Woke up once to check the time but otherwise, a good sleep.
Marlon and Eduardo were our tour guides today as we booked with Traviator city tour to take us to the Panama Canal – Miraflores Centre, Panama Bay and around the old Quarters of Casco Viejo.
Here are some facts about Panama:
-4 million people
-10-13 years ago Balboa / financial district was a landfill
-The financial district has over 80 different banks
-They use the Panama Canal for tourism and transportation.
-USA paid 40 million dollars to build the canal because the mosquitoes eliminated the French with yellow fever and other illness. French wanted to build a flat channel but USA wanted to build using a system of logs
-USA made 3 artificial lakes to maintain the water during rainy season
1904 1914 the USA built the canal (French were the first to try) USA used it to transfer supplies from West coast to East Coast as there were too many difficulties with bandits and other circumstances.
-No army but now only national police. If they need military support, they call the USA.
-Panama Canal created is own energy
-Workers were from all over including Caribbean side, China, Greece, Italy, French etc. They wanted workers who were acclimatized to the weather.
-Legal tender was USD as the workers came from all over the world and it was easier to use USD rather than Balboa. Now only coins are Balboa and USD is 1 for 1.
-The Panama canal was completed in June 2016 and it took 10 years to build it to allow access for bigger ships.
-There are 3 canals from Gatun to Miraflores. The larger Panama canal takes about 10-20 ships a day only during the day. The smaller one does 80 a day and runs 24 hours.
-Clayton base was for the USA military but once they left and since Panama doesn’t have an army, they turned it into an area for education and renamed it the City of knowledge.
-Until 1999, any citizens born in the USA confinement base area, were USA citizens and not Panamanian citizens.
They drove us over to Panama Bay passing by buildings like the Biomuseo building built with Frank Gehry design as well as the giant Panama sign. This whole area was manmade include the island we took a break on but it did give us stunning views of the cityline. The weather turned from hot and sunny to a treacherous rain storm and the view of the city looked completely different.
We drove over to the old quarters of Casco Viejo. You can definitely see the French and Spanish style within these quarters. We drove through and then were driven to what Eduardo calls the best view of the cityline at Quinto Centenario – Cinta Costera. From there, we decided we wanted to venture the old quarters by foot so we hopped out of the van and walked around. Eduardo told us that when we grab a taxi that it should be about $5USD to get us back to our hotel. The rain had let up a little so walking the streets was nicer. After arriving back to our hotel via taxi, we ordered an Uber and headed to the airport ($26USD). Then off we flew back home to end out 10 day adventure.