Time for a new post from Panama. And today I will tell you about my day trip to the famous Panama Canal.
This huge canal is 82 kilometers long and the first manmade route to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In history without the canal the boats had to sail all around South-America from Caphorn, making the trip some 13000 kilometers longer. You see the value of this right? Today yearly approximately 800 000 ships cross through the canal every year.
Getting to the locks
The locks are only a short drive away from the center of Panama City. I took just an Uber to get up there. At the locks, they have a visitor center, museum, restaurant, and various changing exhibitions.
You’ll get the best views from the big balcony upstairs. From here you see the passing ships very close.
I can’t remember finding any decently easy public transport options to get to the locks. I’m sure the trip to the locks is also available with many different tour organizers and hostel day trips if you want to have it all sorted out for you.
Panama Canal and the lock offer a very easy half-day trip from Panama City.
Panama Canal history
The first actually steps for building the Panama Canal started around 1880 when the French decided to build the canal crossing. Unfortunately, their effort faced many issues like accidents and participating companies’ financial crises which forced it to a stop at the end of the decade.
The Panama Canal project started again at full speed when early United States president Theodor Roosevelt bought the project from the French. In 1904 this allowed the building project to continue.
Finally, the canal was opened to traffic in 1914 which remarks a historical moment in the sailing history.
During my visit to the locks, I also learned about the machines and man work that the project had taken. So many people gave their lives while helping to achieve this remarkable crossing.
Panama Canal experience
I was quite excited in the morning then I decided to get up here. Normally I tend to appreciate more natural wonders than hand made constructions. But once I was standing on the view balcony I had to admit that this was a very cool place to visit.
At the lock, you start getting a little sense of the size of this project and effort that it has taken its builders in history.
I saw huge ships coming in towards the lock and from far away it seems they don’t’ even stand a chance to fit in. But with the detailed process and some help, you see them passing through and some times see the staff waving from the decks.