Navigating the Panama Canal is one of the most exclusive travel experiences that exist, offering vacationers an up-close and personal view of Central America's main engineering wonder. However, crossing the 50-mile canal only takes an average of 8 to 10 hours, leaving travelers with a lot of free time. Fortunately, the journey from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean (or vice versa) is packed with extraordinary destinations to explore. Before you book your visit to the Canal, it's essential to know how to stay safe throughout your trip.
Panama is generally considered to be a safe place to visit, but there are certain areas that should be avoided. Colón and certain neighborhoods of Panama City have a greater presence of gangs, so it's best to steer clear of these areas. Additionally, infants aged 6 to 11 months traveling abroad should receive 1 dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine before traveling. In general, it's wise to be more careful in Panama due to crime and take precautions on the streets of major cities and at dusk.
Keep an eye on the weather. The peak Panama Canal cruise season lasts from October to April, but tourists who enjoy the warm weather can find affordable deals during the summer months. However, it's important to note that many cruise lines are closed in anticipation of the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 in the Atlantic and from May 15 to November 30 in the Eastern Pacific.
Leave your expensive personal items in your cabin.
It's also a good idea to have a car to explore the surrounding mountains, but you can also go on excursions if you don't have a vehicle. Most full-transit Panama Canal cruises stop on both sides of the isthmus, allowing travelers to visit places in the western Caribbean, such as Limon and Cartagena, along with destinations on the Pacific side such as Puntarenas, San Juan del Sur and Acapulco. The Panama Canal is truly a bridge between worlds, connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans through its 50-mile stretch. It is one of the most incredible man-made landforms in the world and offers an unforgettable experience for travelers.
However, it's important to remember that there are parts of this country that should be avoided due to crime and rebel groups. Navigating the Panama Canal is an amazing experience that should be enjoyed safely. Be sure to research areas that should be avoided before booking your trip and take necessary precautions while exploring this incredible destination.