An Adventure of a Lifetime – The Panama Canal
In past years, the highlight of a Panama Canal cruise usually came while lounging in a deck chair transiting the locks and listening to historical facts about the canal being broadcast over the ship’s PA system. Oh how things have changed. Today’s passenger transiting the canal can really get up and go by taking advantage of several adventurous excursions ranging from helicopter rides over the canal to an outrigger canoe tour of Puntarenas.
For example, a helicopter excursion may only last 20 minutes but it will give you the view and thrill of a lifetime. These fully narrated flights take you over the town site of Gatun with the locks on one side and the U.S. Military base of Fort Davis on the other. Next, you’ll fl y over the large container terminals in Cristobal and the city of Colon. You’ll then head west across the tropical rain forest to the ruins of the Spanish Fort San Lorenzo.
Finally, it’s up to the Chagres River at treetop height, back over the Gatun Spillway Dam and around your ship for photos that will last a lifetime. If being airborne isn’t your thing, then maybe it’s time to get back to the water with an outrigger canoe excursion of Puntarenas. This tour combines the beauty of the Pacific Ocean, and the fun of a kayak aboard a U.S. Coast Guard-approved outrigger canoe. The half-day program allows you to enjoy the secluded beaches and coves on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. As you help paddle along, you’ll glide past spectacular cliffs and land on secluded beaches offering some of the best snorkeling found on the Central Pacific Coast.
The menu of options doesn't stop there. Take a luxury train ride or a Miraflores Locks experience offered at night. When the ship docks at Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, take a rain forest canopy aerial tramway, hop on the pontoon jungle ride or just relax at a hacienda.
Although travelers can visit Panama at anytime of year, the dry season, which runs from
Mid-December to Mid-April, is generally considered to be the best time to travel and this is
when most cruise lines sail there.