Miami of the South
Taking a cruise through the Panama Canal on your way to/from other destinations is one of the most common ways tourists have gotten to know Panama. A fascinating and educational visit that can be enjoyed by many, canal transit for is a great way visitors to explore Panama’s beautiful waterways and enjoy sights not possible from the shore. Plenty of tours and packages are available for extended breaks around the Pacific and Caribbean, but Panama City offers a unique experience of a cruise holiday on the world famous Panama Canal.
The Panama Canal, nearing its 100th year anniversary, is Panama’s most popular tourist attraction. The best way to experience the canal is in a cruise onboard the Pacific Queen. During your transit, you will have the unique opportunity to see the Canal up close in operation. Tours start at the Panama Canal Dredging Division in Gamboa, located at the north end of the Gaillard Cut, where the Chagres River flows into the Canal. The Gaillard Cut (also known as Culebra Cut because its curves resemble a snake) is one of the main points of interest for visitors because it was carved through the Continental Divide and this section of the Canal is full of history and geological value. Panama’s cruise vessels travel the Cut's 13.7 km on the way to Pedro Miguel Locks, offering a range of deals to suit every taste and budget. As you transit the Cut you will be able to appreciate the continuous maintenance that this area requires, because it is very susceptible to landslides. Before reaching the Pedro Miguel Locks at the southern end of the Cut, you will be able to view the new Centennial Bridge which crosses over the Canal.
Next, your vessel will enter Pedro Miguel Locks, which is one of the two sets of locks on the Pacific side, and here the vessel is lowered 9 meters in one step. You will then enter Miraflores Lake, which is a small artificial body of fresh water that separates Pedro Miguel from Miraflores Locks, the latter being the final set of locks before reaching the Pacific Ocean. At Miraflores Locks the vessel is lowered 18 meters in two distinct steps.
Once in the Pacific Ocean the vessel will sail to the beautiful Flamenco Marina where passengers disembark. On the way to Flamenco, you will pass under the Bridge of the Americas, and later, you will be able to admire the Bay of Panama and Panama City's splendorous skyline. So whether you choose to a cruise holiday along Panama’s world-famous Canal or fancy an extended break on the nearby Pacific or Carribean, Panama City is a great destination full of delights.