The Panama Canal is a world-renowned engineering marvel, and a visit to this incredible feat of human ingenuity is a must for any traveler. The most popular way to experience the canal is to visit the Miraflores Visitor Center, located just a 15-minute drive from downtown Panama City. Here, visitors can observe the locks in action from the observation deck of an interactive museum, while large cruise ships and cargo vessels pass through. For those looking for a more immersive experience, a 1-hour drive from the capital will take you to the Agua Clara locks near the city of Colón.
This tour combines several activities and allows you to get up close and personal with some of the mega-ships that traverse the canal. Visiting the Panama Canal is not a cheap endeavor, but it's an exceptional attraction that can't be seen anywhere else in the world. At the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center, visitors can learn about the history of the canal and witness real ships passing through its lock system. It's also worth noting that until 1999, the canal was managed by the United States, and thousands of workers died during its construction.
The Gatún locks are located 80 kilometers from Panama City in Colón, a city with a questionable reputation when it comes to safety. However, if you're just visiting to see the canal and return to the capital without wandering around too much, you should be fine. No matter if you've never planned to visit Panama or don't know anything about the country, experiencing the Panama Canal is an unforgettable experience. While visiting Miraflores Visitor Center is an easy introduction to this incredible feat of engineering, there's no better way to experience it than being on a ship that crosses its locks.