The Panama Canal lies southeast to northwest from the Pacific side and the other way round from the Atlantic side. It bridges the two oceans and makes the trading by ship routes easier. Earlier a ship, traveling from New York to San Francisco, had to travel 14,000 miles via the Cape Horn, southern end of South America. But now, it has only to travel 6,000 miles via the Panama Canal. The waterway is controlled by the Panama Canal Authority under the Panamanian Government.
A cruise through the Panama Canal will be etched in your mind in golden letters. It will shine brightly and last for ever. The 51 mile bridge made of water is raised and lowered by the massive locks at the two ends. The Gatun Locks at the Atlantic end and Miraflores Locks at the other. The functioning of the locks, lifting & lowering of the ships and their movement forward itself is a miraculous sight. The entire trip takes around nine hours. Ships are lifted and lowered almost 170 feet.
Tropical rain forests around the Panama Canal region are full of bastions of primeval life. Each one of these bastions is with its own exotic and delicate ecosystem with rare flora and fauna. The Tortuguero Canal Land of Turtles in Costa Rica is called the Amazon of Costa Rica because of its rich and diverse plant and animal life. It is a nesting place for many endangered species of sea turtles. Limon, a province of Costa Rica has the largest concentration of Afro-Caribbearn and indigenous groups.
A lot of foreigners Americans, Canadians, Nicaraguans, and Europeans etc. have also made Limon their home. La Selva Biological Station is wet forest and marshland. The place is very rich in flora and fauna. There are about 2000 species of vascular plants and the animals include jaguar, howler monkey etc. Around 400 species of birds are also found in the area.
Aruba is another cruise destination along Panama Canal. It is famous for its white, sandy beaches and pleasant tropical climate. Natural bridges and Caves of Aruba are places of interest. Antilla, World War II shipwreck off the coast of Aruba, is a famous snorkeling and scuba diving spot. You can go kayaking at Cabo San Lucas in the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California).