Miraflores is the name of one of the three locks that form part of the Panama Canal and the name of the small lake that separates these locks from the Pedro Miguel locks upstream. In the Miraflores locks, vessels are lifted (or lowered) 54 feet (16.5 m) in two stages, allowing them to transit to or from the Pacific Ocean port of Balboa (near Panama City). Ships cross below the Puente de las Américas (Bridge of the Americas) which connects North and South America.
As of 2005, the following schedule was in effect for ship transit through the locks. From 06:00 to 15:15, ships travel from the Pacific towards the Atlantic. From 15:45 to 23:00 ships travel from the Atlantic towards the Pacific. At any other time, travel is permitted in both directions.
A modern visitor centre allows tourists to have a full view of the Miraflores locks operation. Binoculars are recommended to also see the Pedro Miguel Locks, visible in the distance. As of 2010, admittance for adults to the visitors centre costs US$5 (observation terrace) or $8 (supporting exhibits and video show added) with lower rates for children, senior citizens, and Panama residents free. Viewing a transit operation at the centre can take more than 30 minutes. A souvenir shop in the base level sells related merchandise. The centre closes at 17:00.