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Panama Canal See/Do

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Limon Bay, Colón, Panama

Just inside the breakwaters of Limón Bay on Panama’s Caribbean coast, vessels of all sizes wait their turn to enter the canal—from tugs to tankers, pleasure craft to cargo ships. At the tip of Fort Sherman, a former American...

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Entre Ave. Herrera y Ave. Amador Guerrero, Calle 5ta, Colón 0301-02965, Panama

As you might expect from a city named for Columbus, Colón has a rich and colorful history. While Panama’s outlet to the Caribbean was once flush with stunning colonial architecture, it declined greatly, with many landmark buildings...

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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...

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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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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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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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The Culebra Cut, which links Gatún Lake with the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks, is a catchy name for a channel that the French started digging. Under the Americans, the canal's most backbreaking work took place here where hills once...

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Panama

As you sail through the narrow Culebra Cut, the 220-square-kilometer (85-square-mile) Soberanía National Park stretches past you to your east. In the 16th century, the Las Cruces Trail in this park was used to transport gold. Today, a...

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Calle Tobago, Paraíso, Panama

The canal's descent back to sea level begins at the Pedro Miguel Lock, whose single step is almost quaint in comparison what's happening in the canal’s other two sets of locks. Yet, so vitally important is it that Presidents Theodore...

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Panama City, Panama

It seems surprising that something so simple—water goes up, water goes down—could be so fascinating and popular. But because it is so easy to visit from Panama City, the Miraflores Locks and its visitor center are by far the most...

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The junior of the canal’s two bridges, the Centennial Bridge was inaugurated in 2004 and the Pan-American Highway was rerouted to pass over it instead of the older Bridge of the Americas. The Centennial is a gorgeous structure whose 128...

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Panama

For 3 million years North and South America were connected by the isthmus that is today Panama. The construction of the canal ruptured geography as well as the flow of traffic for anyone living in the Canal Zone. In 1962, the graceful, mile-long,...

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It can come as a great surprise to many visitors, especially those traveling at night, when their ship exits the canal and skirts around the six-kilometer-long (four-mile-long) Amador Causeway, and suddenly Panama City's forest of high-rises...

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Calz. de Amador 136, Panamá, Panama
The Biomuseo, or Museo de la Biodiversidad, is one of Panama City’s contemporary gems and the first Latin American project by Frank Gehry. As befits the architect’s unusual and innovative eye, the museum is itself an abstract...