THE PATH BETWEEN THE SEAS
4 days / 3 nights
TOUR DESCRIPTION This short adventure covers the highlights of the Panama Canal in 4 days from Thursday to Sunday. Starting your daily excursions from the Country Inn & Suites Amador, located right at the entrance of the Panama Canal with amazing views to the America´s Bridge, you will visit the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center, Ancon Hill with look out platforms over the Bay area, Panama Canal port on the Pacific and the city skyline, the Panama Canal Expansion site on the new Gatun Visitor Center near Colon, take on a 1-hour ride on the historical Panama Railway along the Panama Canal from Colon to Panama City, and experience the Panama Canal´s operation by yourself on the Partial Panama Canal Transit that takes you on a 250 passenger cruise through 2 of the 3 lock sets. The biggest wonders of the Panama Canal in only a few days, this is the way to go!
PRICE US$835 per person + 7% tax (double occupancy) for 4+ persons; US$1,035 per person + 7% tax (double occupancy) for 2-3 persons - Additional price for single occupancy: US$240 + 7% tax. Consult us for additional nights.
INCLUDED Lodging, meals as specified in the itinerary (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch), all land, air and water transportation within Panama, all airport/hotel transfers on scheduled arrival and departure dates, local guides´services and expenses, park and related entrance fees, services of an in-bound land operator for airline re-confirmations and tour operations.
NOT INCLUDED International airfare, meals not specified in the itinerary, alcoholic beverages, personal equipment, gratuities and extras in hotels.
DISCLAIMER Prices and itineraries are correct at the time of printing, however they are subject to change due to tidal/weather or local conditions, availabilities or factors beyond our control. Itinerary runs on frequent departure dates from Thursday-Sunday in order to be able to include all the services indicated in the description.
Day 1 - THURSDAY
Arrival to Panama
Arrive to Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport.
Outside Customs you will be met by an Ancon Expeditions of Panama representative for your private transfer to your hotel located at the entrance of the Panama Canal.
3 Nights at the Country Inn & Suites Amador, Panama Canal (Canal View room)
Day 2 - FRIDAY
Panama Canal – The Path Between the Seas
This morning you will be picked up from your hotel lobby by an Ancon Expeditions of Panama guide. The day will start with an introduction to the Panama Canal from the top of Ancon Hill from where you will enjoy impressive views of the Pacific Ocean’s entrance to the canal, the mega port of Balboa, Miraflores locks and Panama City. From Ancon Hill you will drive to the Panama Canal visitors’ center at Miraflores for an up-close view of the locks operation. Here you will see how ships in transit are raised and lowered in a system of locks chambers which has been operating in pretty much the same way for 100 years since the canal was inaugurated on August 15, 1914. The visitors’ center has a state of the art museum with exhibits depicting aspects related to the Panama Canal’s history, its engineering, its contribution to world commerce and communication and about the waterway’s current expansion project which is due to be completed in the first half of 2015.
You continue on a drive across the Isthmus of Panama to the Caribbean province of Colon. The drive is 80 kilometers long. In about 1 hour you will have crossed the continent, from ocean to ocean, for a tour of the Panama Canal’s expansion works in Gatun where you start out with lunch.
From the vantage point of an observation deck you will have the opportunity of viewing the assembly of one of the new sets of locks being built as part of the project. The US$5.25 billion project includes, among other tasks, dredging works 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, is 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 Panamax, the largest size vessels currently transiting through the canal). An astonishing 4.2 billion cubic meters of structural concrete are currently being poured in the excavations where the new locks will be operating soon. You will experience history in the making as the Panama Canal projections call for another 100 years of successful operation using the new technology that will be implemented.
The return to Panama City will be aboard the Panama Canal Railroad train. 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 an approximately one hour train ride you will arrive at Corozal Station in Panama City and will then be transferred to your hotel early evening.
Night at COUNTRY INN & SUITES AMADOR
Day 3 - SATURDAY
Panama Canal – Partial Transit & Casco Viejo French Quarter
This morning you will be picked up from the hotel by your private guide for a 45 minute drive to the town of Gamboa, site of the Panama Canal's Dredging Division, where you will board a small (250 passenger) ferry. At this point the boat will be on Gatun Lake, 26 meters above sea level. Today’s canal transit will be southbound and soon the ferry will be traversing Gaillard Cut, the narrowest section of the Panama Canal. The 13.7-kilometer long portion of the waterway was carved through rock and shale over 100 years ago and it is flanked by the backbones of the Continental Divide. The original width of Gaillard Cut was 92 meters. The Panama Canal Authority recently completed the monumental task of widening the Cut to 192 meters in straight sections and up to 222 meters along the curves. This allows for unrestricted two-way traffic of Panamax vessels, the largest ships that fit in the Panama Canal locks today. Continuing south the first lock set that you cross is Pedro Miguel, where the ship is lowered 9 meters. While enjoying your lunch on board, you will pass through Miraflores Locks, which are the tallest in the locks system due to the extreme tidal variation of the Pacific Ocean. In two steps, the ship will be lowered 17 meters to sea level in the almost 2-kilometer long lock set. Here, a transition from fresh water from the lake to salt water in the Pacific Ocean takes place in the lock chambers. Before leaving the Panama Canal and entering the Pacific Ocean you will sail under the bridge of the Americas, which reunites the land divided by the Panama Canal forming a link on the Pan-American Highway. You will disembark at Flamenco Marina in Amador, a former US Navy base established for the protection of the canal.
This afternoon you will visit Casco Viejo, Panama City’s colonial section. Established in 1671 after pirate Henry Morgan attacked and burned down the city’s original location, Casco Viejo is undergoing a major revamping. Walk the cobblestone streets while admiring landmarks such as the Flat Arch Church, who some claim it played a role in the decision on building a transoceanic canal through Panama, the Presidential Palace, which once was a Customs storage facility for the Spanish Crown, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the French Plaza, dedicated to France’s attempt to build a canal through Panama in the late 1800s.
Night at COUNTRY INN & SUITES AMADOR
Day 4 - SUNDAY
This morning you will be picked up from the hotel’s lobby for a transfer to Tocumen Airport.
B (Breakfast), L (Lunch)– meals included
- Very easy walking and hiking, for all ages, flat trails with non-slippery terrain.
- Accommodations comfortable
available on any dates (subject to hotel and tour availability)
This special itinerary is offered on a Thursday to Sunday basis since canal transits are offered on a limited basis and the train only operates on weekdays.
The exact pick up times for each tour or travel day will be provided upon your arrival to Panama in a welcome letter. Please make sure to follow that itinerary.
WHAT TO BRING
- Binoculars (preferably 7x35 or bigger, also available for rent at Ancon Expeditions of Panama)
- Camera with extra batteries & film
- Hat, Day pack / dry sack
- Water bottle
- Lightweight/quick dry cotton clothes
- Rain gear, Windbreaker
- Insect repellant, Sunscreen
- Sandals, sneakers
- Money in small denominations
- Toiletries & personal medications
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:
- Naturalist guide/Tour leader: US$10.00-US$20.00 per person/day
- Day tour guide: US$10.00 per person/day
- Transfer driver: US$2.00 per person
- Tour driver: US$5.00 per person/day
- Tour boat driver: US$5.00 per person/day
- Hotel bellman: US$1.00 per person per suitcase
- International airport bellmen (red caps): US$1.00 per piece of suitcase
COUNTRY INN & SUITES AMADOR
This hotel is located at the beginning of the Causeway Amador, where you can experience and enjoy the grandest view of the entrance to The Panama Canal, the Pacific Ocean, of every ship that travels the Canal, and of the Bridge of the America's, which spans the entrance. All of the 255 rooms have AC, TV, security safe, ironing board, balcony, Garden or Panama Canal view and wireless Internet access is complimentary. TGI Friday´s is the just adjacent to the hotel. Within walking distance you will have a stunning view of Panama City, charming restaurants and cafés, bike rental shops. The city center, shopping malls are just within 10min taxi ride and the Tocumen International Airport around 30min from the hotel.
Address: Fort Amador & Pelicano Avenue, Panama City
Phone: +(507) 211-4500
Fax: +(507) 211-4501
Check in: 3:00 p.m.
Check out: 12:00 p.m.
soon to come...