The vibrant town of Colon is a common port to stop at for those going on a Caribbean cruise. Many cruise ships only stop here for a few hours which doesn’t give travelers a lot of time to explore. Here are some of the things that you should see and do in Colon if you have the chance too.
Fort San Lorenzo
Located on a hill, this 16th century fort overlooks Rio Chagres. The fort is pretty much in ruins as many of the buildings are collapsing, but there’s still plenty to see here including a few cannons. Surrounding the fort is a national park that features numerous walking trails. There aren’t guides on the grounds of the fort, but if you visit a local tourist office you can pick up a map to help you easily navigate it.
The Galeta Marine Laboratory
This center is rather interesting to visit for those that are concerned about the environment. Originally it was created so that marine conditions could be studied. Visitors can learn about the area’s fauna and flora or even participate in a beach cleanup if they visit it on the right day.
Colon is known for its shopping. It has large duty free zones so tourists can easily get a good deal on the goods that they purchase. There are numerous street vendors located throughout the city that tend to be willing to negotiate with you on their prices. If you are looking for something truly unique to take home with you, visit the Mercado Nacional de Artesanias. Here you will find a lot of handmade items, including those made by Embera’s indigenous people.
Because many cruise ship passengers will be spending such a short amount of time in Colon, they are looking for something quick to do that will allow them to spend time off of the ship. The beach is a great option. There aren’t any tides so it tends to be a safe option. Playa La Angosta is the most popular beach in the area and is known for its white sand and clear waters.
The Panama Canal Railway if very efficient and if you find yourself having a full day in Colon, it may be worth it to take the hour long train ride to Panama City where there are more things to do. Reservations aren’t need for the train and the accommodations are fairly nice. Along the way you can see a variety of scenery including the coast and mountains.