Spotlight on the Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a manmade waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Running 77 kilometres through the Isthmus of Panama, it remains one of the biggest and most difficult engineering projects in history.
While it serves a vital role for international trade, the Panama Canal also offers a unique experience for cruise travellers with a number of exciting and colourful destinations. Whether you’re marvelling in wonder at the canal itself or travelling through it to reach your final holiday destination, you’re sure to be awe-struck by this waterway’s beauty.
Construction of the Panama Canal commenced in 1903 and was finalised in 1914. The project was overseen by US President Theodore Roosevelt, with the intention to create a fast and affordable way to ship products between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
The Americans weren’t the first to attempt to build a canal joining these oceans. The French started to build a canal in 1880 but ceased construction after losing over 20,000 workers to malaria and yellow fever throughout the 9-year failed process. The contract was then given to the USA.
Once the Panama Canal was finished, the USA controlled substantial areas on each side of the canal, called the Canal Zone. This caused territorial issues between the USA and Panama, leading to a 1977 treaty to establish the canal as a neutral international waterway. In 1999, all of the Canal Zone was given to Panama.
Offering passengers access to ports in Central America, the Mexican Riviera and the Caribbean, the Panama Canal is brimming with opportunities for adventure. If turquoise-water beaches, lush rainforests and an exciting nightlife sound like a fun way to spend your vacation, a Panama Canal cruise is definitely worth consideration.
Just a few of the standout sites along the Panama Canal include:
- Gatun Lake, a manmade lake in the south of Panama
- Culebra Cut, a 13-kilometre artificial valley that intersects the Continental Divide
- The 3 canal locks: Gatun on the Atlantic, and Pedro Miguel and Miraflores on the Pacific.
The best time to set sail on your cruise of the Panama Canal is after the rainy season ends in November. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
Travellers can experience the Panama Canal with several cruise brands, including Princess Cruises and Holland America Line. Depending on the cruise itinerary you choose, you could also be stopping in Miami, Los Angeles, Costa Rica, the Caribbean, and plenty of other thrilling destinations.
Are you ready to experience one of the greatest engineering achievements of all time? Find your perfect cruise with our friendly and helpful consultants on 1300 769 228 today.
Images courtesy of Getty.