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May 14, 2003

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Why has everyone heard of Panama? Its canal is one of the most important waterways on earth. Only 80km (50mi) long from Panama City on the Pacific coast to Colón on the Atlantic side, it provides passage for over 12,000 oceangoing vessels per year. After a short bus hop to the city outskirts, tourists can sit on a viewing platform at Miraflores Locks and watch huge ships nudge their way through the narrow canal.
Panama grosses $800 million dollars per year from tolls levied on ships passing thru the Canal. The biggest cargo ships pay $50,000 or more while the smallest boats (40 foot sailboats) pay $500.
What do you call a bridge that connects North and South America? The bridge of the Americas.