I’ve been to Panama twice, both times for 1 day. The 2nd time was much superior to the first.
My wife & I went on a cruise with my parents that went through the Panama Canal, which had always been a Bucket List item of mine. I know a lot of people scoff at cruises, but I think they’re great for a few reasons:
- You get to see a bunch of places without committing to a particular island, in case it sucks and you’re stuck there. If you get to a city or country you don’t like, you can normally take a bus somewhere else. An island? I need to know more before committing to buying flights.
- You sample places to decide where you’d like to come back to in the future for a ‘real’ vacation.
- Lots of food, activities, fun stuff.
- It’s the only way to get to some sites, like going through the Panama Canal.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about how awesome this day was. Admittedly, we didn’t do a ‘full transit’ of the canal. We entered early in the morning from the Atlantic/Caribbean side, transited 2 series of locks, and ended in Lake Gatun, in the middle of the canal.
From there, people who had booked trips and activities got onto small boats (read: the ship’s life boats) to take you to the docks at the side to be met by your activity people. This is what we did.
My wife and I did a boat ride to look for animals around the canal, and we saw plenty. Capuchin, Tamarin & Howler monkeys. Lots of birds. No sloths, but the guides were really funny, and we had a great time. Even though I’d been attacked by a Capuchin earlier in the year (in Honduras), I managed to keep it together and not ruin things for everyone.
At one point, we saw Howler monkeys hunting a solo Capuchin, but he managed to get away.
After the boat ride ended, our main ship had turned back through the canal and was waiting back at the coast, in Colon, so a bus took us through Panama City and back to the port in Colon to rejoin our ship.
We’d expected to find some restaurants near the port and wanted to eat some rice & beans plus other local foods, but there were no restaurants at all near the port. We returned to the ship and went to the restaurant, because we were famished. All we’d had on the trip for the day was a banana and some chips.
This time, Panama was great, and I left with a fantastic experience.This entry was posted in central america, north america, panama