Search This Blog

About Me

My photo
Panama, Panama, Panama
Greetings from Panama! My name is Marina Ehrman and I have been a professional tour guide and promoter for Panama Tourism and Travel Company since 2005. I love what I do and am proud to share what my country has to offer. It is filled with endless leisure and commercial attractions, friendly happy people who open their doors to all visitors. Panama is a country of incomparable natural beauty with a variety of tourist attractions, beautiful beaches in the Pacific and Caribbean. The tropical climate year round with its diversified flora, fauna and indigenous groups make it one of the most important of Ecotourism in Latin America. I invite you to know our country’s history, culture and also enjoy the cuisine, folklore and traditions that only a place in the world can provide………Panama! Contact me and I’ll organize your visit and will be happy to welcome you in Panama. For more information on Panama, follow my Facebook page and my blog. Visit
Showing posts with label panama canal tour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label panama canal tour. Show all posts

Itinerary : Panama Canal Full Transit Tour

About 8-9 hours
The tour starts at 7:00AM at the Flamenco Island in Amador Causeway in Panama City. You will check-in at the ship to start this adventure. The ship will cross under the Bridge of the Americas (Puente de Las Americas) and then start your transit through the Miraflores Locks, the first set of locks. While in Miraflores you will ascend 18 meters in two steps. After that you will find yourself transiting the artificial Miraflores Lake which is located just between the Miraflores Locks and Pedro Miguel Locks. You will still be in the Pacific Ocean.

At Pedro Miguel Locks the ship will ascend again another 9 meters in one step. While exiting Pedro Miguel Locks you will transit the Gaillard Cut (Corte Culebra). This area is full of history, is one of the most important points of attraction of this trip. Also, you will witness the works being done for the Canal expansion project.
Then you’ll find Gatun Lake. The second largest man-made lake in the world. You will find the Barro Colorado – Smithsonian Research Station and then you will transit the Gatun Locks the last and only set of locks located in the Atlantic side. At this point you will experience a 26 meters drop in three different steps which will complete your transit through the Panama Canal.
You will dock at Pier 6 in the Colon area where the transportation is provided to return to Panama City.

What's Special about the Panama Canal Full Transit Tour?

  • English/Spanish guide-narrator.
  • Continental Breakfast.
  • Complete Lunch, bottled water and soft drinks
  • Snacks
  • Transportation by bus from Colon to Flamenco Island in Panama City where tour started

Teodoro Roosevelt visit during the Panama Canal construction

The 26th U.S. president, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, was the first president to visit a foreign country. His enthusiasm for the Panama Canal project led him to see it for himself in November 1906.

In anticipation of his visit Panamanians and Zonians alike went into overdrive to make the place presentable. David McCullough writes in his seminal book, Path Between the Seas:,

Advanced preparations involved the efforts of thousands of people. . . . streets were scrubbed, houses were painted or whitewashed, flags were hung from windows and balconies. Programs were printed, schoolchildren were rehearsed in patriotic airs. The Republic of Panama declared his day of arrival a national day of “joy and exalted enthusiasm” and instructed the populace to behave, since “all thinkers, sociologists and philosophers of the universe [will] have their eyes upon us in penetrating scrutiny.”

At Ancon, construction of a big three-story frame hotel called the Tivoli, a structure begun the year before but still far from finished, rushed ahead with all speed as soon as Stevens learned of the visit. One wing of the building was finished and furnished in six weeks.

Once Roosevelt arrived he was not the most obliging to his hosts. At one point he pulled Dr. William Gorgas into his carriage then slipped out the other side with him for an impromptu inspection of Ancon Hospital. Later he would report their medical accomplishments were astounding.


The President toured the bay in a tug boat and then popped in for a surprise visit and lunch at an employee mess hall instead of showing up for the luncheon in his honor at the Tivoli. He took the site-seeing train to Culebra Cut where he walked the railway ties. He was continuously pointing out the things he wanted to see and demanded to see them, even going so far as to inquire of black workers if they had any complaints. In his enthusiasm he inspected everything from dam sites, to steam shovels, to kitchens, to military troops. Teddy’s secret service men frantically scurried around trying to keep up as he dashed around the Canal Zone. Standing at the back of the train, he waved his hat and flashed his toothy smile at the children lined up to wave flags as he passed.

After his whirlwind three-day visit everyone complained of exhaustion. As for Teddy, his only regret was that he didn’t have time to explore Panama’s tropical forest. He wrote in a letter to his son Kermit,

All my old enthusiasm for natural history seemed revived, and I would have given a good deal to have stayed and tried to collect specimens

Panama Canal Locks Gates

The gates which separate the chambers in each flight of locks must hold back a considerable weight of water, and must be both reliable and strong enough to withstand accidents, as the failure of a gate could unleash a catastrophic flood of water downstream.

These gates are of enormous size, ranging from 47 to 82 ft (14.33 to 24.99 m) high, depending on position, and are 7 ft (2.13 m) thick; the tallest gates are required at Miraflores, due to the large tidal range there. The heaviest leaves weigh 662 t (730 short tons; 652 long tons); the hinges themselves each weigh 16.7 t (36,817 lb). Each gate has two leaves, 65 ft (19.81 m) wide, which close to a V shape with the point upstream; this arrangement has the effect that the force of water from the higher side pushes the ends of the gates together firmly. The gates can only be opened when, in the operating cycle, water level on both sides is equal.

The original gate machinery consisted of a huge drive wheel, powered by an electric motor, to which was attached a connecting rod, which in turn attached to the middle of the gate. These mechanisms were replaced with hydraulic struts beginning in January 1998, after 84 years of service. The gates are hollow and buoyant, much like the hull of a ship, and are so well balanced that two 19 kW (25 hp) motors are enough to move each gate leaf; if one motor fails, the other can still operate the gate at reduced speed.
Each chamber also contains a pair of auxiliary gates which can be used to divide the chamber in two; this is designed to allow for the transit of smaller vessels — such as canal tugs — without using the full quantity of water. They were originally incorporated because the overwhelming majority of all ships of the early 1900s were less than 600 ft (183 m) in length, and would therefore not need the full length of the lock chamber. Nowadays these gates are rarely used; instead, small boats such as tour boats, tugs, and yachts are passed in groups.

Panama Canal Administration Building

Tour Suggested
More tour options :

The Panama Canal Administration Building was inaugurated on July 15, 1914, exactly a month before the official opening of the Canal. According to records dating back to the construction era, the entire building cost $879,000, a sizeable sum at the time.

The building is at the top of a hill, prominently overlooking the Canal, the town and port of Balboa, and parts of Panama City. The Administration Building serves as the headquarters of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and houses administrative offices. Of particular interest to tourists are the Administration Building's colorful murals that adorn the ceiling of the inner rotunda. These murals were painted by New Yorker William B. Van Ingen, who is also known for his murals in the U.S. Library of Congress, and the Philadelphia Mint.

They depict the monumental labor involved in building the Canal through four scenes: the Culebra Cut excavation, the Gatun Dam Spillway construction, the Miraflores locks construction and the building of one of the colossal lock gates. These murals commemorate the efforts, courage, and heroism of the multinational workforce dedicated to building the famous canal that united the world's two greatest oceans.

Construction of the Miraflores Locks

The panel depicted here shows construction of a side wall culvert at Miraflores Locks. The huge locks culverts, that direct the flow of water, are large enough to drive a train through. The murals tell the overall story of the building of the Panama Canal in four main scenes, which show Gaillard Cut at Gold Hill, where the Canal passes through the Continental Divide; the building of the spillway of Gatun Dam, which dams the Chagres River to create the Gatun Lake; construction of a lock miter gate; and the Miraflores Locks near the Pacific entrance to the Canal. The frieze below presents a panorama of the excavation of Gaillard Cut. The power of these vividly portrayed scenes has the effect of linking all who view them in an unbroken chain with those engineering masters and the heroic work force that created the Canal.

Gatun Dam Spillway Construction

Construction of the Gatun Dam spillway is shown here. Gatun Lake was formed by the damming of the Chagres River, and the dam's fourteen spillway gates maintain the lake at 85 feet above sea level. At the time of its formation, Gatun Lake was the largest manmade lake in the world
The Culebra Cut

Excavation through the Continental Divide, shown here, required digging down some 270 feet through the lowest of this mountainous area to form the bottom of the Canal in Gaillard Cut. The Canal's original width in the Cut was 300 feet, and trains were used to haul away some 262 million cubic yards of earth and rock from this area.
Restorer's Remarks: "The Panama Canal murals in the Administration Building rotunda are the masterpiece of their creator, artist William B. Van Ingen. The light, impressionist colors reflect the atmospheric quality of Panama and the bold compositions commemorate in pictorial form, the actual building of the Panama Canal. Over the years, mold and dirt settled on the murals necessitating cleanings in 1929, 1932, 1939, 1960 and 1993. During the 1993 conservation effort, over 22,000 cotton swabs were used to clean the murals of dirt and grime, as well as old overpaint that was covering many areas of the mural, particularly the sky of the frieze. The cleaning was accomplished with a combination of cleaners that removed the grime and old varnish, but did not harm the murals. A few areas of touch-up were needed, though not many, as the murals were in good condition despite previous cleanings. The entire project was documented with video and hundreds of photos, both black and white and color, and an extensive written report was prepared in English and Spanish to serve as a guide for any future restorations.

Canal Lock Gate Under Construction

This panel shows a partially completed lock gate. Steel structure 65 feet wide and 7 feet thick, lock gates vary in height from 47 to 82 feet and weigh from 390 to 730 tons. The Canal uses some 80 of these gate leaves at the various locks. Canal Chief Engineer George W. Goethals is credited with having the foresight to ensure that a record of the monumental labor involved in the building of the Canal was preserved in this art form, so that all who come after might not only marvel at what was accomplished and appreciate its grandeur, but might share in the sense of pride and commitment that this magnificent achievement has always evoked, not only in those who built the waterway, but also in all who have been involved, throughout the years, in its operation and administration.

Goethals chose carefully the person who would be entrusted with this special project, selecting William B. Van Ingen of New York, an outstanding artist who had achieved considerable fame for his murals in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. Van Ingen agreed to produce the murals at $25 per square foot, which was the way such work was contracted for in those days, and the finished murals cover about 1,000 square feet. Van Ingen and two assistants, C.T. Berry and Ira Remsen, made charcoal sketches of Canal construction activities for the mural during two visits to Panama in 1914, while on the latter of the construction work. Van Ingen then painted the murals on separate panels in his New York studio. The panels were shipped to Panama and installed over a 3-day period in January 1915 under the artist's personal supervision. The paintings have the distinction of being the largest group of murals by an American artist on display outside the United States.

Van Ingen identified completely with the Canal work. In discussing the murals at that time, he said he had become so caught up in the construction effort that he felt that he, too, was a Canal worker. He said, "I forgot I was an artist and had genuine regret at not being entitled to a number and a brass identification badge." According to Van Ingen, his challenge in producing the murals had been how to portray the magnitude of the Canal construction. In explaining his approach to the task, he said, "I tried to compose into one picture the views to be seen from different standpoints, but united in the mind. It enabled me to combine different periods of time in the construction work." Commenting on his perspective in composing the paintings, he added, "Any success the paintings may have had, came, I believe, from an endeavor to see with the eyes of the man in the ditch."

The murals were restored in 1993 by art conservator Anton Rajer, of Madison, Wisconsin, and rededicated in a special ceremony on September 29, 1993.