(prensa.com) That day the sun was shining. It was Sunday, noon, and the Miraflores Visitors Center had already opened its doors to the public. The children ran from side to side, not wanting to miss the passage of huge vessels that traverse the Panama Canal locks.
“What luck!”, He was heard to say to anyone here. Yes, “lucky” to see the action of a ship in transit through the Miraflores Locks, located on the Pacific side of Panama Canal.
That Sunday the roof of the visitor center was filled to see the passage of one ship, one of the 14 000 vessels, on average, pass through the Canal annually, according to official records.
Each ship takes an average of 8 to 10 hours to transit the Canal, which is 80 kilometers long from deep Atlantic waters to the deep waters of the Pacific.
And the time it takes a boat to pass any of the three locks on the waterway (Miraflores, Pedro Miguel and Gatun) varies depending on the size of the boat. However, in the case of the Miraflores Locks on average between 30 and 40 minutes.
So that was the approximate time it delayed those on the roof of the visitor center, one Sunday.
The scene is repeated day after day in this place, reaching a daily average of thousand visitors, domestic and foreign. On weekends the figure rises to 3 000 people per day, according to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).
Channel for ‘inside’
In the Miraflores Visitors Center, in addition to the terraces to observe the passage of ships, is a souvenir shop and showroom.
In the room of “History” provides information on the history, technological innovations and health initiatives that accompanied the construction of the Canal, in operation for 96 years.
Another showroom is “Water: Source of Life”, which talks about the importance of water, biodiversity and care Canal watershed.
While in the room “The Canal in Action” shows how the waterway. There also is a “topographical model” through which you can make a virtual transit from ocean to ocean.
And in the room “The canal in the world” is disclosed the importance of the Canal to world trade, whose path has been more than a million ships.
The “ship million” transited the waterway on Saturday September 4, 2010, at 6:45 am, as recorded in the records of the ACP. Fue un buque granelero de nombre Fortune Plum. Was a bulk carrier Fortune named Plum.
On challenges and projects
LA PRENSA | Archivo PRESS | Archive
The visitor center has opened a new hall on 30 November. Its name: “The canal in the world.” In this area, visitors will find information on the market Canal expansion program of the waterway and the future of the route.
Learn about the progress of the canal expansion helps to understand why this project is located in the top 10 investment works, infrastructure, Latin America and the world, according to a KPMG analysis released last August.
Not for nothing is a work of $ 5 billion 250 million that will allow passage of larger vessels (Panamax) of those who cross the road today.
The third set of locks to be built should be ready in 2014, when the Canal will be 100 years of operations.
As the work progresses, the passage of ships will not stop. So that stakeholders can shop around the visitor center.
Although from a place no one can see the development of the expansion work, which began in 2007 – yes you can see the operation of a lock and get information on the evolution of this engineering work.
Of interest: Virtual Tour: http://www.vtoursonline.com/acp/IndexS.htm
The visitor center is located on the east side of the Miraflores locks in the Canal area. Reached by Gaillard Avenue in Panama City.
• Monday to Sunday (including holidays)
• Box Office: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
• Exhibition halls: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
– $ 3.00 for nationals and residents and $ 8.00 for non-residents (includes exhibition halls, terrace, café, restaurant and gift shop.)
– Admission is free for nationals and residents who want to get to the terrace, cafe and gift shop. Non-residents must pay: $ 5.00 (adults), $ 2.50 (senior) and $ 3.00 (students).
– $1.50 para los nacionales y residentes y $4.00 para los no residentes (con documentación). – $ 1.50 for nationals and residents and $ 4.00 for non-residents (with documentation).
Students and children:
– $ 2.00 for nationals and residents and $ 4.00 for non-residents (with documentation).