Panama Canal/Gatun Lake, Panama Cruise Port, 2024, 2025 and 2026 Cruises to Panama Canal/Gatun Lake, Panama | The Cruise Web

Panama Canal/Gatun Lake, Panama Cruise Port

Gatun Lake was created in 1912—two years prior to the christening of the Panama Canal—by damming the Chagres River where it connected to the Isthmus of Panama. Now that the major canal has been in existence for decades, it crosses Gatun Lake through the locks on the lake’s western side. The majority of this artificial lake is located in Colon, Panama and it plays a major role in transporting ships across the Isthmus—the crossing distance runs for about twenty miles. Fishing is exceedingly popular on this once world’s largest man-made lake, particularly those wishing to angle for Peacock Bass, the dominant species in the entirety of Gatun. Barro Colorado Island is the lake’s largest island; it was originally established as a scientific community to study the newly created ecosystem, and is now operated by the Smithsonian Institute. Because of its numerous discoveries, this is a particularly hot spot for ecotourism.


  • Monkey Island is an island on the lake that gets its name from the white-faced monkeys that live there. There are several other species of monkeys that can be explored on various guided tours.
  • Pipeland Road in Gamboa is the best place to see bird diversity near the great man-made lake. It’s close to Panama City and is a relaxing environment to walk around and view the birds.
  • Barro Colorado Island also has an impressive natural, tropical forest that visitors enjoy hiking through to view the stunning flora and fauna.
  • The Gatun Sport Fishing Lodge is a center where novice to advanced anglers can rent boats and equipment to take to the angling-friendly lake.

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