FORT SAN LORENZO/FORT SAN JERONIMO
FORT SAN LORENZO is about an hour’s drive unless you have
to make way for a container ship. The road crosses atop the Gatun
lock gates. The locks and the spillway on Gatun Dam make a spectacular
sight-seeing stop, in any case.
This bastion is near the canal at the mouth of the Chagres River,
once the highly strategic and believed impregnable key to the
route across the isthmus. Pirate Henry Morgan sorted out its secrets
after his own pragmatic fashion, enroute to Panama City.
The northern entrance to the Panama Canal is home to the Canal’s
largest set of locks. The Gatún Locks lift ships to a height
of 26 meters above sea level to make it possible for them to cross
the continental divide.
The waters of the Chagres River, the same waters that fill the
man-made Lake Gatún, are the main component of the efficient
functioning of the locks. Lake Gatún and the dam of the
same name were created to provide an uninterrupted flow of fresh
water to the Canal. The Chagres River and Lake Gatún work
together to empty and fill the lock’s chambers. The chambers
of the Gatún Locks are enormous, measuring 33.53 meters
wide by 304.8 meters long. This size reflects the gargantuan dimensions
of the ships that transit the Canal, with a maximum width of 32.3
meter, a maximum length of 294.1 meters, and a draft (depth) of
12 meters. It takes an extraordinary amount of fresh water to
keep the boats rising and dropping as they pass through the locks.
Longtime workers at the Gatún Locks say that despite the
decades they have worked there they are constantly amazed by their
operation. Rolando Cooper, now retired with the Canal Commission,
observes that when new employees would arrive for training he
would tell them, “Keep in mind that in all the world there
is only one Panama Canal; what you learn here is unique and cannot
be compared with other industries.”
To visit the viewing platform (el mirador) at the Gatún
Locks, we recommend taking a local taxi from the city of Colón.
You will arrive in less than 30 minutes and should expect to pay
some $5.00 (five US dollars or five Balboas). Entrance to the
viewing platform is free.
Herrera, entre Calles 9 y 10
Apartado 0301-01046 Colón, República de Panamá
Tels.: 441-0477 Fax: 441-7921
skype contact: hotelandros_1
Fuerte San Lorenzo / Fort
Located at the mouth of the Chagres River, Fort San Lorenzo is an
historic gem left behind by the Spaniards.
Libre de Colón
Free Zone is the largest merchandise distribution center for Latin
America and the Caribbean.
Perfect for a day trip from Colón. Take the Costa Arriba bus
past Portobelo and get off at the town of La Guaira. At La Guaira
you can take a boat to the beaches and mangroves of Isla Grande, only
a few hundred yards from the shore.