A ship enters the Panama canal locks at Agua Clara

Panama Canal – the locks at Agua Clara

One of the more impressive constructions to visit in Panama is the locks of the Panama Canal at Agua Clara.

With the world reopening, I had my vaccines, and I delivered my next book (about managing a remote workforce) to the publisher, I was back in Central America to meet clients and friends.

On my most recent trip to Panama, I wanted finally to see the world-famous locks at Agua Clara of the Canal. On my earlier trips to the country, every time I wanted to see the canal up close and personal had failed.

Do I need to introduce the canal? It’s one of the most important waterways in the world. It gives ships a shortcut between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. It took France and the USA almost 50 years to construct. I’ve very much enjoyed the book of David McCullough, “The path between the seas.” The (large) book explains in detail the struggle to accomplish this.

A tugboat assists a ship in the Panama Canal

Visiting the Panama Canal

There are basically three places where you can easily see the Panama Canal:

  • At the pacific side, near Albrook in Panama City
  • At the atlantic side, near Colon
  • Halfway the canal

The visitor center in Panama city remained closed, due to COVID-19. The visitor center at Agua Clara, near Colon, reopened. It had limited capacity for visitors, but I managed to get access.

The trip by car from Panama City to Agua Clara takes about an hour. A well-maintained toll highway connecting Colon with the city brings you there. During COVID, they allow only 8 visitors at the same time at the locks. So make your reservation as soon as you know this will be part of the plans.

Wokers in the locks of Agua Clara in Panama
Workers at the Agua Clara make sure the Laust Maersk is secured while the water is lowered in the locks.
A ship being pulled by a tugboat is pulled in the Agua Clara locks of the Panama Canal on its way to the Atlantic Ocean