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Agua Clara Visitor Center at the Panama Canal

agua_clara_visitor_ctr1 I was recently in Panama and had the opportunity to make a stop at the Agua Clara Visitor Center and visit the Panama Canal.  If you're doing a day trip to Colón, (Atlantic side of Panama) I would highly recommend you make time in your schedule to stop here for a quick visit.

This is such a great place to see this engineering marvel in action.  Not only does this visitor center give you a front row seat to see the Panama Canal in action, but the highlight is that this particular set of locks (Agua Clara) are part of the new Canal expansion.  The supersize container ships (called Neopanamax ships) coming through are just really impressive.  To give you an idea, the older set of locks have ships passing through with about 5,000 containers while the new expanded locks accommodate ships that carry 10,000 to 15,000 containers!

The facility has a projection room where they show you a short film on the history of the canal and everything that went into the expansion.  I really enjoyed learning about the history but was really impressed by the coordinated environmental effort to protect and conserve the flora and fauna during the expansion.  The National Environmental Authority put animal rescue teams into to place to rescue and relocate the wildlife that were in the excavation path.

I thought the layout of the facility was really nicely done.  In addition to the observation deck, there is also a gift shop, 2 restaurants, and an ecological walking path.  The observation deck has plenty of space and the best of all it's not crowded. This center offers some stunning panoramic view of the Lake Gatun and the locks. You'll have the opportunity to watch some of the world's biggest ships transit the canal.





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