Panama Canal

It may not be a world heritage site, but I couldn’t visit Panama without seeing the canal, so I took the bus out of town to the visitor centre sited right next to the Miraflores locks.

Panama Canal - a ship in the Miraflores lock

Panama Canal - a ship in the Miraflores lock

Just a few years shy of its 100th anniversary, the canal is an impressive feat of engineering ambition. It is also now too narrow for the newer larger cargo vessels now so the government has a project to widen, add locks and generally increase the capacity which is currently around 35 to 40 ships per day making the eight to ten hour journey.

Panama Canal - the seaward (Pacific) and of the Miraflores lock

Panama Canal - the seaward (Pacific) and of the Miraflores lock

The first attempt to dig a canal was started by the French in the late nineteenth century. The present canal was an American project and it and the land around it were only returned to the Panamanians in 1999, in line with a 1977 agreement.

Panama Canal - one of the locomotives that pulls the ships through the lock

Panama Canal - one of the locomotives that pulls the ships through the lock

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