip will allow you to traverse the picturesque trans-isthmian route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The line flanks the Panama Canal passing through lush rainforests, cruising alongside the Canal’s locks, through the historic Gaillard Cut and gliding over slender causeways in Gatun Lake. (B, L)

Day 1
Panama Canal Railway & San Lorenzo National Park

Start your itinerary aboard the Panama Canal Railway train to Colon City. This one-hour railroad trip will allow you to traverse the picturesque trans-isthmian route from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. The line flanks the Panama Canal gliding over slender causeways in Gatun Lake, cruising alongside the Canal’s locks, through the historic Gaillard Cut, and passing through lush rainforests. Arrive Colon City where your motor coach will be waiting to take you the MV Discovery for embarkation and ready to set sail!
Explore Fort San Lorenzo, which is located on a cliff at the mouth of the Chagres River on the Atlantic side, where your leader will offer details of the immense amount of history found on this area. This fort was built by the Spaniards in the 16th century to defend their well known gold trail. Not only is it rich in history but also in wildlife. As you walk around, be on the lookout for howler monkeys, Northern Tamandua Anteater and Blue-crowned Motmot.
In the afternoon, walk through the Pavon trail until you arrive at the lookout tower. Our crew will meet you for a “Sunset Wine & Cheese” picnic located on a cliff overlooking the Chagres River and enjoying the music of nature. (B, L, D)

Day 2
The Chagres River & Gatun Locks

Experience the magnificent Chagres River, which was used by the conquistadors to move their gold across the Isthmus of Panama en-route from Peru to Spain and by the gold prospectors who attempted a "short cut" from the US East coast to the goldfields of California. The river was the centrepiece of the colonial inter-oceanic route and is now the lifeline of the Panama Canal full of wildlife and tropical jungle. In the afternoon, you will set sail towards the entrance of the Panama Canal. You will start transiting the Gatun Locks, the biggest set of locks while enjoying the Caribbean sunset and watching the Canal being lit. (B, L, D)

Day 3
Gatun Lake Safari

Prior to the construction of the Panama Canal, the vast jungle area that is now the Gatun Lake was teeming with an overwhelming abundance of wildlife. As the region was flooded to create the lake, animals took refuge in the mountain peaks, which are now the many islands that dot the renowned lake. Explore Gatun Lake and kayak in Panama Canal waters. Your expedition leader will take you on board small crafts past lush rainforests to secluded areas of the lake to witness first-hand the splendour and excitement of the jungle. The American Crocodile, Geoffroy’s Tamarin Monkey, White-faced Capuchin Monkey, Limpkin, Ringed Kingfisher and Purple Gallinule are just a few of the animals that you could see in their native surroundings. The sights, sounds and scents that make up this beautiful, tropical jungle will engulf you. Spend the night in Gatun Lake on Panama Canal waters. (B, L, D)

Day 4
Soberania National Park & Panama Canal Daylight Transit

Travel into Soberania national park on a gravel dirt road built by the US military during WWII to lay an Oil Pipeline in this part of Panama to alleviate ship traffic jams thru the Canal due to the world conflict. This area was named Pipeline Road and is one of the best eco-trails in Panama. You will arrive at the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, which is an ecotourism and environmental education centre. Enjoy the view from its 100ft high observation tower while spotting Purple-throated Fruit crow, Swainson Toucan, Scarlet-rumped Cacique among other birds. Then enjoy a walk through the trail around the forest.

Return to the Discovery and get ready for the ship’s convoy for our southbound canal passage. The Discovery will complete its full Panama Canal transit on its way to the Pacific Ocean. Navigate the Gaillard Cut, the narrowest section of the Panama Canal, bisecting the Continental Divide. At Pedro Miguel Locks and Miraflores Locks, the Discovery will be lowered 85 feet back to sea level in the Pacific. You will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience up close the history and operation of this engineering marvel. (B, L, D)

Day 5
Darien Jungle

Step aboard a time machine and travel back more than 600 years to a place that not many have had the privilege of experiencing. More than an excursion, this is a journey into the lives of the Embera Indians. A proud people who have been able to maintain their traditions and lifestyle as they were before the Spaniards colonized the region. These natives are also master crafters of cocobolo woodcarvings and basketry. After motoring up the river, you will see the village emerging from the jungle, as if by magic. Keep your eyes open along the way as the region offers abundant wildlife that is particularly active along the river’s edge. (B, L, D)

Day 6
Pearl Islands

Snorkel, kayak, paddle and swim in the waters of the Pearl Islands. The archipelago owes its name to the abundance of pearl oysters, which supported a substantial fishery in the early 1900s. On the outer portion of the archipelago, the islands are home to some pristine beaches and fertile fishing grounds. (B, L, D)

Day 7
Panama City - Flamenco Marina

Wake up to a farewell breakfast before you disembark the Discovery. Our motor coach will take you to the hotel of your choice. (B)

What’s Included

Food
  • Included Copy 20 All meals and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) onboard the ship.
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Snorkelling and kayaking equipment
  • Included Copy 20 Transfers of passengers to and from the ship.
  • Included Copy 20 Transportation, shore excursions, and the use of equipment.
  • Included Copy 20 Taxes and port charges.
Transportation
MS Discovery

24 Passengers

Activities

  • Included Snorkelling in the Pearl Islands
  • Included Kayaking in the Pearl Islands
  • Included Wildlife watching in the Gatun Lake
  • Included Onland excursions
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

7 days

Price from

$4,150 USD

Per person, twin share

Select Date
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