The Miraflores Visitors Centre (CVM)
-, Panama Canal, Panama
www.pancanal.com - 276-8325 or 276-8449
The Miraflores Visitors Centre (CVM) Panama Canal Reviews
Very interesting museum about the locks, the canal, history, etc.. May 04, 2009
This is the ultimate interesting place to visit for everyone who's interested in the Panama Canal. Even if you're not interested in the Canal, you must visit it I would say when visitin Panama City! When you are there, I am sure you will become interested!
Inside the Miraflores Visitors Centre you have different halls and observation decks.
There is a History Hall, here you find a lot of information about the construction of the Panama Canal. Here are honored hundreds of people who made the construction possible.
Another one is the Water Hall. Here is explained to you how important water is, conservation of the environment and biodiversity and how the Panama Canal "company" manage the inter oceanic zone.
There is the "Canal in action" Hall. Here's explained in an amusing way how the Canal and the locks actually work.
And the last hall is the "Canal in the world" Hall. Here they give you information about how important this canal is in the world for the world trade. The trade routes are described for instance and many more interesting facts.
There is a Theater where a video is showed about the Panama Canal.
And last, but definitely not least is the Observation Deck on the roof. Here you have a great overview on the locks from above. The ships are passing very close and you see how the locks work. When the ship is passing, there is giving some information about the ship, where it's from and how much they payed to get through the Panama Canal.
Information about the Panama Canal and locks:
It took 11 years to build the 80 kilometer long Panama Canal, which was build by many Caribbean and South European people under French command. During the construction over 152,9 million cubic meters of material were removed! Most workers died because of Malaria or other diseases. The Panama Canal officially opened on the 15th of August 1914.
The ships pay toll to go through the Canal, the amount depends on the weight of the ship. When I was there, there was a ship that paid US$250,000 to get through! But they save millions in time and fuel not to go around the American Continent. In 1928 Richard Halliburton payed 36 cents of toll to swim the canal, this took him 10 days to complete. On the service to go through the canal is a limited number of ships. The reservation for transit is up to a year in advance. If you don´t make it in time, you have a big problem. On the 12th of May 1963 they installed fluorescent lights among the route, so round the clock transit was possible. The first half part of a day ships are allowed to go through from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, the second half part of the day vice versa. Since the opening, almost one million ships came through the canal!
From the 31st of December 1999, the State of Panama has the full responsibility and income from the Panama Canal. Before this was all for the USA. The Canal has three sets of locks, each with two lanes. The locks bring the ships to an altitude of 26 meters above sea level. Every time about 197 million liters of fresh water will be used for each lockage and flush into the sea. The ships are assisted by locomotives that keep the ships in position during the trip through the lock chambers. It depends on the size of the ships, but they can be assisted from 4 to 8 locomotives.
Some other interesting facts:
Top countries by origin and destination of cargo:
5. South Korea
Maximum dimensions allowed in the locks:
Beam: 32.31 meters (106 feet)
Length: 294.13 meters (965 feet)
Draft: 12.04 (39.5 feet) in tropical fresh water
Part of the 5 months Latin America 2009 travel blog
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