VIP Tour of Miraflores Locks & Helicopter Flight over the Panama Canal (Shore excursion)
You will be picked up at the cruise port in Panama City by your guide for a 20-30-minute transfer to the Panama Canal. Today you will experience a 2-hour VIP tour at the Panama Canal Visitors’ Center at Miraflores Locks, where ships can be seen transiting the waterway from the lookout terrace above the locks. Your private guide from the Panama Canal Authority will give you a personalized tour with interesting background knowledge to help you better understand this engineering wonder. Make sure to wear closed shoes without heels, as you will be granted special access to the outside lock doors for a memorable photo in front of the control house.
As part of our 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 to board 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.
Continue to the nearby helipad, where you will meet your bilingual pilot guide. During the helicopter flight from the Pacific coast to the Caribbean Sea, you will fly over the entire Panama Canal, enjoying incredible aerial views of the east and west banks of Pacific Canal Locks: Miraflores, Pedro Miguel, and the Cocoli Locks. On this 1-hour flight, you will also observe the Borinquen Dam, the Centennial Bridge, the Culebra Cut, Gatun Lake, Gatun Dam, the Chagres River’s mouth on the Caribbean side of the isthmus, the Spanish Fort San Lorenzo (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Gatun Locks, and the Agua Clara Locks, which are part of the Panama Canal expansion project that was finished in 2016. Before returning to Panama City, you will enjoy impressive views of its skyline, historic neighborhoods, the Pacific Ocean entrance to the Panama Canal, and the Bridge of the Americas.
Upon landing, you will be transferred back to your cruise port.