The Panama Canal is one of the most wonderful works of modern engineering. Its construction greatly shortened transportation times and connected two oceans that would otherwise only meet on the borders of the continent. Since its inauguration on August 15, 1914, after ten years in the making, it has established itself as one of the most important commercial straits, attracting the attention of thousands of travelers a year.
Join us to discover a little more about it, and remember that your next vacation should always include a visit to the Panama Canal.
In the late 19th Century, the French attempted to build a similar trade strait, having three possible locations in mind: Panama (which, at the time, was part of Colombia), Nicaragua, and Mexico. Finally, in 1881, work began, in order to open this Canal in what is now the Isthmus of Panama, but various challenges such as illnesses, technical complications, and poor economic management led to the project failing.
Later, in 1903, the United States and Panama signed a treaty that gave the North American nation the authorization to continue with the project, which had been pending. Thus, a year later the works began to finally, in 1914, inaugurate the famous Panama Canal.
In 2007, an expansion project began on Cerro Paraíso, which saw its successful conclusion in 2016. This initiative is the largest expansion work on the inter-oceanic passage since its inauguration.
To this day, the Canal is open to the curious, so if you want to pay a visit to the Panama Canal, you are more than welcome.
The Panama Canal is based on a complex system of locks to raise ships from average sea level to 26 meters high, in a transit process that lasts between 8 and 10 hours. About 12,000 ships use the strait a year, transporting, in total, approximately 450 million tons of cargo.
To learn more about the Canal and its history, there is the Miraflores Visitor Center, with terraces and panoramic views from where you can appreciate the passage of ships. Throughout the tour, you will be able to learn more about this imposing construction and even immerse yourself in an IMAX experience, with a 40-minute documentary on the history of the Canal, narrated by Morgan Freeman.
You can also visit the Emberá community and take a canoe ride to explore the Canal from within.
The Miraflores Visitor Center is located 15 minutes by car from the city center, it is open every day, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and the tour lasts about an hour and a half.
Be sure to visit the Panama Canal, one of the greatest tests of infinite human ingenuity.