A Visit to the Panama Canal

This is the last of my travelogue about The Folks trip.  Wow, difficult to believe that it’s been three weeks since they left.  Where does the time go?

We left the touristy stuff until the end of their visit but all they really wanted to see was the Panama Canal.  My father-in-law was in the Canadian military back in the day when there was a strong peacekeeping presence in the Sinai Peninsula.  He was tickled to think that he could say that he had seen two of the world’s greatest canals.

The Centro de Visitantes de Miraflores or Miraflores Visitors Centre is one of the best places to see the canal.  It was undergoing renovations the last time we were there and the top two floors were closed.  We were pleasantly surprised to see that construction was completed and all four floors were open.  We started off by making sure that we could get a reservation for lunch at the restaurant.  The restaurant has good views of the locks and you can sit inside or on the terrace, but outside tables are sometimes hard to come by.  There is a beautiful buffet held there for lunch and supper most days.  It’s not cheap but it is a treat if it’s the only “splurge” that you’re going to have in Panama.  They also offer other items and the ceviche is very good when ordering from the menu if you like seafood or there are outdoor snack bars where you can sit and watch the ships.

The first floor of the museum has the history of the canal and the second floor has displays of some of the fish and insects and the day we were there the central display was about whales and the routes they take. The third floor has a model of the operation center and a training simulator.  The fourth floor has some models of dredgers and some displays that show the timeline of the canal and the costs of travelling through the canal.

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For some reason the traffic through the canal that day was very slow.  It might have had something to do with it being a statutory holiday.  We did get a chance to see a small cruise ship from the Bahamas go through and a container ship from the Marshall Islands.  You can take a day cruise through the canal, but getting the father-in-law on a boat would likely have been impossible.

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The Panama Canal is being expanded and is due to be completed in 2014.  The current locks are 1,050 x 110 feet, the new locks will be 1,400 x 180 feet.  This will allow more of the super-sized ships to traverse the canal.


About indacampo

You'll find me at https://indacampo.wordpress.com/ blogging about Panama...and other things.
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4 Responses to A Visit to the Panama Canal

  1. Frances says:

    Thanks for the pictures and the interesting information. I have seen documentaries on the building of the canal. It is mind boggling.

    • indacampo says:

      There are dredgers working to deepen it and huge trucks and machinery cutting away on the hills. It’s a great way to spend a day.


  2. kristc99 says:

    That canal is the most fascinating thing! Never in my life did I think I would be standing by the Panama Canal.

    • indacampo says:

      It was nice to see the refurbished part of the museum. It’s probably bee open for a while but the last time we were there was in October 2011. There were a lot more ships going through last time too. And even though the buffet is a little pricey we ate so much we didn’t need supper that night!


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