The towering skyscrapers of Panama City that alternate with houses still raw state of Panamanians, the sultry heat that reigns retracing the streets of the city … we arrived in Panama, admiring the skyscrapers from the window of the taxi that transported us from the airport to our hotel, $ 30, and so, there is no alternative, or whether there were well looked after by nobody telling us … we expected more, we admit it, it will be for the charm that many films have given to this destination south American … and instead, although it is interesting to walk through the narrow streets of the streets of old Panama and see how the locals really live, the only major attraction of the place is known for the Panama canal, a long time the only way connection between the two worlds, the illustrious transit between continents …
The Panama Canal is the result of a saga of human ingenuity and courage that goes back to the early XVI Century when the Spaniards arrived on the Isthmus. Since then, the idea of building a route that would join the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans was conceived.
The first firm effort to build an all-water route through Panama began with the French in 1880, but financial troubles and diseases made the initiative fail. After its independence in 1903, Panama negotiates an agreement with the United States for the construction of the Canal which the U.S. would finish on August 15, 1914 and then managed the waterway until 1999.
At noon on December 31, 1999, Panama took over full operation, administration and maintenance of the Canal, in compliance with the Torrijos Carter Treaties negotiated with the United States in 1977. The waterway is managed by the Panama canal Authority, an autonomous government entity.
The Panama Canal serves as a maritime shortcut that saves time and costs in transporting all kinds of goods. The 80 kilometer waterways communicates the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in one of the narrowest points of the Isthmus of Panama and of the American Continent.
Since its opening in 1914, more than one million ships from all over the world have transited the Canal. the historic millionth mark was reached on September 4,2012 with the transit of the bulk carrier Fortune Plum.
The interoceanic waterway uses a system of locks with two lanes that operates as water elevators and raises the ships from sea level to the level of Gatun Lake, 26 meters above sea level on the other side of the Isthmus.
The water used to raise and lower the vessels in each set of locks is obtained from Gatun Lake by gravity and poured into the locks through a main culvert system that extends under the locks chambers from the sidewalls and the center wall.
The Panama Canal expansion Program began in September 2007. Its objective is to double the waterway’s capacity to satisfy the increasing demand of the world maritime trade. To ensure the social and environmental impact studies that include mitigation measures such as reforestation, wildlife rescue and archaeological and paleontological rescue.
Furthermore, the expansion helps mitigate climate change, reducing the global emissions of CO2 that result when using alternate longer route.
The entrance to the Canal costs $ 15 and includes the view from the top of the Canal, the museum and watching a video explaining the operation of the entire structure. So, to be clear, if you are in Panama City, as well as make you a ride to the old city, it is very interesting to see the Panama Canal, one or two day in the city is absolutely enough … we recommend instead to go on the north or south, in the coasts … you should continue our journey to the beautiful beach of Playa Blanca … an endless strip of sand that alternates with white strokes and sometimes grayish, where the sand glistens and seems to walking on pieces of Swarovski. This stretch of coast boasts a unique climate, the sun shines more often than all the cities in the rest of Panama, the sea and the nature create an amazing picture, which becomes even more fascinating in the hour of sunset.