Last updated: 23 June, 2023
Sailing through the Panama Canal is a lifetime dream for many and never disappoints; it’s an incredible feat of engineering and an experience for which you’ll want to be on deck as much as possible.
A transit of the canal could be part of any number of itineraries and on any size of ship. But one way to get deeper into the culture and contrasts of Panama is to join a cruise that includes the canal combined with a voyage along either the country’s Pacific or Caribbean coasts, as well as neighbouring Costa Rica.
This route combines the excitement of the canal with the rainforests and islands of the Pacific coast of both countries, with further contrast in Panama’s atmospheric Casco Viejo, the old heart of what’s now an ultra-modern city.
On the Pacific coast, you’ll snorkel off pristine islands among tropical fish and sea turtles, trek through dense rainforest, monkeys in the trees and scarlet macaws flying overhead, and on the most adventurous voyages, venture into Panama’s Darien rainforest to visit the Embera tribe.
On the Caribbean side of the canal, the San Blas islands, or Guna Yala, offer incredible snorkelling and diving off tiny, uninhabited sand spits – a true desert island setting.