Viva Panama!!!

November is a month of celebration in Panama.  It is the month of National Pride, when all Panamanians take to the streets to commemorate their separation from Colombia on November 3 and their independence from Spain on November 28.  The Panamanian flag can be seen flying all over the city.  This picture was taken at the City of Knowledge, where hundreds of flags have been planted directly in front of the Miraflores Locks.  Viva Panama!

In Transit

These ships were captured in transit on their way through the Panama Canal. These pictures were taken at the visitor’s center at the Gatun Locks in Colon.

Gatun Locks Restaurant

There is a very good restaurant at the Gatun Locks visitor center. This service is provided by the prestigious Hotel El Panama.  The menu is varied and offers a range of delicious meat, fish and pasta dishes.  

Witness History in the Making

You can be witness to the expansion of the new Gatun Locks when you arrive at the new Visitors Center.  There is a small entrance fee that ranges from $7-$3 dollars depending on you age and resident status. This fee will give you full access to the facilities, including a hiking path.  If you opt not to pay the fee, you may visit the center’s restaurant and enjoy the view from there.  

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/07/3329175/new-locks-for-panama-canal-near.html

New Gatun Locks

The expansion of the Panama Canal is one of the largest projects being built at this moment. This venture will establish a new lane of traffic along the Canal by building a new set of locks designed to double the capacity of this important waterway. You can visit the site and see the progress of this imposing engineering feat under construction.  Click on the link below for detailed instructions on how to reach the site.

http://www.canalmuseum.com/canalphotos/new-visitors-center.htm

Miraflores Locks Visitor Center

Miraflores Locks Visitor Center is a excellent place to visit.  You can watch the boats go by from the observation deck or have a bite to eat at the restaurant and watch the ships transit through the locks as you sip your afternoon coffee. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g294480-d547531/Panama-City:Panama:Miraflores.Locks.Visitor.Center.html

Panama Canal Museum

The Panama Canal Museum is located in Casco Antiguo right in front of Plaza Catedral, between Calle 5 and Calle 6. It is housed in this beautifully renovated building.  http://cascoviejo.com/canal-museum/

Lighthouse

This old lighthouse still stands overlooking ships as they transit through the Panama Canal.  In the background, you can see a barge go peacefully on its way.  This is such a common sight here that we sometimes overlook the incredible engineering feat that makes that transit possible. http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/pan.htm

Welcome to Panama. It’s so much more than a canal.

When someone mentions Panama, two things might come to mind.  Some people might automatically think of Panama City, Florida and wild parties at the beach during spring break. If you have a wider view of the world, the image of the Panama Canal might jump into your mind. This ex-pat has been here for over thirty years and I can attest to the fact that Panama is so much more than just a canal.   Since the Panama Canal is probably the most well known tourist destination here in Panama, I’ve decided to share a  photo of the Miraflores Lock as a large ship makes its transit and is slowly lifted to the next level.  http://www.pancanal.com/eng/