Review: Panama Canal – Miraflores Locks

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Introduction: First Class to Panama on Air China
Review: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Marriott South
Review: Fast and Furious Japanese Grill – Irving
Review: United Airlines (737-900) First Class – Dallas to Houston
Review: United Club – Houston International Airport Terminal E
Update: American Express Centurion Lounge Houston
Review: Air China (777-300) First Class – Houston to Panama
Review: Sortis Hotel and Casino – Panama City
Review: Marriott Executive Apartments – Panama City
Review: Panama Canal – Miraflores Locks
Review: Tocumen Royal Saloon Lounge
Review: Copa Club – Tocumen International Airport
Review: United Airlines (737-800) Economy Plus – Panama to Houston

I quickly completed my walk through of the Marriott Executive Apartments so that I could get to the Panama Canal. The canal had long been on my list of places to visit. I was giddy at the thought of seeing so spectacular in person. I requested an Uber Espanol because it was cheaper than Uber English (who knew that was a thing) and I was soon on my way. The Miraflores Locks, which is one of three locks of the Panama Canal, was the closest location for me to visit. After a 15 minute ride, I had arrived.

Panama Canal Miraflores Locks
Panama Canal Miraflores Locks

The first thing that I noticed was that the buildings were showing their age. It appeared as many of the buildings were the original structures. The taxi stand/drop off area sat below the main building of the visitor center so I took the escalator up.

Panama Canal Miraflores Locks

The ticket booth was to the right of the main entrance. As I approached the counter, the clerk said something in Spanish. I replied in English and the next words out of her mouth were “$15 dollars”. Nothing more, nothing less. I found it interesting that foreigners have to pay so much more than residents.

Panama Canal Miraflores Locks
Panama Canal Miraflores Locks

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I will break the visitor center down by floors.  I will start from the bottom and work my way up.

Ground Floor

I made my way inside and was met by a security guard. He ushered me through the metal detector wished me a pleasant visit.  There was a gift shop and some art on display.  I did not take any pictures here because of the security guard.

1st Floor

The first floor housed the center’s administration section.  With it being a Sunday, this level barren and desolate.  Again, no pictures because of security.

2nd Floor

The restaurant is to the left of the stairs/elevators. The interior of the restaurant was beautiful. I was really impressed by the floor to ceiling windows.

Panama Canal Miraflores Locks
Panama Canal Miraflores Locks Restaurant
Panama Canal Miraflores Locks
Panama Canal Miraflores Locks Restaurant

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As I entered, the host asked if I was joining them for the buffet or for drinks on the observation deck. I started out with drinks and joined the small in watching a huge car carrier pass in front of us.

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Panama Canal Miraflores Locks
Panama Canal Miraflores Locks Restaurant Terrace

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After the ship passed, I went inside for a quick bite to eat. I asked if they had Sancocho (traditional soup). The waiter looked puzzled and asked me if I was sure (I assume because it was really hot outside). I confirmed my order and it was delivered a few minutes later. The soup contained chicken, potatoes, corn, and a few other vegetables. It was delicious! I would not make eating soup a habit in July but this was well worth it.

Panama Canal Miraflores Locks
Panama Canal Miraflores Locks Sancocho Station
Panama Canal Miraflores Locks
Sancocho!!!

3rd Floor

The Miraflores Hall was located on this level.  It was roped off due to it being Sunday.

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4th Floor/Observation Deck

The observation deck was directly in front of the elevators.  There was quite a few tourists snapping pictures of the car carrier that was transiting the locks.

Panama Canal Miraflores Locks
Panama Canal Miraflores Locks Observation Deck

The locks were a sight to witness.  The shipped took about one hour to pass through the locks.  There was about 12 inches between the ship and the locks’ walls.  The entire process was very smooth.

Panama Canal Miraflores Locks

Panama Canal Miraflores Locks
Panama Canal Miraflores Locks

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While the ship passed through, an announcer gave visitors information about the locks.  I found it interesting that the some ships pay a $750,000 USD toll to use the canal.  The announcer stated that it was cheaper than taking the long way around.  He also informed of the second set of locks in the distance for larger ships.

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There was a photo booth just outside of the observation deck.  It was your typical tourist destination photo where guests take a picture and choose the background that they like.

Panama Canal Miraflores Locks

Final Word

I enjoyed the two hour visit to the Panama Canal. I was amazed at how smoothly the ships pass through the locks. The skill from the workers at the canal was something that I had not witness before. Even though the price was a little steep, I would definitely visit the canal again.

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