Panama Canal Rainforest Boat Adventure & Miraflores Locks (Shore Excursion)
You will be picked up at the cruise port in Panama City by your guide for a 45-50 minute transfer to Gamboa where the Chagres River meets the Panama Canal. Here you will board an expedition boat and depart on an adventure that will include a voyage across Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal passing by gigantic cargo ships transiting the waterway, contrasting with the natural surroundings. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to spot green iguanas and three-toed sloths resting on tree branches, crocodiles, and osprey in the hunt for peacock bass, snail kites and keel-billed toucans, among other wildlife.
Gatun Lake was formed to give way to the Panama Canal in 1914. With a surface of 423 square kilometers, at the time of its creation was the largest man-made lake in the world. The flow of all the rivers within the Panama Canal Watershed is contained in Gatun Lake to provide water for the operation of the lock system. More than 52 million gallons of fresh water are used for every ship that transits through the Panama Canal from one ocean to another. Your expedition boat will allow for close approximations to rainforest-covered islands (former hill tops) in Gatun Lake to search for white-faced capuchin, mantled howler monkeys, Central American spider monkeys, and Geoffrey’s tamarin. Enjoy the extraordinary views of the Panama Canal and the natural surroundings. Picnic lunch on the boat is included.
Continue on a 30-minute land transfer to the Panama Canal Visitors’ Center at Miraflores Locks where ships can be seen transiting the waterway from the lookout terrace above the locks. As part of the tour, you will also experience the IMAX 3D theater at Miraflores Visitor Center with the 45-minute documentary "Panama Canal: A Land Divided, A World United" narrated by Morgan Freeman. The film reveals not only its vast scope but also delves into the locks and mechanical operations and includes stunning shots of what it’s like boarding the giant ships sailing the Canal, and aerial views of Panama City and the Panama Railway. The film covers everything from the days when Conquistadores struggled through a water-soaked quagmire to the 19th-century French canal-digging debacle to the American engineering achievement that revolutionized shipping and tropical medicine. It's also about the visionary present, documenting the efforts to expand the 100-year-old waterway to accommodate Neopanamax ships. It concludes with a fusion of old and new Panama, its skyscrapers, and its culture.
On the way back to your cruise ship, you drive through the former Panama Canal Zone managed by the United States from 1903 to 1999. Old military bases have been turned into residential neighborhoods, universities, and one of the region's most important commerce hubs, combining airports, container ports, and cargo railways that support the Panama Canal operation.
Drop off at your cruise ship mid-afternoon.