Visiting the Panama Canal and the Miraflores Locks
To visit the Panama Canal means to admire one of the most impressive engineering works of the modern era. What surprises is the size: that of the canal, that is 81 km long, as well as that of the ships that pass through it. Millions of tons of cargo are moved each year from one ocean to the other thanks to a sophisticated system of locks. Each “basin”, separated by gates as tall as buildings, is filled and emptied continuously to overcome the gap between the Caribbean sea and the Pacific Ocean. This allows the ships to reduce to 12.8 hours a trip that would otherwise take weeks if not months!
The atmosphere is surreal: in the middle of a strip of forest, giant cargo and cruise ships seem to move as icebreakers. The best vantage point is the Miraflores Locks, one of the three blocks of locks that comprise the channel. Here you can find the Centro de Visitantes de Miraflores, a meeting point for tourists who want to visit the Canal. In addition to a small museum, the Visitor Center houses an observatory, a panoramic restaurant and a theater where documentaries and movies on the history of the construction of the canal are screened.
ALL THE WAYS TO VISIT THE PANAMA CANAL
It is difficult to remain indifferent to the show offered by the comings and goings of the ships. The lucky ones can visit the Panama Canal from the inside, that is to say on board a cruise ship or a pleasure boat. For everyone else there is the possibility of reaching the Esclusas (the locks) de Miraflores by car or public transportation. Currently a development project is underway to double the transport capacity of the canal. The canal remains the country's major source of income and one of the most visited destinations. If you are planning a visit here, do not forget to allow at least half a day of your time!