In the past days I ventured to visit Panama Canal, The Miraflores Visitor Center, by Metrobus and leave the car at home, being honest I was afraid to stop waiting for the bus, but I was surprised how fast and easy it was to get there, I saved the drive and had zero complications.
This is one of the Visitor Centers of the Panama Canal (one of the 8 wonders of the engineering world), it is in the Miraflores Locks.
The Metrobus left me on the same stairs, it is the last stop it makes and it is where the vast majority of people got off.
I found it fanatic that this route will be created, as it will help the workers of the center and the visitors.
center and the visitors.
Where is the Miraflores Visitor Center?
The Miraflores Visitor Center is right in front of the Miraflores Locks and they are in front of the La Ciudad del Saber, in Panama City.
A little history of the Panama Canal
- Around 1537, after the discovery of America by Spain, it was already perceived as a possible place of maritime passage to shorten distances.
- From 1881 to 1886 the construction was led by France at the hands of Fernando de Lessept. The project failed due to several things among them, an epidemic of malaria and yellow fever, an earthquake in 1882, the economic resources ran out.
- 1903 The United States continues the construction of the Panama Canal.
- 1914, August 15, first official transit, through the Vapor Ancon.
- Since 1999, Panama has administered the Canal.
Once at Miraflores Visitor Center, come to buy my ticket (which works by barcode, take care of it, it is used to enter all the rooms).
The first thing was to run to see the ship that was passing, because that was the last of the large, good of those that pass in the nearest lane.
Each lock has 2 lanes and they work independently.
When arriving at the viewpoint there were many people, but many people, I went to the highest point, 4th floor (there is another higher, but it is the restaurant).
It can also be seen from other points (ground floor and 1st floor), only that the gates are not so well appreciated.
Panama Canal has 3 Locks
- Pedro Miguel,
- and Gatún.
Now in Pedro Miguel there is one camera, in Miraflores two and in Gatun three, this is in each lane, in total there would be 12 cameras. I do not include the expansion part.
Many groups were tours and as soon as the ship passed the first camera they retired, leaving me a good visibility to see the ship through the 2nd camera.
Also, they explain how the Panama Canal works and talk about the ship that is passing at the moment.
Exhibition Rooms of Panama Canal, Miraflores Visitor Center
The visitor center has 4 themed rooms and the truth is that I must applaud the designer, great job.
Shows a little history of the Panama Canal, what was the construction, the first ship that passed and many interesting data.
You can see part of the technology used for construction, you can search, on a computer, for a family member who participated in the construction of the Panama Canal.
It is shown, within an environment that evokes the natural, the fauna and flora of the canal area, I loved the design of the trees that are in the center, it is as if it were a park where the walls are the animals, fish, insects, birds, butterflies, mammals.
It also has a body water measurer and the most interesting thing is that according to our percentage it gives us data from the Panama Canal.
It has 5 sub-rooms, first the routes that pass through the Panama Canal are shown, then it will pass inside a lock, where you can open the gates manually or hydraulically.
From there you will go to one of the tunnels that are used to fill the chamber, then you will see the Control Center, to finally go to the captain’s cabin of a ship and be in transit through one of the locks.
You can learn about the Expansion of the Canal and its importance, there is a replica of the Cosco Shipping Panama, the first ship that passed through the Expanded Panama Canal (the new locks).
You will see a video of the construction of the Panama Canal, its entire route and its achievements. It’s short, but it will leave you in awe of all the history and value it has.
What else is there?
- Photobooth (in the viewpoint),
- Souvenirs Store.
15 interesting facts of Canal Panama
- The lowest page was $ 0.36, August 14-23, 1928, when Richard Halliburton swam across the Panama Canal.
- Panamax is the name given to the largest ships that can pass through the first locks of the Panama Canal.
- Panama Canal works 24 hours a day, however, on December 20, 1989, the invasion of Panama (the end of the dictatorship) occurred and traffic was stopped for a few hours.
- Gatun artificial lake was the largest in the world until 1937.
- Panama Canal is 80km long.
- A ship takes 8-10 hours to pass.
- With the extracted earth, breakwaters are created at both ends of the Canal, the Amador Fort, Balboa and Albrook.
- Between the oceans there are about 30 cm of difference in height, the density of the water is different and there are different species.
- The chambers fill with water in 8 minutes.
- The gates are 22 meters high.
- More than 1,000,000 ships have passed through Panama Canal.
- The chambers are filled with water by gravity, engineering that is still surprising.
- Since 2000, it has been profitable, before it only paid its own expenses.
- Panama Canal gates serve as a pedestrian bridge for workers to pass from one side to the other.
- The workers were from Barbados, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Trinidad, Jamaica, Spain, Italy, Greece, India, the United States, Armenia, Cuba, Costa Rica and Panama, despite speaking different languages they managed to understand each other.
Where to eat at Panama Canal?
It seemed to me that the prices, at least in the last 2, are the same as those in non-tourist areas
- Kotowa cafeteria – ground floor,
- Ferretti ice cream parlor – 1st floor,
- The restaurant – 5th floor.
- Before going, check the transit schedules of ships,
- When you arrive, see if a ship is passing, so as not to miss it,
- Go in the morning, since you will have the sun on your back and it will not bother you to take the photos.
- You need at least 2 hours,
- If you speak English or Spanish, you do not need a guide, everything is explained in both languages, even the video.
- From 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Nationals and residents (full)
- $5.00 adults.
- $2.50 retirees, children (6 to 12 years) and students with a card (up to 17).
Nationals and residents (only terraces)
- $3.00 adults.
- $1.50 retirees, children (6 to 12 years) and students with a card (up to 17).
- $20.00 adults.
- $12.00 children (6 to 12 years old).
- $3.00 entrance fee (price for when I went).
- $1.00 transportation (from my house, round trip).
- $2.25 Chilean empanada.
- Total: $6.55.
How to get to Panama Canal, Miraflores Visitor Center?
By bus: there is a route from the Albrook Bus Terminal (bahia D, route C810, in the Miraflores bus line), it is short travel, about 25 minutes.
You will be dropped off on the stairs of the Visitor Center.
The cost is $0.25 each way and is paid through the Metrobus card, it can be purchased at the Albrook Bus Terminal, if you are going to buy it, take into account that it has a cost of $2.00 + whatever you add to pay the Metrobus, it is rechargeable.
Car: take the Omar Torrijos Herrera road (the one that goes to the Canal area, Corozal, Clayton…) and after the Ciudad de Saber traffic light, take the street on the left and go to the bottom. You can use Google Maps.
You can also get there by taxi or Uber-type transport.
Other places you may like
- Expanded Panama Canal – Visitor Center
- A Visit to the Amazing Barro Colorado Island
- 5 Panamanian Breakfasts that You Must Taste
- Sunday at Panama Canal Museum
- Knowing the Fascinating Biomuseo of Panama
- The Best Guided Museum in Panama, MUMO, Mola Museum
- 20 Interesting Facts about Panama
- 7 Churches of Casco Antiguo