Site Seeing

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.


Ave. 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
Fuerte San Lorenzo / Fort San Lorenzo
Located at the mouth of the Chagres River, Fort San Lorenzo is an historic gem left behind by the Spaniards.

Zona Libre de Colón
The Colón Free Zone is the largest merchandise distribution center for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Isla Grande
Isla Grande
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.



All images ©2005 Andros Hotel, All righs reserved.