AS PANAMA prepares to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal, the country has rocketed to second position in the list of must visit countries in 2014.
Heading the list is Brazil, the host country for the FIFA World Cup, although fears of potential massive demonstrations against the event, similar to those that rocked the country earlier this year, may cool the ardor of some visitors.
The ranking comes from CNN.
The SS Ancon, the first ship to pass through the Canal, Augusa15, 1914. photographed in the Culebra Gap
Panama is in for a year of celebration marking the official opening of the waterway joining two oceans on August 15, 2014, an event that was overshadowed by the outbreak of the First World War
Sixta Diaz, supervisor of the visitor centers of the Panama Canal says the anniversary and the expansion works will provide a fillip to tourism figures
He lists the opportunities for visitors starting with the Miraflores Visitors Center where they can learn the history, operation and impact of the waterway through attractions and modern renovated rooms, a boat simulator, a 3D theater, a wide terrace see the operation of the Canal, among others.
Then there is the new Expansion Observation Center in Colon where, says Diaz: "Visitors are witnesses to history in the making for the next 100 years with the construction of the new locks ."
In the Gatun Visitor Center visitors "live near the Canal operation, because the site has a gazebo in the middle of the action of the transit of vessels through the larger locks of the waterway."