Panama Canal Railway, Panama
The Panama Canal Railway is a tale of two oceans, linking Panama’s Atlantic coastline with the Pacific Ocean. The railway passes across the Isthmus of Panama from Colón (Atlantic) to Balboa (Pacific), near Panama City, cutting through the Panamanian countryside and showing off some of the country’s lesser-trodden but breat-taking landscapes.
The line was built in the 19th century, by the United States following the California Gold Rush, and today is jointly owned by the Panama Canal Railway Company and Kansas City Southern. It’s one of the greatest railway journeys in South America, cutting through lush rainforests, passing by canal locks, through the historic Gaillard Cut and over the narrow causeways in Gatun Lake. For travellers new to Panama it’s a fantastic way to see some great parts of the country in an hour.
Prices from: US $25.00
Departing from: Colón, Panama City
Journey length: 1 hour
Panama Canal Railway route
The Panama Canal Railway Company offers daily service (Mon–Fri) between Panama and Colon, covering a track of 76.6km in an hour. In just an hour passengers are treated to a feast of stunning scenery, through vine-strewn jungle, along the Panama Canal, through the verdant valley of the Gaillard Cut and the freshwater Gatun Lake. The train departs from Balboa to Colón at 7:15am and from Colón to Panama at 17:15.
Panama Canal Railway train
The Panama Canal Railway’s carriages hark back to the golden age of travel, with polished wood panelling, plush leather banquettes and armchairs, pattern carpeted floors, soft lamp lighting and wooden blinds. The train also boasts modern amenities like air-conditioning and toilets. Open-air viewing decks allow for passengers to get up and close with the rainforest, while a 1938 Southern Pacific Dome car allows for covered, but unobstructed views. Snacks and drinks are available to purchase on board.
What we love
The chance to travel from Colón to Panama City in just an hour, combining a luxurious on-board experience with stunning views. The train has comfortable and premium carriages and whizzes past some of Panama’s top sights like the Canal, rainforest and Gaillard Cut.