Panama Canal Cruise Ports & Shore Excursions
A visit to the Panama Canal port region holds much for guests to see and do. Full of history, lush jungles to explore, and the famous Panama Canal Locks! Your cruise will also include some incredible port visits as well so make sure to explore them on one of our unique and selected Panama Canal Cruise Excursions.
If your cruise begins in California, you should stop at some of the Mexican Rivera's great ports whether it's trendy Cabo San Lucas or more traditional ports of call like Chiapas. Central America gems may include lush Costa Rica or volcanic Guatemala. On the Caribbean side, no Panama canal cruise is complete without a visit to Cartagena's Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and other exciting Cruise Excursions along the Panama Canal cruise itineraries. Some cruise ships travel through the canal re-positioning between Alaska and the Caribbean. All our Central America and Panama Canal Shore Excursions are operated by professional and reputable cruise excursion operators and include some of the best sightseeing, adventure, and relaxation excursions!
Puerto Limon is Costa Rica's biggest Caribbean coastal city. Columbus first anchored off the city's coast back in 1502. If you are looking for adventure and exploration types of Shore Excursions, you will enjoy visiting this port. With its tropical rainforest climate, you will be spoiled by the biodiversity and wildlife. The Gatun Locks where you can see cruise ships enter the Panama Canal are one of the main sights to see when in port. With surrounding islands such as the UNESCO site of Cocos Island where Jurassic Park was filmed, the coastal scenery is spectacular. Scuba divers will enjoy great coral reef excursions!
Costa Rica's largest city on the Pacific coast is Puntarenas. The city has a down-to-earth charm. The Montverde area to the north has a biological reserve with picturesque trails, hanging bridges, and butterfly and frog exhibits. The city itself has many great attractions. Visit the historic marine museum with audiovisual presentations. Take a look at local culture in La Casa de la Cultura art gallery. The Puntarenas Marine Park itself includes an aquarium with manta rays. The green jungles offer lots to explore in both Costa Rica ports with ziplining and river boating both very popular activities.
Guatemala's largest Pacific port, Quetzal handles both cargo ships and cruise ships. City streets are dotted with marimba bands and colorful ethnic buildings. In the distance, you will see breathtaking volcanic landscapes and various coffee estates. The famous city of Antigua is approximately 90 minutes from your cruise pier. It is the former capital of Guatemala and is now a Unesco Heritage site. You can visit La Merced church with its Spanish Colonial architecture. The town will charm you with its folklore and cultural traditions. Nearby you can visit the Pacaya Volcano. Take off to Kawilal Hot Springs for some relaxation. Enjoy the culture of Lake Atitlan with its Maya traditions. There are 3 volcanoes here and the locals speak over 21 Maya languages, there are plenty of cruise excursions to be explored!
Lying within 13km of colonial stone walls is the old town of Cartagena, Columbia. Now a UNESCO Heritage site, explore this historic city decorated with colorful bougainvillea, churches, and cobbled alleys. The old town itself is easily accessible on foot or if you prefer, take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the historic district of Las Murallas with a guide. Head to the Fuerte de San Fernando and "La Popa" famously the highest point of Cartagena with its convent and pretty flower-filled patio. Abundant with history and culture, do not miss the Castillo de San Felipe fortress. If you are looking for something off the beaten path, then discover La Boquilla fishing village where you can canoe through mangroves and observe the local wildlife.
The southern Mexican port of Chiapas offers more than what at first meets the eye. Situated near the Guatemalan border enjoy the colorful and friendly ambiance. Local banana plantations and the volcano of Tacana can be seen on your route departing the main pier. From September to December, locals and cruise ship visitors enjoy the coffee-picking season. Another popular attraction is the Izapa ruins of Mayan and Olmec times. Journey on to the city of Tuxtla Chico known as the Chocolate City and the attraction of Mi Pueblito where you can observe women turn cacao beans into chocolate! Various mangrove tours to see productive ecosystems will allow you to explore local flora and fauna as well as tropical birds.
Situated on Panama's Caribbean coast, Colon was founded by Americans in 1850 as a railroad outpost for the great gold rush demand. Visit the historic landmark of Christ Church by the sea, the oldest Episcopal Church in Central America in the heart of the city. There is also the Catholic Church of Columbus Cathedral to explore. Various statues to both visit and photograph near the seawall include the statue of Christopher Columbus and the Aspinwall monument.
Twenty miles from Panama City on the Pacific coast is the port of Fuerte Amador, Panama. Influenced by the French, there are some fascinating sites worth visiting including Panama City itself. The city boasts an Interoceanic Canal Museum, a museum of Biodiversity, and Smithsonian tropical research institutes. The famous Miraflores Locks where you can see cruise ships enter the Panama Canal from the Pacific side is a popular attraction. For those looking for cultural sites, take a visit to Teatro Nacional, Plaza de la Cathedral and Palacio de las Garzas. Enjoy the historic city center of Casco Viejo with various museums, ruins, and churches. Take in the Parque Natural Metropolitano National Park and rainforest.
With duty-free shopping in Panama, guests will surely find bargains and souvenirs - US dollars are taken everywhere! The climate in the Panama Canal region is typically humid and especially in the rainforests, guests can expect showers. Moderate temperatures make getting out to explore very nice. Today, the canal has approximately 14,000 vessels a year in transit. In 2007, work began on a project to enlarge the canal. Plans for further expansion are already underway.
Check out our Cruise Excursions for Panama Canal cruise itineraries and enjoy your adventures and experiences on shore with Shore Excursioneer Excursions!