Almost as soon as the New World was “discovered” by Europeans, explorers were trying to find a way to sail through it. After all, what they really wanted was to get to Asia where they could trade for spices and other goods.
When the new continents were finally mapped out and people realized that there wasn’t a water route that went straight through either of the new continents, the obvious next step was to build one.
At first, there was a bit of a disagreement as to whether the new canal should go through Panama or Nicaragua. Eventually, with the help of some deceptive propaganda spread by American lawyer William Nelson Cromwell on behalf of the French Canal Syndicate, Panama won the day. (According to Wikipedia, Cromwell falsely claimed that a dormant volcano in Nicaragua was erupting, thus making it an unsuitable place for a major engineering effort.)
Here are some more interesting facts about the Canal:
- The French tried to build a canal in the 19th century, but quit after 22,000 of their workers died.
- Even with improved sanitation, an additional 5,500 American workers died during construction of the canal in the 20th century.
- 14,000 ships pass through the canal each year.
The Panama Canal is definitely a sight worth seeing, as huge ships pass through the locks, surrounded by rainforest on all sides. If you’re planning a trip to the Canal, be aware that you may need a Panama visa. Here are the rules:
If you are arriving by air, you can buy a tourist card when you arrive in the airport. Check with your airline-they may include the fees for the card in your tickets.
Likewise, if you are on a cruise, your cruise line should provide a tourist card for you if necessary.
You can also apply for a Panama visa, good for multiple entries, before you leave the states. If you will be crossing into Panama by land, applying for a visa first is a must.
American citizens need the following documents to get a Panama visa:
Here’s what you need to get a Panama tourist visa:
- A valid US passport
- 1 completed Panama visa application
- 1 passport photo
- A copy of your itinerary.
- A copy of your plane tickets (if you’re flying in)
- A letter of invitation or a copy of your hotel reservation.
- A copy of your bank statement.
If you’re applying in advance, RushMyTravelVisa can help you with the paperwork and expedite your Panama visa application. Contact us today!