The Canal runs in south and Southeast direction from Limón Bay at Colón on the Atlantic to the Bay of Panama at Balboa on the Pacific is 64 km long from shore to shore and it is 82 km long between channel entrances. The minimum depth of the canal is 2.5 m.
A trip along the canal from its Atlantic entrance would take you through a 7 mile dredged channel in Limón Bay. The canal then proceeds for a distance of 11.5 miles to the Gatun Locks. This series of three locks raise ships 26 metres to Gatun Lake. It continues south through a channel in Gatun Lake for 32 miles to Gamboa, where the Culebra Cut begins. This channel through the cut is 8 miles long and 150 metres wide. At the end of this cut are the locks at Pedro Miguel. The Pedro Miguel locks lower ships 9.4 metres to a lake which then takes you to the Miraflores Locks which lower ships 16 metres to sea level at the canals Pacific terminus in the bay of Panama.
The tactical location of the Panama Canal and the short distance between the oceans, have provoked many attempts over the centuries to construct a trading route between the oceans. Spanish, Scottish, European had attempted to bridge the oceans but only the French and Americans succeeded!
About Limon Bay:
It is a natural harbour of the Caribbean Sea, in Panama at the north end of the Panama Canal. Approximately 4 1/2 mile long and 2 1/2 mile wide, it is protected from storms by breakwaters at its entrance. The bay serves as a waiting area for ships about to enter the canal. On its eastern shore, the Atlantic terminus of the canal, twin cities of Cristóbal and Colón are there.