The Panama Canal is one of the wonders of the modern world – cruise up and over Central America between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Panama Canal cruises travel between Miami and Los Angeles or San diego or the reverse, calling at Southern Caribbean, Central American and west coast Mexican ports en route. There are some Caribbean cruises that will include a partial transit of the canal as far as Gatun Lake.
Canal cruises out of Miami will call at Aruba or Curacao in the Dutch Antilles, colourful Jamaica, colonial Cartagena in Columbia and the San Blas Islands off Panama. Some may vist Cozumel on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
The Panama Canal provides one of cruising’s most unforgettable experiences – an all-day 51 mile crossing with commentary up and over Central America between Colon in the Caribbean and Panama City on the Pacific. ‘The Big Ditch’ lifts your vessel by a fascinating feat of mechanics aided by on-shore ‘mule’ locomotives through three great locks, traversing man-made lakes, channels blasted through rock, and the dense jungle.
Cruising the Pacific coast to or from the Panama Canal you will probably call at the fun resorts of Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco in Mexico. Further south, Puntarenas is the gateway to San Jose and the tropical rainforests and mountains of Costa Rica. From Puerto Quetzal you can visit the classic Mayan ruins of Guatemala.
WHEN TO CRUISE?
Cruising is concentrated on the northern winter season between October and April.
The weather gets warmer as you travel south and it is the dry season in Central America with temperatures around 30C.