Visiting Panama and not knowing about the Panama Canal is, simply put, a mistake. The Panama Canal is considered the eighth wonder of the modern world. It is a place that attracts a great amount of attention, both from locals as well as visitors, for the dimensions of its unique infrastructure. It truly is a feat of engineering, and to be able to observe these imposing ships crossing two seas, is certainly something admirable.
But the Panama Canal is more than that. From its gestation in the minds of visionaries, until today, it has marked a before and after in history, not only of Panama, but of the world. From difficult moments that were full of challenges, such as in the beginning of construction at the hands of the French, all the way to great triumphs with the culmination of the expansion a few years ago by Panamanian hands.
Brief history of the Panama Canal
The history of the Panama Canal is as ours as it is the worlds. Here, battles have been fought against insignificant beings; such as mosquitoes, and those small giants that hit a large part of the population of tropical climates have now been defeated.
But the great heroes of the Panama Canal are not the ones recorded in history books, or on television, and there are few records of them. It is those men and women, Panamanians and foreigners who have worked since the beginning to build that utopia that united two seas through a strip of land. They are those anonymous heroes who are still working today to maintain this reality called the Panama Canal.
The first time on the Panama Canal
The first time you visit The Panama Canal is never forgotten. No matter how many photos or videos you may have seen before, none compare to witnessing what a triumph for humanity it is up close. We have even managed to tame the rainforest, change the course of rivers, create lakes, for the global benefit. As well as professes the motto of the shield of Panama, “Pro mundi benefit” or “For the benefit of the world“, in English.
That is why when you arrive at one of its visitor centers, either in the Atlantic or the Pacific, the emotion is the same. We know that we are going to witness something incredible, which has changed the world, not only its way of doing business, but the world map itself.
At the Miraflores Visitor Center of the Panama Canal, they offer a comprehensive tour, where they not only tell you their amazing story, but also how this great engineering feat works. Although we are not technical about the subject, we can better understand how everything works. After the explanation, we all go to the top of the route, to see the boats transit through the Canal.
There is no way of telling which boat one is going to see. It can be anything from a sailboat, a cruise ship, to even a tanker and some people with a lot of luck, have even witnessed submarines gliding along the Canal track.