Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Fodor's Weekly: Your expert travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration (coming soon)

The Canal and Central Panama Travel Guide

  • Photo: Borja Laria / Shutterstock
  • Photo: dazgee / shutterstock

Plan Your Canal and Central Panama Vacation

The Panama Canal bisects the country just to the west of Panama City, which enjoys excellent views of the monumental waterway. Between the canal and the rain forest that covers its islands, banks, and adjacent national parks, there is enough to see and do to fill several days.

Top Reasons To Go

  1. The Panama Canal History, technology, and nature combine like nowhere else in the world at the Panama Canal. The most popular way to explore is by taking one of the transit tours that ply its waters between the Calzada Amador (Amador Causeway) and Gamboa. You can get a different perspective on one of the nature or fishing tours available out of Gamboa.
  2. The Rain Forest Central Panama has some of the most accessible rain forest in the world, with roads, trails, and waterways leading into wilderness that's home to hundreds of bird species and other animals. Tropical nature can be experienced to the fullest in the forests along the canal, in the mountains to the east and west of it, or along the Caribbean coast.
  3. The Oceans With the Caribbean and Pacific just 50 miles apart at the canal, you can bathe or skin-dive in two oceans on the same day. The Caribbean coast has miles of coral reef, whereas the Pacific islands lie near good fishing, dive spots, and seasonal whale watching.
  4. The Islands Some of Panama's best beaches are on its islands, and Central Panama has isles where the sand is lined by coconut palms and other tropical foliage. These range from historic Isla Taboga to the uninhabited isles of the Pearl Archipelago, where three seasons of Survivor were based.
  5. The Mountains The hills of Central Panama are considerably lower than those in the country's western provinces, but they still provide a refreshing respite from the lowland heat, and their lush forests are home to hundreds of bird species.

When To Go

When to Go

Most of the canal and Central Pacific sites lie within 30 minutes to two hours of Panama City, so if you're based there, plenty of attractions can...

Read More

Travel Tips

The Canal and Central Panama Travel Tips

See All



Trip Finder

Fodor's In Focus Panama

View Details
Travel Phrases

Learn Spanish Phrases before or while you're on the go!

Download Now
Travel Deals