TOUR DESCRIPTION From Spanish conquistadors to gold rush adventurers. On the Trans-Isthmian Route find yourself in the most interesting historical journey in Panama. You will be traversing Panama from South to North on the historical Panama Canal Railway, exploring the forts at San Lorenzo, admire the new Agua Clara Locks from the visitor platform (Panama Canal Expansion) and return back to Panama City over land.
4+ persons: US$215 per person + 7% tax
2-3 persons: US$335 per person + 7% tax
Prices are subject to transfers to/from Tocumen Airport, however, since the Panama Canal Railway departs early morning it is recommended to stay the night prior in Panama City in order to take this tour. Drop off fee at Tocumen Airport is US$35 per person plus 7% tax.
INCLUDES Bilingual naturalist guide, boxed breakfast, lunch, entrance fees to San Lorenzo and the Panama Canal Expansion observation center, train fare, transportation from/to your hotel in Panama City (please note that a $35 per person roundtrip surcharge based on 2+ persons must be added to day tours beginning and/or ending at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, Canopy Tower, Playa Bonita or hotels near Tocumen Airport)
DISCLAIMER Prices and itineraries are correct at the time of printing, however they are subject to change due to weather or local conditions, availabilities or factors beyond our control.
Early morning pick up at your hotel lobby by an Ancon Expeditions of Panama guide. You will be transferred to the Corozal Train Station in the former Panama Canal Zone.
Take the Panama Canal train to Colon City. The railway follows a similar route as the original train built to transport gold prospectors, the 49ers, in the mid to late 1800s coming from the east coast of the United States across the Isthmus of Panama to continue their journey by steamboat to California. The route was diverted when Gatun Lake was formed to give way to the Panama Canal. The train will take you along the magnificent waterway flanked by the exuberant rainforests of Soberania National Park. After the one hour train ride, you will have crossed the continent from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. From Colon City, you will drive west over the Panama Canal to San Lorenzo National Park for wildlife viewing opportunities, including Howler monkeys, Two and Three-toed sloths, Coatimundi, Keel-billed and Chestnut-mandible toucans among others. Reach the Castle of San Lorenzo, at the mouth of the Chagres River. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this Spanish colonial bastion completed in 1601 served to fortify and protect the river entrance to Las Cruces Trail that led to Panama City on the Pacific Ocean and was later also used as the port of entry for gold diggers on their way to California during the second half of the 19th century.
Enjoy lunch at the Shelter Bay Marina then continue to the Panama Canal visitors’ center at Agua Clara Locks. Opened in 2016 the locks are part of the Panama Canal expansion. The US$5.25 billion project included, among other tasks, dredging work on both ends of the canal and the route itself in order to increase water depth and the straightening of bends along the route that will allow larger ships to transit through the canal. The most important aspect of the project, however, was the building of two new sets of locks, one at each terminus of the canal, which will increase the waterway’s capacity to move cargo from one ocean to the other by 50% within the next 15 years and will allow the passage of bigger ships (almost 3 times the capacity of the largest size vessels that can cross the old locks. The new locks accommodate Neopanamax ships that can carry up to 14,000 containers. A ship with this capacity pays an average of US$850,000.00 in toll fees to cross the Panama Canal. The new locks were designed to reuse up to 60% of the fresh water that would flow into the ocean by using recycling water basins.
Return to your hotel back in Panama City by road enjoying the views of the countryside.
- 6:00 a.m. Approximate pick up time at your hotel in Panama City (depending on your hotel location)
- 10 hours Approximate tour duration
- This tour operates on non-holiday weekdays due to the train’s schedule. The tour may be offered on weekends and holidays without the train ride.
- Binoculars (available for rent at Ancon Expeditions of Panama)
- Cap or hat
- Sunscreen lotion
- Insect Repellant
- Light clothing
- Light raincoat
- Good traction footwear
Ancon Expeditions is Panama’s top eco-tourism operator. Our Natural & Cultural History Guides are the country's finest. Due to frequently asked questions from our clients about suggested guide & staff gratuities, we would like to provide you with the following universal tipping guidelines:
- Day tour guide: US$10.00 per person/day
- Tour driver: US$5.00 per person/day
"Alfredo & our trip were excellent!!! ***** Will rate later on Trip Advisor! Carlos excellent driver. Site spectacular. Alfredo extremely knowledgeable & freely shared. Thank you!! Pat".
Patricia Jernigan, USA
"Monday's tour to Portobelo, Colon, the Canal extension and the Panama Canal Railway train back to the city was very good. Our guide, really helped to make it a good experience. He has lots of knowledge about the history of the areas and about Panama. Everything was excellent.....and we had a very good driver, too. Also, thank you for finding others to do the tour with us. Their company was appreciated, for sure."
Deborah Connors, USA
“Abdiel, our guide was superb! Good humor, very knowledgeable, and could not have done a better job. Absolutely fantastic...as was Edgar our many-hatted driver. We had an exceptional tour and clearly, I would use Ancon Expeditions of Panama again.”
“Very informative guide who made sure to tell us about the local history of the places we visited.”
Kelly Carey, USA