Panama Canal – A Must-See with Your Rental Car

If you are planning a trip to Panama City, then one site that you must see is the Panama Canal. This engineering marvel of the 20th century is still quite the attraction for tourists for its history, importance, and system of locks that are still fascinating to watch. If you plan on visiting the canal, then you will need to rent a car in Panama City which provides the best transportation to the canal and the surrounding countryside.


Panama Canal

For centuries, the only viable means of traveling directly from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean was going around treacherous Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America. The length of travel plus the inherent dangers involved led to the construction of the Panama Canal. Begun by the French in 1881, the project was quickly abandoned due to the intense labor conditions and presence of malaria.

In 1904, the United States took over construction and on August 15th, 1914, the canal was completed. Because of the height difference between the land and the sea, a series of locks were constructed that raised or lowered ships as needed so they could pass through the canal. An artificial lake was also constructed to help with the flow of the canal.

During its first full year of operation, about 1,000 ships passed through the locks and artificial lake which makes up the canal. By 2008, the number of ships had reached 14,702 per year which takes about seven hours on average to complete the journey. Control of the Panama Canal remained in the hands of the United States until the Torrijos-Carter Treaties or Panama Canal Treaty was signed in 1977, handing over operational control to the Panamanian government which fully took over in 1999.

Miraflores Locks

If you want to see the locks in operation, the best place to go from Panama City is to travel to the Miraflores Locks. There is a platform that provides an excellent overview of the locks themselves and since ships pass through the canal all the time, you will see them in operation. It does take some time for the locks to fill or release the water inside, but it is a stunning sight to behold.

There are many places along the Panama Canal that you can visit and see the myriad of ships passing between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The beautiful scenery only enhances your visit at the canal. For those who have rented a vehicle, you can drive to the many different locations, including the Miraflores Locks, and see this engineering marvel with your own eyes.

The Panama Canal remains one of the most stunning engineering feats in the modern world and a must-see if you are visiting Panama. Remember, you can rent a car in Panama for a low, affordable price with, which makes it easy to travel to the canal and all other destinations that you want to visit. Be sure to make renting a vehicle a part of your travel package when you visit Panama.

Panama Canal on Wikipedia

Panama Canal

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