Thursday, 26 January 2012

Panama Canal

The next day, we decided to do something a little more touristy and headed for the Panama Canal, which is just outside the city.

Boats only go through the locks for a few hours in the morning and a few in the afternoon and this depends on which direction the boat is travelling through the canal - I.e to the Pacific or the Caribbean.

As we arrived we watched the last few giant cargo boats going through the locks. The place is completely set up for tourists with viewing platforms and overhead commentary on what's happening, so I soon understood what was going on! You can actually go on a boat tour through 1 of the locks and experience it that way, which sounds pretty good, but it's costs about $500 for the privilege!

There is also a museum on site and it was actually really interesting to learn all about the history and how it was made.

At the moment they are working on building a second canal that will fit boats through that are 10 - 20x bigger (can't remember exactly) than what can already be accommodated, so its a massive task. They are spending something like 6 million/billion on completing it by 2014 (100 years to the day after the original canal opened). Panamains are pretty proud of the canal and when we chatted to any locals, (no matter who it was, taxi drivers etc), they would get really patriotic and tell you that it was an amazing source of income for the country - which obvs it is!