Soberania National Park
One of the most famous attractions in the Canal is the Soberania National Park. Spread out over 48,000 acres, this accessible park feeds millions of gallons of water into the Canal. The park is also home to a cornucopia of diverse animals, including over 100 species of mammals and over 500 species of birds. The Park Ranger Service offers travelers numerous day trails that range in difficulty. Of course, guests to the National Park are free to explore the park's birds ecolodge and zoo. The park is open from 6 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon daily.
Soberania National Park
Bird Watching Trails
Because of the great variety of birds in the area, the Panama Canal is littered with bird watching trails. These trails are great for people on a cruise, for they don't take up the whole day and offer great views of the Canal's natural beauty.
The most scenic trail is the Sendero el Plantacion trail, which is four miles long and covers areas where huge plantations of cacao and coffee were grown in the early 20th century. If travelers are looking for a shorter trail, then their best bet is the Pond Trail in Sendero Charco, which loops around and follows the Sardinillia River. And for those challenge-seekers out there, the Las Cruces Trail in Camino de Cruces is a moderate to difficult trail that runs through the jungle and was originally built by the Spaniards.
Panama Canal Bird Watching Trails
Cruise ship guests usually don't see too many exotic animals on their voyages, unless, of course, they are on a jungle tour in the Panama Canal. Guests can take these tours to see Panama's many animals up close and personal, like monkeys, tamarins and crocodiles. People can choose from one of the three tour companies.
The Gamboa Resort offers a three-hour boat ride of the jungle five days a week. The ride includes tour guides who educate their guests on the history and geography of the area, as well as on the many species in the canal. Ancon Expeditions has a "Panama Canal Boat Rainstorm Adventure," which includes lunch and free transportation to and from the boat. Jungle Land Explorer offers a boat tour through the jungle and offers guests lunch on its double-decker boat, the Gatun Explorer, which anchors by the lake. Both the Jungle Land Explorer Cruise and the Ancon Expedition Cruise leave early in the morning and return late in the afternoon.
Jungle Land Explorer
Gamboa Rainforest Rides
Cruise ship guests who are looking for a little fishing should make their way to Lake Gatun in the Panama Canal. This lake is packed full of hundreds of species of tropical fish, all of which can be caught. The most famous fish are the peacock bass, mainly because they are the easiest to hook. A local company, Panama Canal Fishing, also rents out rods, bait and spacious boats for people looking to explore and fish on their own in the lake.
Panama Canal Fishing
(507) 6699 0507
For mountain biking enthusiasts, the tour company Adventures in Panama offers cruise ship guests half-day mountain bike trips along Pipeline Road, which runs parallel to the Canal. The tour leaves at 8 in the morning from Panama City and returns in the early afternoon. The trails take bikers through 18 miles of sand, pavement, dirt and mud. But be forewarned: these mountain biking trails are not for novices.
Adventures in Panama
It is important to note that cruise lines don't offer specific shore excursions while excluding others. As each cruise ship docks in the Canal for a few days, their guests are allowed to roam free and try any shore excursion they choose. Shore excursions are the same for all guests, as long as their cruise ship goes through the Canal. Guests pay for the shore excursions upfront, as they are usually not included in the cruise price. Some of the main cruise lines that travel through the Panama Canal include Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Carnival Cruise Line.
Royal Caribbean International
Carnival Cruise Line