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“A must.”

Miraflores Visitor Center
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$130.00*
and up
Panama City Tour And The Canal
Ranked #3 of 172 things to do in Panama City
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
66 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“A must.”
Reviewed April 2, 2013

If you are in Panama then it is a must to see the locks. Amazing seeing the big ships going through. Nice video to see and a small museum. Buffet available in the restaurant which is excellent but very pricey for Panama. You can also eat a la carte which is cheaper. The big ships are passing through either from 9 am for a while and again at around 2 pm.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank MalagaBill77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
55 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“very well done”
Reviewed April 2, 2013

Yep, it's an engineering marvel. The visitor center is well done, sections on the history and construction of the new locks are very interesting.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank KuwaitiBob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
70 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Must see”
Reviewed April 2, 2013

We went here by taxi and once you arrive you have to walk some stairs. We wanted to see the locks, we skipped the museum. Come before noon as the chance is very big that after noon, no ships will enter the locks to go to the Pacific / Panama canal.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank Bernard B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
36 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Spectacular View and History of the Panama Canal”
Reviewed April 2, 2013

This is a must see when visiting Panama City, Panama or Colon.
You can drive, take a cab or take a tour bus from one end to the other stopping at many historical locations including the Mira Flores Locks.
The museum has amazing pictures and artifacts from the original French excavation, the American's excavations through to completion.
There is also history of how the the water is pumped in and out of the locks and how the locks were constructed.
Even covering the new construction of the new locks and how they are three times bigger then the original locks but only use one third the water.
All water used for the locks at both ends comes only from the Lake (Gatun). Nineteen rivers and stream flow into Lake Gatun to feed the use of the locks and the power generation plant at Gatun Dam.
How the engineers removed half a mountain (under a seasonal time limit) at Culebra Cut to how many French (26,000) and Americans (6,000) died of Malaria (there was no cure for Malaria at the time) while construction continued.
This is truly one of the many engineering wonders of the world.
And, at the time, the largest engineering and construction of a concrete structure ever undertaken in the world and was the largest until the construction of the Hoover Dam in 1930.
We also took a boat through the Canal and what an amazing trip.
We started at Panama City drove across the Amador Causeway (Calz de Amador) out to the three islands (Isla Naos, Perico, Flamenco).
Where we took a boat from Isla Flamenco and circled the Amador Causeway that was built out of rock that was dug out of the mountains making the canal.
We continued on passing by Ancon Hill where all the military personnel lived while the US occupied and controlled the canal.
Passed under the 'Bridge of Americas' at the City of Balboa (Port of Balboa) which was much larger and higher then we expected but really needed to be (to allow all the large container ships through/underneath).
Then through the Mira Flores Locks (where the Museum is located) and then through the Pedro Miguel Locks onto the 50 mile long Lake Gatun (which is a artificial man made lake) through all the construction at Culebra Cut (they are widening the Canal to allow the Post Panamax Ships through the Canal) to the other end where the Gatun Locks and the Port of Colon and the Atlantic Ocean are.
The Culebra Cut is where the engineers are removing a side of a mountain ridge.
The unique position of the Peninsula where the Canal crosses is backwards from what you would expect.
You normally think if you traveled from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean you would travel from West to East but in the case of the Panama Canal that is reverse because of the big J-shaped hook of the land mass.
So you actually travel East (Pacific Ocean) to West (Atlantic Ocean). Yes, I had to look at the map more then once to get a mental picture of Panama and the canals path and location.
The locks (sets of two) are doubled up so traffic can travel both ways through the Canal. With vessels being raised 85 feet at each end to access Lake Gatun.
The Gatun Locks are triple (three sets of of double locks) and the Mira Flores Locks are double sets of two with the nearby Pedro Miguel Locks being single set of two locks.
The Museum is reasonably priced as is the boat ride through the Canal.
It takes about 30 minutes to drive to the Mira Flores Locks from Panama City and an hour and a half from Colon. And the tour of the multistory Museum takes about about half a day max.
There is a great big balcony overlooking the Locks for everyone to watch the marvels of the Locks functions and how fast they work.
The boat trip through the Canal is a all day affair.
Start early and enjoy all the wonderful sights and weather!
You really need to stay a week to see everything historical about Panama City!

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
Thank yesiknowjack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
23 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“interesting museum”
Reviewed April 1, 2013

The museum and movie were very well done and very interesting, but on the small/short side. It was great to see boats pass through the locks while everything was explained.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank AudreyK1986
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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