The name Colon comes from Christopher Columbus, not only was he the fellow who oficially opened the new world to europeans, but he was also the discoverer of the Chagres river back in 1498. At Colon you will experience the visitor´s center at the new Gatun Locks, the fort at San Lorenzo, the duty free zone and the best beaches of Panamá.
Located at about 2 hours from the city. This island offer relaxation to those visiting it´s shores. The recommendation here is to leave early in order to get the most of the day. Bring your swimming suit, towel and sun protector. The island offers a restaurant and restrooms. The water is transparent and the trees offer some relief from the sun. This is a whole day trip for those who want to get away from everything. I recommend this tour for the weekdays because on those days there are no crowds. Many panamanians and tourists visit the island on saturdays and sundays. The hotel in the island offers rooms practically next to the beach. You can hear the waves at night as you get ready to go to sleep. There is an entrance fee to the hotel grounds and a boat fee to get you to the island.
Built on orders of the spanish king Phillip II, it was designed to defend the entrance to the Chagres river from marauders of the sixteen and seventeen centuries. At the time the Chagres was the main waterway connecting the Caribbean sea with the city of Panama on the shores of the Pacific ocean. Inspite of all the effort and money spent on it´s construction, it was taken everytime by any one who really made the extra effort, Bradley, Morgan and Parker, they all managed to take the fortress at great cost of lives but taking it, they did. Today the Chagres is still the most important river of Panama as about 40% of the canal water comes from this river that Columbus discovered and named Rio de los Lagartos, (Aligator river). Before or after San Lorenzo we will make a stop at the new Gatun Locks. This stop is optional and comes with no additional charge.
Located at Colon, about an hour and a half away from here is the new visitor´s center recently built for the expansion project. Now, fully functional it is considered one of the great infrastructures of our times. The center offers a theatre that shows the interest aspects of the newly built entrance to the canal, a sightseeing first class observation deck and a restaurant on the premises that is second to none.
There are places to explore that are located outside the well traveled road. The Old Pipeline Road is a prime choice for the bird watcher. Other locations include the Metropolitan National Park which is located practically within the city. Another alternative is the Soberania National Park with a number of trails that can be easy or hard to explore.
Originally what today is Panama was under water. Five million years ago the Pacific and the Atlantic ocean where one ocean with only some island in between. Volcanic eruptions formed and increased the size of those islands. One giant volcano was located exactly where Anton Valley is today. A dormant, practically dead volcano is today a fertile valley where a thriving community lives today. A visitor to this town can enjoy a bath in the thermal springs there located, he can also visit the Nispero zoological park where efforts are being made to save the golden frog which is on the way to extintion. The tourist can also visit the Chorro Macho and try some rapelling and explore the trail at La Piedra Pintada or La India Dormida. There are a number of hotels, hostels, nice restaurants, a museum, a serpentarium and botanical garden. If you decide to go there, bring your swimming suit.
For those looking to save money, the city of Colon offers the free trade area. Once there you can buy goods at wholesale price without paying taxes. Just remember to bring your passport as in theory, only visitors from other countries can access the area to shop. Click on the photograph to see aspects of Colon.