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[ Panama City ] Boquete ] Puerto Vieja Sarapiqui ] Monteverdi ] Rincon ] Rincon2 ] Omatepe ] Granada ] Granada2 ] Leon ] Tegucigalpa ] Roatan ] Roatan2 ] Copan ] Antigua ]

Across the Panama Canal to the Carib Coast
We begin in Central America's southernmost country, strolling through Old Panama before heading north to Boquete hidden away on the flanks of the Baru volcano. Reaching the shores of the Caribbean, we take a ferry to the archipelago of Bocas de Toros where we snorkel, go dolphin-watching or simply relax. Crossing into Costa Rica, we explore Monte Verde cloud forest in search of the elusive Quetzal and listen to the rumbles of Arenal Volcano.

Day 1 - Panama City

After a 28 hour journey from home we eventually arrived in Panama City to 27C and reports that it had been a very hot day.

The next day, refreshed after a good night's sleep we ventured out on a walking tour of the city, to the accompaniment of thunder and lightening and torrential rain.


Plaza de la Independencia

where Panamanian independence was declared November 3 1903



Colourful balcony decoration


Panama Cathederal

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City Hall


Kuna tribeslady

The 'socks' are finely beaded bangles

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Yes, it's still raining


The stark contrast between renovated and original buildings.  The problem is that few people want to live in buildings of character, they prefer the modern tower blocks


Church of San Jose and it's golden altar

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The old and new Panama at Paseo las Bovedas


Church of San Francisco


The Palace de las Garzas also known as the 'White House'

The residency of the President


Two white herrons parade on the front verranda


The Panama Canal

Our main reason for visiting Panama was to see the canal, or at least one end of it at the Pacific Ocean side.

80km long, nearly 14,000 ships a year pass through the canal each year.  Ships pay according to their weight, with a big tanker or cargo vessel paying $165,000 for a single passage..



The canal has three sets of double locks. We visited the Miraflores.


Ships pass throuigh the locks in one direction in the morning and the other in the afternoon.  These ships are travelling from the Carribean and this is the last set of locks before they exit to the Pacific Ocean, having saved some $1.5m by using the canal.


The locks are double in that two ships can pass through each lock independently


Huge tyres in containers


Ships pass through under there own power and the 'mules' control the lateral position of the vessel within the lock.  This ship had just 50cm clearance on each side of the 33.5m lock.
The ship drops around 30 feet in each lock and in the process 3 million gallons of water are released to the next lock.

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This roll-on roll-off car transporter from Singapore carried it's own massive loading ramp.  This ship was built specifically for passage through the canal.


Passage complete the ship steams off towards the ocean and heads home to Singapore



...and the process starts again


Laurie enjoyed the very good museum which described the building of the canal and the eventual handover from USA to Panama in December 1999.  This is a model of one of the lock doors which weigh over 500 tons each and are still the 90 year old originals in use daily.


At the Balboa Statue



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[ Panama City ] Boquete ] Puerto Vieja Sarapiqui ] Monteverdi ] Rincon ] Rincon2 ] Omatepe ] Granada ] Granada2 ] Leon ] Tegucigalpa ] Roatan ] Roatan2 ] Copan ] Antigua ]

                    Copyright 2006 KEBLAWBEN - Laurie & Kairen Wilson. All rights reserved

Many of the images on this page are  copyright Laurie Wilson/Alamy

Stock photography by Laurie Wilson at Alamy
This page was last updated on 31-12-2006.