Travel notes: Experiencing the Panama Canal from both ship and shore


The Panama Canal is an engineering feat amazing for its time. Begun by the French in 1881, the 50-mile-long canal route suffered numerous setbacks, and was finally completed by the U.S. in 1914. Today the Panama Canal continues to be a true marvel to experience, both on a ship cruising through it and from shore excursions along it.

The canal was long a “must-do” on my travel list. Originally, I thought I’d want to take a ship that cruised the entire canal’s length between its Caribbean/Atlantic and Pacific coasts. However, I opted for a cruise that entered from the Caribbean side, went into Lake Gatun and then returned through the same set of three locks. 

The advantage: from Lake Gatun, I could go ashore by small boat and then…

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