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Lake Gatún is an artificial lake in Panama. Set to the south of Colón, this 163 square mile(422 square kilometer) lake is the largest body of water in Panama. In fact, when Lake Gatún was first created it was the largest man-made lake in the world. The lake forms an integral, 21-mile (33-km) section of the Panama Canal—ships that transit the canal pass through it en route to the Atlantic Ocean.