The Panama Canal offers many delights that often surprise visitors of the architectural marvel and surrounding beautiful urban and suburban areas. There are many areas around the Canal that offer visitors luxury and beauty, as well as provide insights into the construction of the Canal and its history. You may have some idea of the Panama Canal’s importance to global trade, but until you visit, you won’t have a full appreciation of the history of the area in which it resides and its history.
Read on to find out more about the Panama Canal and what to expect when you visit.
Visiting the Panama Canal
The First place to stop while visiting the Panama Canal is the Miraflores Visitor Center.
It is only a fifteen-minute drive from downtown Panama City. The Miraflores Visitor Center is the best place to learn many of the fascinating facts about the Canal. You can even watch a documentary about how the Canal functions, narrated by Morgan Freeman. Here you can see firsthand how the Canal works, allowing massive cargo ships to move through every day. You’ll even see actual ships making their way through the Canal, too.
After Miraflores, you can move on to the Agua Clara Locks Visitor Center to find out more about the Canal and view it from a different angle, from the Atlantic side near Colon. If you choose to make a full day of your visit to the Canal, you can go from there to the Chargres River, where you can rent a canoe and visit indigenous Embara people, famous for their beautiful pottery and other goods. You can even arrange to cross the canal as a day trip to view this technological marvel from a whole new perspective.
Agua Clara Locks Visitor Center: A Gateway to Panama Canal Marvels
The Agua Clara Locks Visitor Center offers visitors a full perspective of the Canal, as well as information on how it was built and how it continues to evolve. Here, you can see the brand-new locks system, the largest on the Canal. It’s also a place to enter the national park of the same name, the largest tropical forest in the country. Agua Clara Locks has three chambers, and from the covered observation deck, you get a full view of the Panama Canal and even islands out in the distance, such as Lago Gatun.
From the observation deck at Agua Clara Locks, you can see the full expanse of the new addition to the Canal and learn more facts about the Panama Canal, including information on new expansions planned to add to the Canal in future years. You might not see a ship passing through, but even if you don’t, you’ll be able to see the Canal up close and personal.
Be sure to visit Gatun Dam as well from Agua Clara. You can also see the original Gatun Locks, both structures are beautiful works of engineering in their own right.
Navigating the Panama Canal: Exploring the Map and Location
A great idea when you visit the Panama Canal is to get a map and location beforehand and to hire a guide to take you to all the best views and beautiful areas from which to view ships passing through.
Due to the unique geographic features of the area, there are several locks that lift ships about 85 feet up and over the Continental Divide to reach the other side. As such, there are several places to view ships passing through, some are more crowded than others and offer slightly different views. Depending on what you want to see and how you want to get there, your guide can take you to the best places to do and see what you want.
Fascinating Facts about the Panama Canal
Because of the mountains rising up in the middle of what is now the Canal, it wasn’t practical to blast through them to help ships cross from one Ocean to the other. Over a hundred years ago, an international group of engineers figured out how to lift huge ships through a system of locks, or areas in which a ship is gradually raised and lowered to cross the natural isthmus.
Construction started in the early 1900s with the damming of the Chagres River, and after years of extremely difficult work, a system of locks was built to lift ships over 12.6 kilometers of mountains and jungle.
Plan Your Visit to the Panama Canal
The best time to go to the Panama Canal is widely considered to be from November to April because by November each year, the cruise ship season is already underway and the rainy season is all but over.
Embark on an unforgettable journey through engineering marvels and natural beauty! Discover the wonders of the Panama Canal, where history and innovation converge. Plan your visit today and witness the awe-inspiring feat of human ingenuity. Don’t miss the chance to traverse the iconic waterway that connects two oceans. Click here to book your accommodation in Panama now and create memories that will last a lifetime!