2014 marks the 100th year anniversary of the Panama Canal. Known as one of the world’s greatest engineering feats, the Panama Canal is 80 km long stretching through the country from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. It took more than 75,000 workers over ten years to complete. Finally, on August 15th, 1914, the SS Ancon officially inaugurated the Panama Canal.
Currently around 14,000 vessels pass through the canal each year and since it opened over 1 million ships have made the journey through the canal.
Ships passing through pay according to their weight. The average fee is around US$30,000. The most expensive ship to pass through was the Norwegian Pearl cruise ship, which paid US$ 376,000 in 2010. This fee has since been surpassed. The cheapest fare was US$0.36 paid by Rich Halliburton in 1928 when he swam through the canal!
Panama took over full operation, administration and maintenance of the canal on December 31st 1999 and they are currently working on a US$5.25 billion expansion project.
You can visit the Miraflores Locks visitor’s centre (admission $15) which has a four-story museum, viewing platforms and a movie theatre showing a 3-D movie about the locks.