The Panama Canal is undoubtedly one of the wonders of the modern world – cruise between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean. Panama Canal cruises travel between Miami and Los Angeles / San Diego, or otherwise the reverse, calling at the Southern Caribbean, Central American and West Coast Mexican ports en route. Some Caribbean cruises will include just a partial transit of the canal as far as Gatun Lake.
Cruises from Miami will call at Aruba or Curacao in the Dutch Antilles, colourful Jamaica, colonial Cartagena in Columbia and the San Blas Islands off Panama. What’s more, some may visit Cozumel on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
The Panama Canal provides one of cruising’s altogether most unforgettable experiences – an all-day 51 mile crossing between Colon in the Caribbean and Panama City on the Pacific. ‘The Big Ditch’ lifts your vessel by a amazing feat of mechanics coupled with on-shore ‘mule’ locomotives through three great locks, crossing man-made lakes, channels blasted through rock, and the dense jungle.
Cruising the Pacific coast to or from the Panama Canal you will generally call at Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco in Mexico. Further south, Puntarenas is the gateway to San Jose and the rainforests and mountains of Costa Rica. From Puerto Quetzal you can visit the Mayan ruins in Guatemala.
When to Visit?
Cruises mainly visit in the northern winter season from October to April when the weather gets warmer as you travel south and it is the dry season in Central America.