There’s only one place in the world where can you travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean (or vice versa) in one day and that’s Panama and you can thank the Panama Canal for that. Here’s what it’s like to take a Panama Canal cruise from ocean to ocean.

Panamal Canal cruise giant lock gates doors

Traveling through the locks of the Panama Canal during a tour from ocean to ocean.

The amazing Panama Canal

This engineering wonder enables more than 14,000 vessels a year to cut 8,000 miles (13,000 km) and millions of dollars off their transport costs by short-cutting through the isthmus of Panama. The 48 mile (77 km)  long original Panama Canal is also open to day-trippers for half-day or full-day transits through the canal’s famous locks. Only the full-day tour takes you from ocean to ocean so, of course, that’s the one we chose and thanks to Adventure Life, we found ourselves onboard the Pacific Queen for a full day transit of the Panama Canal.

Traveling ocean to ocean on a Panama Canal cruise

Here’s the ocean to ocean time-lapse video we shot as we, along with massive cargo ships and beautiful sailboats, rose 85 feet from the Pacific Ocean through the first three locks, then floated across Lake Gatun before going down 85 feet (25 meters) through the last three locks to reach the Atlantic Ocean and sea level once again.


Still want more? Check out our travel tips about all of the ways to explore the Panama Canal (including which observation facility is best and the most dramatic spot to drive over the canal) and our post about Panama Canal hotels.

Here’s more about travel in Panama


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