TOUR DESCRIPTION From Spanish conquistadors to gold rush adventurers. On the Trans-Isthmian Route find yourself in the most interesting historical journey in Panama. You will be traversing Panama from South to North by road, exploring the forts at San Lorenzo, admire the new Agua Clara Locks from the visitor platform (Panama Canal Expansion) and enjoy the Panama Railway train ride from Colon to Panama City on the return.
4+ persons: US$215 per person + 7% tax
2-3 persons: US$335 per person + 7% tax
INCLUDES Bilingual naturalist guide, lunch, entrance fees to San Lorenzo and the Panama Canal Expansion observation center, train fare, transportation from/to your hotel in Panama City (please note that a $35 per person roundtrip surcharge based on 2+ persons must be added to day tours beginning and/or ending at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, Canopy Tower, Intercontinental Playa Bonita Resort or hotels near Tocumen Airport)
DISCLAIMER Prices and itineraries are correct at the time of printing, however they are subject to change due to weather or local conditions, availabilities or factors beyond our control.
This morning you will be picked up at your hotel lobby by an Ancon Expeditions of Panama guide. You will be transferred across the Isthmus of Panama to the Caribbean province of Colon. The drive is 80 kilometers long. In about 1 hour you will have crossed the continent, from ocean to ocean. Once in Colon you drive over the Panama Canal at Gatun Locks and reach the Castle of San Lorenzo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built at the mouth of the Chagres River, this Spanish bastion served to fortify and protect the river entrance to Las Cruces Trail that led to Panama City on the Pacific Ocean and was later also used as the port of entry for gold diggers on their way to California during the second half of the 19th century. You will be traveling through lush rainforest within San Lorenzo National Park, where you might have the opportunity to see monkeys, Two and Three-toed sloths, Coatimundi, toucans and other wildlife.
You will head for lunch at the Shelter Bay Marina then continue to the visitor center at the new Agua Clara Locks on the Atlantic side which are part of the Panama Canal expansion, inaugurated on June 26, 2016. The US$5.25 billion project included, among other tasks, dredging works on both ends of the canal and the route itself in order to increase water depth and the straightening of bends along the route that will allow larger ships to transit through the canal. The most important aspect of the project, however, was the building of two new sets of locks, one at each terminus of the canal, which will increase the waterway’s capacity to move cargo from one ocean to the other by 50% within the next 15 years and will allow the passage of bigger ships (almost 3 times the capacity of the largest size vessels that can cross the old locks. The new locks accommodate neopanamax ships that can carry up to 14,000 containers. A ship with this capacity pays approximately US$850,000.00 in toll fees to cross the Panama Canal. The new locks were designed to reuse up to 60% of the fresh water that would flow into the ocean by using recycling water basins.
The return to Panama City will be aboard the Panama Canal Railroad train. The railway follows a similar route as the original train built to transport gold prospectors, the 49ers, in the mid to late 1800s coming from the east coast of the United States across the Isthmus of Panama to continue their journey by steamboat to California. The route was diverted when Gatun Lake was formed to give way to the Panama Canal. The train will take you along the magnificent waterway, flanked by the exuberant rainforests of Soberania National Park. After a one hour train ride you will arrive at Corozal Station in Panama City and transferred to your hotel in the city.
- 9:00 a.m. Approximate pick up time at your hotel in Panama City (depending on your hotel location)
- 9 hours Approximate tour duration
- This tour operates on non-holiday weekdays due to the train’s schedule. The tour may be offered on weekends and holidays without the train ride.
WHAT TO BRING
- Binoculars (available for rent at Ancon Expeditions of Panama)
- Cap or hat
- Sunscreen lotion
- Insect Repellant
- Light clothing
- Light raincoat
- Good traction footwear
Ancon Expeditions is Panama’s top eco-tourism operator. Our Natural & Cultural History Guides are the country's finest. Due to frequently asked questions from our clients about suggested guide & staff gratuities, we would like to provide you with the following universal tipping guidelines:
- Day tour guide: US$10.00 per person/day
- Tour driver: US$5.00 per person/day
"Monday's tour to Portobelo, Colon, the Canal extension and the Panama Canal Railway train back to the city was very good. Our guide, really helped to make it a good experience. He has lots of knowledge about the history of the areas and about Panama. Everything was excellent.....and we had a very good driver, too. Also, thank you for finding others to do the tour with us. Their company was appreciated, for sure."
Deborah Connors, USA
“Abdiel, our guide was superb! Good humor, very knowledgeable, and could not have done a better job. Absolutely fantastic...as was Edgar our many-hatted driver. We had an exceptional tour and clearly, I would use Ancon Expeditions of Panama again.”
“Very informative guide who made sure to tell us about the local history of the places we visited.”
Kelly Carey, USA