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Best time to visit Panama

Panama Canal Cruises

Experience "the Crossroads of the World" connecting the Pacific and Atlantic


Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen
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The Panama Canal is a bucket list experience for cruise enthusiasts. The engineering marvel, that connects two oceans, celebrated its centennial jubilee in 2014 and still remains one of the greatest man-made transport achievements. The canal elevates each vessel 85 feet (26 m) up, so it can pass swiftly from the Atlantic to the Pacific or in the opposite direction. In addition to passing the canal itself, Panama Canal cruises allow their guests to experience beautiful beaches, lush tropical rainforests, and unique destinations, such as Soberania National Park.

When is the best time for a Panama Canal cruise

The cruise season in Panama Canal generally coincides with the dry season and lasts from October to April. October is still considered to be a rainy month, but you can also count on bargains during this time. January and February are considered to be the best months to travel through the Panama Canal, as the weather is not so hot and humid during this time in the tropical countries of Central America. This is the best time for hiking, wildlife watching, or kayaking. March and April offer higher temperatures, which best suit those who are looking for a beach experience.

Panama Canal Cruise routes

The classic Panama Canal cruise experience features a 14-day itinerary from Florida to California or vice versa. Cruise ships usually depart from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco, making stops in the Caribbean, Colombia, or Mexico. Longer cruises start in Seattle or Vancouver. The 40-mile Panama Canal crossing usually takes a full day.

Another popular option is Partial Crossing cruise, when the vessel goes through just one lock of the canal and then lets the passengers out in Gamboa or Colon to enjoy the day on the shore. Both partial transit and full transit cruises cruises stop at the islands of Western Caribbean.

Popular ports also include Limon on the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica and Puntarenas on the Pacific Coast. Passengers can visit Costa Rica's renowned rain forests and La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Puerto Quetzal, on the Western Coast of Guatemala, boasts excursions to UNESCO-listed Antigua, famous for its architecture and ruins, the active Pacaya Volcano and Lake Atitlan.

Panama Canal cruises are usually priced between $1,000 and $3,500, depending on the length. Such a cruise is an epic tropical adventure that will surely leave plenty of memories!

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