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Panama Canal Cruising and Gatun Lake

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Gatun Lake, Panama

In the 17th century, the pirate Henry Morgan traveled the Chagres River to attack Panama City. In the early 20th century, the Chagres River was dammed to create the 53-kilometer-long (33-mile-long) Gatún Lake, at the time the largest...

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Barro Colorado Island, Panama

In reality, the 1,620-hectare (4,000-acre) Barro Colorado Island is a hilltop. Or, at least it was until the creation of Gatún Lake turned it into the largest island in the Canal Zone, one where the Smithsonian Institute operates a research...

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Gamboa, Panama

Named for a quincelike fruit, the town of Gamboa lies at the spot where the Chagres River enters Gatún Lake. A single-lane causeway with a lone stoplight helps make this tropical village feel like small-town America. And, for a long time,...

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Colón, Panama

The Panama Canal Railway has a rich past—literally so, as it was built after California's gold rush to haul spoils back to the East Coast of the United States. Ships would arrive with gold from California, and later the Klondike as well, and...

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Gatun Locks, Colón, Panama

On the canal’s Caribbean side, the Gatún Locks lift ships 26 meters (85 feet), with barely a foot of clearance on either side of the walls for some vessels. The double gates which let in more than 95 million liters (25 million...