If you’re going come ride a yacht or transfer cargo with the Panama Canal, be prepared to pony up some major cash.

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When I an initial put up this article I had actually just handed in a magazine story top top Panama and also was going v my note from the trip. I visited the Panama Canal because that the 2nd time. The first time I in reality went v it top top a 14-person ship, if this time I simply went to the Miraflores Locks visitant center.

I make a third trip come the Panama Canal recently and got new information, so this post was update on march 5, 2018.

You find out lots of factoids as soon as visiting the canal, but I’m many fascinated by the business side of it. Clearly it’s easier for a shipping agency to walk through right here than to spend second 22 days sailing approximately the bottom of south America, so they’re willing to pay. A lot.

There are different fees for various ships and also cargo, as in you’ll pay less to move grain than you will to carry liquified herbal gas, climate a various fee structure applies if you load Fitbits into cargo containers. Part ships pay by tonnage, however those with contains have a different rate.

You can sort v the tariffs posted digital to kind it out, yet from what I can tell, cargo pearl going v the wider canal are billed a preferably of $99 per full container, $59 for an empty one. (So girlfriend really don’t want to have a lot of empties.) then in a device that seems prefer it was replicated from U.S. Airlines, there are several extra fees on top of that. A captain has to actually turn over the leg to a Panamanian lock pilot because that the transit and there room robotic guides through cables leading the ships with tight spaces.

The ship passing through in the photo over was loaded with 3,800 containers and going with the initial lock system, not the wider one. Here’s what the captain paid once I was there, which was in 2014:

– $321,446 for the containers

– $11,445 for the work of 7 tugboats

– $4,745 because that ground assistants

– $3,600 for ground wires

When they departure the various other side of the Panama Canal, that transit alone will have included 1/3 of a $million to the price of the goods on the ship. Therefore if you’re in Boston gaining coffee indigenous Sumatra or a vehicle from Korea, store this in mind when you look at the price. Plenty of people believe that goods they obtain from Asia take trip by land across the USA, however in reality nearly everything the travels throughout or up the Pacific comes with the Canal come east coastline ports. That consists of wine native Chile and also chocolate native Ecuador.

That charge over is chump readjust though compared to some recent ones held by the broader canal. That more comprehensive section the the canal to be a substantial project that now permits full container ships through. This design feat price billions and also billions to traction off, therefore you can bet those pearls making usage of it room paying handsomely. Prior to the expansion, the document was $461,000 paid by one ship. Now the record has jumped to $1.1 million. No wonder this canal offers 12% of Panama’s gross residential product.


Speaking of prices, you’ll pay a surcharge if you go on a cruise ship with the Panama Canal. Those ships are levied a dues of $138 to $148 every bed (berth). Reap the ride that day—you’ve paid handsomely for it. I recently went indigenous the Balboa dock through two set of locks to the Pacific on a pack tourist boat. Looking at the prices, I recognize why it was packed: they need to pay $2,000 for that trip, no counting fuel and labor.

Sailing a Pleasure boat or Yacht v the Panama Canal

So what about the bad soul trying to live a lifelong dream of sailing about the world?


It’s definitely ideal to go little than to look prefer a new money Russian tycoon. If you look in ~ the official toll price here and also scroll method down, the little ships pay $800 come $3,200 depending upon length. My local in-the-know guide who update me in 2018 claimed there space fees on peak of that though—kind of favor your airline ticket these days—so below are the total quantities he quoted.

Small pearls of less than 50 feet in length pay $880 for the transit. Those of 50-80 pay $1,300. Those 80 to 100 feet salary $2,200. Over that it’s $3,200. However hey, if you’ve acquired a yacht the big, 3 grand is probably chump readjust anyway. You’ll also need the best lines for tie-up and a large enough crew come secure lock all. No, friend can’t usage a credit transaction card. (Or cocaine. Supposedly someone tried the once.) There’s likewise a damages deposit the you’ll get ago later if there room no incidents, yet you’ll it is in out about $800 because that a while. You deserve to send it every by wire transfer currently though and also if you’re short, have some $100 receipt on you because that the unexpected.

If you’d choose to just see a little bit of the (slow) action instead, entrance to the Miraflores Locks facility is $15 adults, much less for kids and seniors. Much more info here. The museum has gotten better over the year though and also there’s a restaurant and also bar top top site. If you’re a Panama resident, you only pay $3. That contains entrance to the museum and a guide explaining how whatever works at consistent intervals outside. The ar must be raking in money because when i last saw there were hundreds of world streaming in and also out at every times. Later on when we passed in a delivery there was still no space along the monitoring deck railings for the world looking out at us.

Keep in mental these prices go up every few years, so examine the latest before you pull as much as the canal opening in your own boat so friend don’t come up short on funds.

If friend ask me, a pair days in Panama City is plenty and there are far more interesting places to go within a few hours. So have some fun here then get out right into the countryside or to the beaches. View the Visit Panama website for ideas and gorgeous photos.

If you decide you like this country enough to take into consideration it as a location to live or retire, there room a lot of great incentives in place and it’s a reasonably straightforward and fast country for obtaining residency together a foreigner. See lots of details in this post: The expense of living in Panama because that Expats.

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