When to Go

Cruises sail to the Panama Canal generally from September through April. Most itineraries last 10 days or longer, and a full transit from Florida to Los Angeles through the canal will take about two weeks.

The cruise season overlaps with the dry season in Panama, typically mid-December to mid-April. Cristobol, the Atlantic port to the canal, receives only two inches of rain in February compared to 18 inches in October. However, even months that experience more rain can be suitable for travel. Precipitation in Panama is similar to elsewhere in the Caribbean; downpours often come in short bursts before clearing to reveal sunshine.

The temperatures are perpetually idyllic in Cristobol with highs in the mid-80s and lows in the mid-70s. And things are equally inviting in Panama City, on the Pacific coast near the canal, which runs just a few degrees higher.

One special occasion to schedule a trip for is the yearly Carnaval celebration, which takes place during the four days leading up to Ash Wednesday. The days-long party is filled with parades and music and draws large crowds.

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