The Panama Canal offers unique sights, sounds, and cuisine. Measured at 48 miles long and chock-full of adventure, this stunning region promises an unforgettable experience. Here, we’ve narrowed down some of the best destinations in Panama for sightseeing and so much more.
The majority of the Panama Canal was developed at the beginning of the 1900s. Gatun is the largest lake in the area, followed by Miraflores. On the Pacific side, there are two locks that raise ships to Miraflores Lake. At the opposite end resides a single lock at Pedro Miguel that lifts ships to Gatun. A triple flight of locks at Gatun then lowers them into the Atlantic side. Although there are two lanes that theoretically allow ships to pass in opposing directions at the same time, this feat has not been possible, as the space has been too narrow. However, the Panama Canal is now expanding, boasting the largest construction to be undertaken since the original building. Once completed on June 26 of this year, the area will feature a new lane of traffic along the Canal, doubling the area’s capacity and your ability to see even more spellbinding ships.
What to See at Gatun Locks
Seafaring enthusiasts, welcome! This uncrowded area brings you within arm’s reach of local vessels. You can enjoy the area from a viewing platform, and if you want to extend your trip with a drive up to Fort San Lorenzo, you can make your way across the canal, enjoying the sights at water level.
What to See at Miraflores
This popular locale features a Visitor Center and offers myriad opportunities for for avid learners who want to understand more about how the entire canal operates. The staff here are bilingual and happy to answer all of your questions.
While you’re exploring the Canal, pay attention to the announcer, who will share unique details about various nearby ships, including where they’re from, size, type of cargo and other interesting information on how the canal system operates.
Panamanian cuisine mixes African, Native American, and Spanish techniques and ingredients, as the canal bridges two continents worth of culture and flavor preferences. Native cooking features a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and herbs, to create mild flavored, pungent dishes. Standout ingredients often include plantains, yuca, beef, chicken, pork, seafood, maize, and rice. For first-time visitors, Panamanian food offers some familiar tastes, while introducing tantalizing flavor combinations.
There is so much to do and see in Panama – get ready for a quest of a lifetime!