Monday, September 12, 2016

Panama Canal: La Ruta del Mundo

Canal de Panama has a very rich history, from its construction to government control. The canal has three locks and the most famous I think, is the one in Miraflores. Upon arriving in the visitors' center, take the elevator going up and head directly to the ticket booth.

Per entry is 15 USD for non-resident adults.

Upon passing the security, I would suggest to you to watch first the 10 minute movie that they offer in the theater. They have two versions, in English and in Spanish and both run every 30 minutes. 

The movie was very informative. The canal area was previously a rainforest that they had to remove and dig. The construction started on 1880s by the French government but due to financial and resource problems, they stopped it. Then in 1900s, the American government took over and building it took more than 10 years. Then in 1960s, the students of Panama rallied about the total control of the American government and fought for the sovereignity of the canal. In 1999, Panama government took total control.

The above image displays information on how the canal works. It is basically leading big ships to the canal and control the sea level using several stages. So from Atlantic Ocean, they have to transfer to Pacific Ocean and being controlled by locks and most importantly gravity. The canal is famous in the world and is considered as an engineering masterpiece. They just had inaugurated a new expansion last June 2016.

To understand better, the map above shows that in order to avoid a long route going to the South American tip, the canal can lessen the travel time of the big ships of up to a minimum of twenty days.

After the movie, you can then personally see the canal in the bleachers outside the main building. Unfortunately, I came in very early. To see the complete process of locking and transferring ships, better visit it at 3 in the afternoon. 

There is also an exhibition that displays more information about the Panama Canal and the history of its construction.


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