Are you ready for the New Locks?

By Jennie C. Trow

The Panama Canal Expansion project has brought many new innovative changes to the Panama Canal and the way it is visited. Now you will visit the new Aguas Claras Locks Visitor Center instead of the Gatun Locks Visitor Center. Both locks will still be used by ships crossing the Canal. The Aguas Claras Locks were constructed to accommodate larger vessels that will transit the Canal.

The Panama Canal Expansion is the largest project at the Canal since its original construction. The project will create a new lane of traffic along the Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, doubling the waterway’s capacity. June 26, 2016 is the inauguration, are you ready for the new Locks?

The Aguas Claras Visitor Center was built in an ecologically conscious manner, taking advantage of its natural surroundings, allowing its visitors to not only have an amazing panoramic view of the Canal but also being in the middle of nature. Visitors will have the opportunity to watch a short movie about the construction of the locks, visitors center and the several Panamanians that were involved in the project.

Afterwards if you are up for a short adventure, walk along an ecological trail close to the Center and identify the different species the Panama Canal Rescue Team has relocated within the trail.

For more information, please contact us info@ecocircuitos.com

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Weather in Panama

Many travelers that come to Panama have doubts about the weather; we would like clear these doubts to help you with your travel planning to Panama!

The seasons            

Panama has a tropical climate and it´s divided in two main seasons: dry, which is usually from December to May, and rainy which we like to call the “green season”, from June to November. During the dry season, it usually doesn´t rain, but sometimes we can get a surprise sprinkle of rain. Due to the dryness, these months are good months to travel to Panama. Not only will you be able enjoy the wonderful climate, but you are able to be in the presence of a variety of birds, mammals and great flowers.

The rainy season doesn´t mean that the rain won´t allow you to enjoy Panama, on the contrary, during the rainy season is when Panama is the greenest and our favorite time to enjoy outdoors. You will be able to admire the growing flora and also take advantage of good deals off season, just make sure that if you´re planning an activity outside to check the weather forecast!

**Note: These two seasons don’t apply to all of the country. On the Caribbean side, which includes Colon, Bocas del Toro, and San Blas, might have rainfall during the whole year. Meanwhile in Chiriquí and Valle de Anton, there might be some rainfall during the dry season.

The Temperature

Year-round in Panama the temperature in the daytime usually ranges from 32ºC (90ºF) to 21ºC (70ºF) in the evening, meaning the day is hot and the night is cooler.

However it’s important to mention that the temperature varies according to geography. In the mountainous areas, such as Boquete and El Valle de Anton, the temperature annually may range from 12ºC (53ºF) to 15ºC (59ºF).

Facts about the weather in Panama

  • Even though we have a dry season, Panama´s humidity goes up to 80% all year round.
  • Because of Panama´s location you don´t have to worry about hurricanes.
  • February is the driest month and October is the wettest month
  • Rain can fall for more than 2 hours
  • It’s very rare and important to mention that in the mountainous areas, snow and frost may sometimes be visible, but not in large amount.

Just make sure to check the weather and temperature when booking your trip, to be able to have the best experience in Panama!

Source

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/panama/weather

http://panamainfo.com/en/when-best-time-visit-weather-panama-high-season-and-low-season

https://weather-and-climate.com/average-monthly-Rainfall-Temperature-Sunshine-in-Panama

http://geografia.laguia2000.com/climatologia/panama-clima-y-vegetacion

 

 

 

Touring the expanded Panama Canal’s new locks

The Panama Canal Expansion is the largest project at the Canal since its original construction. The project will create a new lane of traffic along the Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, doubling the waterway’s capacity. The existing locks allow the passage of vessels that can carry up to 5,000 TEUs. After the expansion the Post-Panamax vessels will be able to transit through the Canal, with up to 13,000 TEUs. The Expansion will double the Canal’s capacity, having a direct impact on economies of scale and international maritime trade.

The Canal Authority offered last Sunday a chance to all interested in seeing the mega-project up and close.  We were among the group of more than 45,000 people that took the tour  with the Panama Canal Authority as the host and guides, and it was an unforgettable and historical visit.

Canal administrator Jorge Luis Quijano said Sunday that the objective of opening the project to the public is so that “people can sense and understand the magnitude of the project.”

The Panama Canal is installing the last of 16 giant lock gates that are a key part of the waterway’s multibillion-dollar expansion.

Panama in 2006 decided to build a wider canal to accommodate vessels capable of carrying 2.5 times the number of containers held by ships currently using the canal. The canal is expected to open in April 2016.

Ecocircuitos Panama: getting ready for the green season

Panama is worth seeing throughout the year! Not only the dry season is a good time to travel to the “bridge of the world”- as Panama is called by locals. Many people think that the green season is the better time to explore this country since- as the name suggests- everything is green and blossoms. An additional benefit is that hotels and tours are available much better since there are fewer tourists in the green season. Tours like hiking and kayaking can be more worth seeing when the plants and trees unfold their whole splendor. But also City-, sightseeing- and rafting tours are a good way to enjoy Panamanian “winter” since it is only a term indicating that it rains more often than on the high season. Not that it rains all day every day.

by Marius Leidig

Celebrating the 100 years of the Panama Canal

By Marc Vedder

If I had to describe the wonder of mankind in one word it would be “unbelievable”.

Almost finishing the high season, I had the chance to take part in the Panama Canal Transit. I was really excited to see the Canal, because I have heard so much about it but I have never seen it before. After the trip I really wonder why the Panama Canal is not listed up in the modern wonders of the world!

The Panama Canal is a ship canal and connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. In total the canal is 77, 1 km long and was official opened in August 1914. Actual maintenance extends the canal to carry larger and much bigger ships.

Amber and I started our trip at Causeway Marina and drove with a bus to Gamboa where a ship waited for us. Thus the unforgettable trip began. Surrounded by curious elderly travelers from all over the world we found us in the position of the young chickens. Nevertheless it was a nice and relaxing atmosphere. The boat drove very slowly and calm through the canal, so we could totally indulge in the environment and atmosphere the canal creates. It is just amazing to pass huge ships which are 500 times bigger than you.

We were so lucky at that day because of the perfect sunny weather, which created the perfect condition for the canal transit and a sun bath on top of it. The fabulous guides were very informative. I would call it “informative entertaining”. They knew all the details about the canal and explained to us in Spanish, English, French and even in German. On top of it they were very authentic and entertaining at the same time, which generated a perfect trip for us. With much gratitude to the guides I gained a lot of new information about the canal and its history. I have learned for example that the docks in the canal just work with physics with regard to the water level and letting ships trough the docks. Furthermore before the trip I had no idea about the amount of money a company pays for a canal transit. Due to the guides I have learned that companies have to pay around $500.000!

Whilst passing through the docks, I tried to imagine how the people have built this canal but I could not. I was so impressed and astonished. Therefore I continued listen to the great guides, absorbed as many information as I could and enjoyed my lunch provided by the crew. Moreover it so striking being part of a boat that raised and lowered with the water level in the docks.

After a fantastic 5 hour trip we arrived at Causeway Marina and departed home.  I do not want to forestall too much, you have to experience it.

I can highly recommend the Panama Canal Transit Tour. It is informative, entertaining, marvelous and will stay in your memory forever.

For more information about the Canal Tour please do not hesitate to contact us directly www.ecocircuitos.com! We are more than happy to organize a trip and experience something unforgettable.

Come and discover Panama and experience an unforgettable adventure in 2014 only. The Panama Canal celebrates its 100th anniversary and we invite you to join this amazing event with a program that takes you to the most important and influential areas related to this man-made wonder.  For our Panama Canal Centennial adventure, click here.

Experience Panama from a vintage Airplane!

Warbird

A new and safe way of seeing the city: Aerial tours of the city and the canal in a vintage military airplane and 100% safe simple aerobatic maneuvers.

The airplane:

This Beechcraft T-34 is a 1950’s propeller-driven, single-engined, military trainer aircraft in perfect condition. Planes of this type are being used by the Lima Lima Flight Team and Dragon Flight; both civilian demonstration teams. It is also used by aerobatic pilot Julie Clark, who flies her T-34 “Free Spirit” (registration N134JC) at air shows.

The plane can be flown with the cabin covers open, and flies at an average cruise speed of 150 knots.

The Pilots:

Colonel Danilo Caballero is a veteran of the Ecuadorian air force,  a former military flight instructor, and low-altitude aerobatic pilot.  Lieutenant Juan C. Mérida is a veteran of the Uruguayan air force and an FAA flight instructor.

The flights:

Choose between a 30-minute Canal flight, including one loop and one roll, or a 50-minute Canal and City flight, also including one loop and one roll.

Equipment and company are insured through US insurance company Nation Air.

These aerial tours are a special experience not only for fans of vintage airplanes or military history, but for everyone who would like a unique view of Panama. This is a true once-in a lifetime experience!

 

Transiting the Panama Canal

By Franziska Beyer

When I was just starting my internship at EcoCircuitos, they already offered me the opportunity to participate on my first tour.  As the Panama Canal Transit is one of the tours that you can impossibly miss if you visit this wonderful little country, it was like a dream coming true when they asked me to take part.

The EcoCircuitos team was preparing all things carefully, expecting 12 tourists from Australia for the tour on the boat through the canal, starting from Calzada Amador.

While the sun was rising we left the base, I was swept off my feet when slowly we were able to see the amazing skyline of Panama City.

Every boat that passes the canal needs a captain that is authorized to maneuver through the canal; I noticed a mystic atmosphere when our tourists were welcoming him on our boat.

The Panama Canal is a 77km long passageway connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean via the Caribbean Sea, opened in 1914. Thinking about the fact that the construction of the canal took such a long time and people from different countries were working on this difficult project I got more and more excited when we started passing through the Bridge of the Americas. I felt so small in our boat gazing at a big container ship accompanying our boat all along the pass trough the canal.

Taking millions of photos when passing the first locks, the Miraflores Locks, to save this unbelievable and unique moment, I got even more nervous when I realized that I had the chance to live this moment once again passing the Pedro Miguel Locks.

I breathed deeply to prepare for this second marvelous moment.

Leaving the boat at Gamboa I felt like on top of the world because of having accomplished one of my dreams.

Our fantastic tour continued until we reached Fort San Lorenzo that was attacked in 1670 by buccaneer Henry Morgan leaving it in ruins. Henry Morgan invaded Panama City using San Lorenzo as his base; visiting this beautiful place you can almost smell Morgan and his crew. In 1980 UNESCO declared San Lorenzo as a World Heritage and EcoCircuitos completed this incredible tour with a luxurious picnic at this amazing place.

So far this tour with EcoCircuitos was my highlight visiting one of my favorite countries, the lovely and marvelous Republic of Panama.

Ready to visit the Panama Canal yourself? Find more information on our Website