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Fort San Lorenzo was first built during the late 16th century. King Philip II of Spain ordered a fortress to be built to protect the mouth of the Rio Chagres, which was heavily used by commerce and slave ships. 

This entry was also the easiest route for pirates and buccaneers looking for gold, and the location of the fort provided an extraordinary view of any approaching ships. It is one of the most complete forts built in Panama and is filled with stories of pirates and buccaneers that sailed the water for centuries. 

The panoramic view of the Chagres River and the Atlantic Ocean is breathtaking to say the least and well worth the visit to this historic site.

Of all three sets of locks, those at Gatun might be the most impressive.  Because all three chambers are connecting, you can see the entire process completed at once, rather than in two different stages in Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks. It takes about two hours for a vessel to complete the transit at Gatun Locks.

Another attraction on the Atlantic coast is The Panama Canal expansion project (also called the Third Set of Locks Project) is intended to double the capacity of the Panama Canal by 2015 by creating a new lane of traffic and allowing more and larger ships to transit.

Visitors can witness this history making transformation from an observation deck overlooking the Panama Canal’s new addition. 

The project formally began on 3 September 2007 and is expected to create demand for ports to handle new panamax ships. Several US ports will be ready for these larger ships, and others are considering renovations, including dredging, blasting, and bridge raising. 

Fort San Lorenzo
and the Panama Canal Expansion Project