Around 14,000 ships pass through the Panama Canal every year and the sight of them rising and falling through the locks is enthralling. You will make a partial transit of the canal to see it from the boat’s point of view. Whizz round the cosmopolitan capital, from its flashy contemporary business district to the fortified colonial quarter – the city narrates a colourful history of piracy and commerce.
Day 1: Transfer from Panama City airport to Hotel Metro: modern, mid-range accommodation close to shops and restaurants.
Day 2: Partial transit of the canal. By road to the Port of Balboa, passing under the Bridge of the Americas with views of Panama Bay and the city skyline. You'll reach Miraflores Locks, the tallest in the locks system; at this point vessels are raised 17m above sea level. Later, enter the Gaillard Cut where the Chagres river flows into the canal. The crossing provides a unique insight into one of the world's greatest engineering feats - including the creation of the largest man-made lake in the world, Gatún, where you disembark and return to your hotel.
Day 3: You have a guided tour to explore Panama City and revisit the Miraflores Locks. Begin with a visit to the ruins of Old Panama (Antigua Panama) - founded by the Spanish and later ravaged by the pirate Henry Morgan - and Casco Viejo, the 17th -19th century quarter. Pass through modern districts to Balboa, in the heart of the Canal Zone and on to Miraflores Locks. Here there’s a visitors' centre with displays of the history of the construction, the wildlife, and the modern economic context of the canal.
Continue your holiday or transfer back to the airport for your international flight.
UK clients arrive home the following day.
Breakfast daily, lunch day 2.