We are going on the Liberty- Feb 18th . We are steering toward the boat trip thru the canal, and the aerial tram in Limon. We were thinking toward the Train trip in Panama, but what I have read you may or may not see any action thru the canal.
Definelty take the Train Trip from Colon to Panama City. You will stop at Miraflores and get a full witnessing of the locks in process. It may be your most expensive tour, but well worth the day trip. At Limon, Cosat Rica we took a local tour with a hired driver. There is a tent set up on the pier with a placard detailing many tours; our was the Tourtegara Canal and area hightlights. It was great with not only a boat ride and tour up the canal, but stops and tour of the Dole Bananna Plantation and a visit to a beach plus a stop to pet and see up close a 3 toed sloth, monkies and floral samples of the area. Our driver also escorted us to a local supermarket to buy coffee and vanilla. Cost was $35 per couple!
This itinerary has some of the most expensive shore tours I've come across. When I did this trip, I took the 4 x 4 offroad adventure in Costa Rica. I wouldn't do it again, we only stopped once and that was to eat. I would have like to stop and take a few pictures from the mountain tops, but they didn't even slow down.
In Colon, I did take the 2 oceans by rail tour. I probably should have skipped the talk at the locks and shopped in the little store. I live in Michigan so I know how locks work. I've seen all the documentaries of the making of the locks, so I really didn't need to hear it again.
If I ever do it again, I would probably either book an independent in Costa Rica or not book anything, so I would have more time to explore the city on my own. My friends went to a couple pawn shops and bought great jewelry for little of nothing.
There was a great flea market across the street from the pier in Limon where you could buy many wonderful things. Rosewood boxes and puzzle boxes were big sellers at $5 each or 5 for $20.
Voyager of the Seas 5/03
Celebrity Solstice 2/09
Oasis of the Seas 10/16/10
I'm not sure if Carnival offers it, but last year on the Summit,
we booked fishing on Gatun Lake...It was great...probably only
10 or 12 of us in 2 very sturdy boats with 3 crew apiece...they
supplied everything...even baited our hooks. Gatun Lake is
beautiful, serene, and we saw wildlife....even caught a few fish...
peacock bass. I even "outfished" some of the manly men on
This is not the part of Gatun Lake where the ships are waiting to
go through the locks...it is the other direction (I think) but we
couldn't see or hear any ships, locks, etc. We did see the train
go alongside the lake, tho.
Absolutely hands down the best excursion that I have ever done in the Caribbean is the White Water Rafting in Costa Rica. It is a trip you will remember and cherish the rest of your life. We got to see a nice bit of the country on the bus ride up to where we walked down to the river. You have 8 to a raft and the guides make it fun and competitive and you still have a relaxing and exhilirating time. I was very sad when it ended but also tired. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
In Panama I highly recommend the Grand Tour. You get to tour Lake Gatun, see the locks, see wildlife, check out the old US Navy base. etc. Well worthwhile
Kuki and Jim, isn't the white water rafting out of Punteranas on the other coast off the Pacific in Costa Rica? I did not recall it being advertised on the Caribbean side. We too enjoyed the rafting very much but our ship tour which included a great lunch was from Punteranas not Limon. What ever you decide to do, have a great time and explore these ports of call. I confirm also that the Rosewood items sold at the crafts bazaar at Limon are beautiful. I bought a huge and heavy salad bowl set including 6 serving dishes and the serving fork & spoon for $25. It was worth the weight carrying it home. I had never owned such a beautiful salad bowl set in 40 years of marriage.