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Panama Canal

Taking over thirty years to construct from start to finish and costing almost $382 million to complete, the Panama Canal is one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Now over one hundred years since its completion, more than 13,000 ships pass through each year and this is due to increase when work to widen the lanes is finished at the end of 2015. The Panama Canal takes almost 8,000 miles off a voyage going round the southern tip of South America and allows easy access from east to west and vice versa. Marvel at this massive engineering feat or sit back and enjoy the views of beautiful Gatun Lake and emerald jungles.

Considered by many to be the eighth wonder of the world, it's not surprising that travellers across the globe aspire to one day witness this marvel of engineering up close. The result of several nations' historic efforts, a Panama Canal cruise is truly a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, best experienced by sailing through on an unforgettable cruise. Whether you appreciate the miraculous engineering that went into the making of the Panama Canal or the thrill of cruising a historically significant region of the world. The massive locks control the level of water in the Panama Canal enabling ships to pass through this 51-mile "water bridge". This entire trip takes about nine hours. Ships are lifted and lowered a total of 170 feet as they pass from the Caribbean to the Pacific, crossing over the Isthmus of Panama and straight through the Continental Divide.

Colon is the second largest city in Panama, situated on the Atlantic coast at the Caribbean end of the Panama Canal. It was made a duty-free port in 1953 and is the world's largest Free Trade Zone outside Hong Kong. The colourful history of this Caribbean province is shaped by stories of scavenging pirates lurking in these waters, and gold rush 49ers braving the Panama jungles to seek riches in California. Today, tourists are the bargain hunters in Colon, and there is great shopping and savings to be explored.

Fuerte Amador, situated at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal is a manmade peninsula extending out into the Pacific Ocean. A major cruise hub, this bustling port provides a great launching point for further exploration. From here, take in the sights of Panama City, the region's dynamic trade capital.

Panama Canal Factfile

  • The length of the Panama Canal from shoreline to shoreline is about 40 miles (65 km) and from deep water in the Atlantic (more specifically, the Caribbean Sea) to deep water in the Pacific about 50 miles (82 km)
  • Ships sailing between Europe and East Asia or Australia can save as much as 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km) by using the canal
  • From its opening in 1914 until 1979, the Panama Canal was controlled solely by the United States, which built it. In 1979, however, control of the canal passed to the Panama Canal Commission
  • $2 Billion in Tolls are Collected Annually
  • The Panama Canal was expanded for bigger ships in 2016, the original canal locks are 110 feet (33 meters) wide and ten times as long.
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