Observation Centre Canal Expansion

Observation Centre Canal Expansion, Colon: Address, Phone Number, Observation Centre Canal Expansion Reviews: 4.5/5

Observation Centre Canal Expansion

Observation Centre Canal Expansion
4.5
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
51 reviews
Excellent
30
Very good
19
Average
2
Poor
0
Terrible
0

NieSam
Maine923 contributions
The Observation Center has a nice viewing platform that allows you to see ships entering and exiting the Agua Clara Locks. It can get very crowded making it hard to get a spot close to the fence.

There’s an informational video that’s broadcast frequently, a small gift shop, a snack bar, lots of seating and clean restrooms. You can get a great idea of how the locks work while here.

If you have to choose between the two Observation Centers, you might want to go to the Miraflores Locks instead. It is a state of the art facility with a four story museum, a large, raised viewing platform allowing a much better view of ships going through the locks, a large gift shop, a paved parking lot and an IMAX Theater. You can see what the locals mean when they say that Panama City receives the bulk of government spending, when compared to Colon.
Written March 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

M&MYoung
35 contributions
We visited here as part of a cruise ship day trip. There is a video in various languages that plays giving tonnes of background information and there are announcements about when each one is starting, it's worth a watch. The viewing platforms get crowded at times but there is plenty of space and it's easy to see ships entering the lock and moving through, all accompanied by a commentary. It was very educational and entertaining
Written February 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

SueWolves53
Wolverhampton, UK301 contributions
From the platforms at the centre you are able to see the ships enter the canal being moved by the tugs. Not always able to get good photos due to the fences, better in some parts than others.
There is an informative short video which they do keepletting you know when one is starting over the loud speaker.
Ther is a small stall and cafe.
Written February 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bob G
San Fernando, Chile12 contributions
Family
Ok, If you are not from Panama and don't know the area you are going to get lost. Get good directions beforehand and know where you are going. COLON CAN BE DANGEROUS. The center itself was nice but apart from looking at the new canal there isn't much in the way of a museum or information like at the Miraflores Locks. The nature trail is nice, open your eyes and you will see wildlife. The negative part of our experience is that we went with my two girls and my niece. All are Panamanian but because we are white the woman who sold the tickets didn't believe us. She actually interviewed the kids about where they go to school and asked questions about Panama. It was an embarassment. I finally paid the tourist price for myself because I was tired of the stupidity. The irony of it is that the father of my niece (who was with us) was the Director of Public Relations for the canal and designed the center as well as the film that they show. His name is the first in the credits. Really a silly experience.
Written February 11, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

LaDulceVida
Singapore, Singapore13 contributions
Solo
The trail leading to the Observation Centre was not easy to find. The paved road from Colon had disappeared and I was on gravel and the GPS unit of my rental car was of no help. After passing the parking area for those working on the canal expansion, look for a gravel track heading south. There is a booth/kiosk and a gantry at the head of this track. There are a few blue signboards along the track to reassure you that you are on the right track. If you end up at the Gatun Locks visitor centre, you have gone too far and missed the left-turn. The long and bumpy track then cuts through jungle and it finally opens up onto a parking lot and landscaped grounds.

I went on a Wednesday and arrived late in the afternoon. It could have been near closing time as there were no other visitor except for myself and I only saw a couple of staff. The cafeteria was closed and the restrooms were locked.

There is a ticket booth and turnstile but these were not manned and I just walked in free although there is a tariff board above the ticket booth. The place was clean and well-kept but it is so out-of-the-way that probably it is not on the usual tour bus itinerary.

The observation deck has a great view of the new locks under construction. The scale of the project is just awesome! However, that's all there is to do there - look the the construction site or catch a glimpse of ships approaching or departing from the Gatun Locks channel.

Considering that it is well over 90km from Panama City, it may not be worthwhile for some to make the trek there. The attraction for me was the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the "guts" of the locks in a dry state. Once they let the water in, that's it. The bulk of this engineering marvel will be under water and there will be nothing much to see.
Written June 19, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ChristineC_831
Santa Cruz, CA280 contributions
Couples
I'm a well traveled soul of varied travel tastes. I transited the canal in a yacht so the surroundings were no surprise. I'd say travel by rental car was by far my most unpleasant experience in this bio diverse region. If you seek danger and squalor look no further than Colon. Driving is NOT for the faint of heart, and being able to blend-in is almost impossible.
Written January 26, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mr. A
Grayson, GA97 contributions
Couples
This is a place to spend a couple of hours to get a full idea of the importance of the Panama Canal. There is a restaurant, walking trails and a fantastic view area of the new locks, as well a the old locks. You ca almost reach out and touch ships entering the new locks.
Written February 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brent H
Toronto, Canada417 contributions
Couples
Truly an amazing experience, fantastic modern facility, quite busy watching the ships brought through by the tugs was incredible
Highly recommend this if you are in the area
Written February 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

249edward
Chatham, UK56 contributions
The observation centre gives the visitors the chance to admire the expanse of Gatun lake .the panaramic views ,vessels passing to and fro and the ships anchored for the all clear to move into the locks Its difficult to apprehend this man made lake is 164sq mls and was built in the early 1900s with a depth of over 30ft.
There are 2 partially covered in platforms. the ist over looks the lake and the 2nd is to the right overlooking the new expansion locks.And its breathtaking as the ships pass through the locks into the Carribean.
It does get crowded and when it rains it rains hard.
The centre makes the visitor comfortable ..There are plenty of seats Has a cafe/res,toilets,a gift shop and a small theatre showing the history of the canal.
going back to when the French started and abandoned this project in the late 1800s due to loss of life..The rest is there to see. This centre is once seen never forgotten.
Written December 8, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Luv2TravelFarNWide
Phoenix, AZ1,197 contributions
Couples
Newly opened and really a nice facility with plenty of outdoor viewing options to watch the huge ships traverse one set of locks. Hard to believe just how big these PanaMax freighter behemoths really are. And the new huge cruise ships are frighteningly big. And you're close enough to see them clearly.

In addition there's a snack bar, as well as a restaurant, a very small gift shop, and a theatre where they play a documentary about the construction of the new locks. FYI, the English version is played on a very limited basis, so call before you go. Also, they sometimes "close" the center for large cruise ship groups, so again, call before you show up.

Overall, it's definitely worth the stop. Having just completed a 5-day transit on a small cruise ship (on the old locks), this visitor center was the ONLY way we would ever want (or get) to see the new locks. Not going on one of the monster ships.
Written April 10, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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