How to Pack for a Cruise to the Panama Canal

How to Pack for a Cruise to the Panama Canal
Numerous major cruise lines from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico take trips to the scenic Panama Canal. It is often one of many stops on a cruise route. During the cruise, individuals can enjoy Panama's sunny weather and sometimes disembark to explore Panama City itself. Pack the right items, from government-issued identification to season-appropriate clothing, to make your Panama Canal cruise adventure relaxing and comfortable.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Valid passport Weather- and activity-appropriate apparel U.S. cash Critical medication
  • Valid passport
  • Weather- and activity-appropriate apparel
  • U.S. cash
  • Critical medication
Step 1
Don't forget your passport. The passport should be valid for six months beyond your cruise's end date. Most Panama Canal cruise ship companies have a zero-tolerance policy on this as valid proof of citizenship is required for entrance into many of the countries along a cruise ship's journey. A passport is also essential to get back into the United States.
Step 2
Pack weather-appropriate apparel. Panama's daytime temperatures usually range from the mid-70s to the mid-80s F year round. If traveling during Panama's peak tourist season from December to April, standard tropical apparel is the norm: shorts, light shirts and sandals or light shoes. If you're traveling any other time during the year, the region experiences moderate to heavy rains, so pack a rain jacket or other wet-weather apparel. If you like dry socks, bring extra. And plastic bags will keep the wet things wet and the dry things dry.
Step 3
Bring warmer clothing, such as sweaters and windproof jackets, if you plan on doing any hikes or camping in Panama while off the cruise ship. Though temperatures are warm at sea level, Panama's local mountain ranges can get cold as soon as the sun sets. Popular hiking peaks like Boquete and Cerro Punta can sometimes reach the low 30s or 40s F.
Step 4
The usual accouterments of tropical travel apply: insect repellent, sunblock, brimmed hat. Binoculars are great for bird and animal watching, and if you want to spend time at the coast surfing or sunning, remember your bathing suit.
Step 5
Take lots of cash -- U.S. dollars are an official currency of Panama. Break your bills into $1s, $5s and $10s before going on the cruise to make purchasing cheap goods easier. Consider bringing a debit or credit card as an emergency source of funds, though such cards are typically not accepted at most places outside of Panama's tourist districts. Traveler's checks are rarely accepted at Panama retailers.
Step 6
Pack any essential medications, such as insulin if you are a diabetic. Though there are many hospitals and clinics in Panama, avoid the hassle by packing in all critical pills and drugs from home. Label all medications and bring a signed letter from your doctor describing your illness or condition and what medications you need. This may avoid unnecessary questions and hassle when being searched and inspected at security checkpoints.

Article Written By Josh Duvauchelle

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.

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