The Panama Canal gave its host country a worldwide identity in 1915 with the completion of the canal. It was built by the U.S. Corps of Engineers between 1904 – 1914. The location is the narrow isthmus between Costa Rica and Colombia.
A journey thru the Panama Canal is an interesting experience. To see these huge Ocean liners being maneuvered thru 6 locks (3 on the Pacific side and 3 on the Caribbean side) sometimes just inches from the walls of the locks, is amazing. Little locomotives running on tracks at each side pull these giants safely into the next lock. The captain of a ship has to give up the navigation of his vessel completely to the pilots of the canal, for the duration of the passage. (He has the day off).
Contrary to the sometimes erroneous belief, that the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea are on different water levels, this is not the case, they are on the same level. The purpose of the locks is to bring the ships up to the Lake Gatun level, (a 163 square miles big sweet water lake), which is higher than the oceans then navigate them to the lowering locks. Nine thousand people are employed for the operation of the canal.
San Diego has a real connection to the Panama Canal, because the Exposition of 1915 in Balboa Park took place to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal.
The Monetary System in Panama uses only hard currency for cash, no bills. But the American Dollar is accepted everywhere, and the exchange rate is 1:1.
Chiriqui means “The valley of the moon” it is a province with rich tropical rainforests and beautiful valleys. It has the highest peak on the Panamanian isthmus, 13,800 feet above sea level. It allows a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.