Navigating the Panama Canal is one of the most exclusive travel experiences that exist, offering vacationers a unique and personal view of Central America's engineering marvel. With an average transit time of 8 to 10 hours, according to the Panama Canal Authority, travelers have plenty of free time to explore the area. From the pristine beaches of Isla Coiba to the lush rainforests of Chagres National Park, there are plenty of extraordinary destinations to discover. But what about making your tour more educational? Read on for our expert tips on how to make your Panama Canal cruise an educational experience. Before you embark on your journey, it's important to do some research.
Read a book, watch a documentary, attend a conference, or read up on the canal online. If possible, visit the visitor center when you are docked in Panama before your transit. This will give you a better understanding of the canal's history and its importance in connecting two oceans. When you're on board, take advantage of the views from the bow of the ship. The Panama Canal is a fantastic cruise itinerary for travelers who want to spend a few more relaxing and peaceful days at sea, especially during full transit.
You can also learn about the canal's workflow and how it never stops. The workers work on Sundays on the Cucaracha slide and coal train operators and maintenance teams work all night. It's also important to keep in mind that many cruise lines (of all sizes and categories) offer trips through the Panama Canal every season (usually from October to April). However, as the hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 in the Atlantic and from May 15 to November 30 in the Eastern Pacific, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it's best to avoid traveling during this time. When you're in Panama, be sure to respect local customs and avoid discussing politics, religion, or the Panama Papers. Instead, take a ride on the Panama Canal Railroad which connects Panama City to Colón and extends from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean with this 76-kilometer (47-mile) panoramic route.
You can also learn about how engineers designed the channel's workflow so that it never stopped and how they improved facilities for workers. Finally, if you're looking for affordable deals during your trip, consider visiting some lesser-known destinations. You'll be rewarded with better food, incredible tourist-free landscapes and lower prices.