El vuelo salió casi puntual. Llegamos a Ciudad de Panamá pasado el mediodía y nos fuimos directo al hostal. Dimos unas vueltas y nos fuimos a dormir, E tenía que levantarse a las 6 am para ir al puerto de Colón a buscar el auto. Mientras E estaba en el puerto, M, L y T se fueron al parque Amador o Causeway a caminar y mirar los barcos. Esta es una península artificial que hicieron con la tierra del canal. Por suerte E hizo más rápido de lo esperado y volvió pasado el mediodía asique aprovechamos y fuimos a visitar el Canal a la tarde. Muy impresionante, la cantidad y el tamaño de los barcos que pasan y la manera en que funciona. Cada uno paga US 104000 por usar el Canal, y hay al mismo tiempo 39 barcos dentro del canal. Hagan las cuentas! A la vuelta de San Blas (el próximo capítulo) pasamos otra vez por el Causeway y nos preparamos a dejar la ciudad para visitar sus playas cercanas y viajar hacia el norte.
Central America here we come…
A short flight from San Andrés took us to Panama City. The focus here was to get the car out of the port of Manzanillo. We had been told it was ‘possible’ to get the car out in a single day, so E left at 6 am the following morning to get an early start. Getting to Manzanillo took three hours (longer than expected) but the paperwork went relatively smoothly and he was handed the keys at exactly 12 pm. Three hours of bureaucracy is not much longer than a typical border crossing, so not bad at all.
Panamá City is a modern city and there are so many US retail brands and shops (yes, Cinnabon is here) that it feels like you are up North. There are some impressive buildings (see the one in the rearview mirror) and countless boats of all sizes, from dinghies to container boats waiting to cross the canal. We arrived at 4.20 pm to the visitors center for the Panama Canal and learnt that the museum and exhibitions where we could learn the history and how the canal works closed at 4 pm. So we spent some time watching the enormous ships going through the locks and trying to guess how it all works. M and T were pretty interested in the whole process and liked how small train engines pull the ships through. We stayed until they asked us to leave.
Because we had flown into Panamá we did not visit the San Blas Islands that are visited by the boats that sail from Cartagena to Panamá. The pictures of these islands look incredible and we couldn’t miss visiting them so we booked a three-day two-night sailboat trip.