Colon Panama

Quite honestly, unless you are going to visit Colon Panama on a guided tour, it's advised that you perhaps avoid it. That's not to say that the tourist attractions in Colon Panama aren't worth visiting, you'll just want to make sure you go with someone in the know. Colon is an important Caribbean port, being found at the northern end of the Panama Canal on the country's central, north coast. The bulk of the natives here are of Afro-Caribbean descent, the result of workers that were brought in to help build the canal in the early 1900"s. Cruises to Panama often feature a stop at Colon, where a nice, modern port awaits, and if you like shopping, the city is known as having one of the largest duty-free zones in Western Hemisphere. Though money is coming in to Colon Panama, many of the locals do not see any of it, which has led to a considerable crime rate. As is the cause for concern for those who choose to venture here alone.

Colon history gets most interesting starting around 1850, when the California Gold Rush led to the building of the Panama Railroad. The heavily U.S.-based immigrants originally named the city Aspinwall, but the name would be changed to Colon by the Hispanic locals, in honor of Christopher Columbus, whose actual name is Cristobal Colon. Once the Panama Canal was completed in 1914, the sudden lack of work began a downward spiral for the city. The 1948 creation of the Colon Free Zone (Zona Libre), was partly aimed at boosting Colon natives' quality of life, however it proved to be of little benefit to most. Cultural Colon Panama tours reveal a crumbling colonial district, and as you might imagine, the Free Zone is where a lot of visitors end up. Colon Panama suffered significant destruction during an 1885 civil war, and again fell victim to fire in 1915. Once a hot spot where clubs and bars were hopping, the city has been in steady decline since political riots wore it down even more in the 1960"s. You will find an interesting mix of cultures here, and there are some wonderful nearby attractions.

At just 50 miles from Panama City, you can choose to arrange Colon Panama tours from the capital, and return in the evening to enjoy a more safe environment. There are some pretty nice Colon hotels to be found by the ocean, so you can always consider staying at one for a night or more. These hotels provide tours to the featured tourist attractions in Colon Panama, many of which are actually found outside of town. "The Colon Free Zone"is a good place to drop some money if you want to shop around for some interesting wares. There's well over 1,000 companies selling duty-free goods here, spread out over approximately 600 acres. Surely, the Free Zone has a big connection to the Colon cruise industry. One of the more popular Colon Panama tours involves a trip to nearby Portobelo, which is about a 40-minute car ride away. Founded by Christopher Columbus way back in 1502, Portobelo has some historic vestiges worth exploring, such as the San Lorenzo Fort. For quite some time, the Spanish used Portobelo as a major staging ground for their merchandise, and the town served as a significant port for South American-bound ships. As is true with much of Panama, pirates and buccaneers posed a constant threat to early Colon, thus causing the Spanish to use a new trading route around southern Chile's Cape Horn.

Many visitors to Colon choose to visit the Portobelo National Park, where scuba diving is among the top pursuits. The varied coastline found here provides offshore reefs, scores of lagoons and plenty of nice beaches. Panama birdwatching is another favorite Portobelo National Park activity, and you can enjoy a number of exciting Colon Panama tours here. Portobelo and the San Lorenzo Fort are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which helps to cement their status as major tourist attractions in Colon Panama. Other choice Colon Panama tours take you to the Gatún Locks and the Gatún Dam. The large Gatún Locks are especially impressive, and watching the ships pass through is sure to make for an interesting excursion. At nearby Chagres National Park, you can explore the options for camping, or enjoy some of the country's best birdwatching. Rafting and sport fishing are other Chagres National Park activities that are becoming more and more popular.

It's just a 15-minute flight from Panama City to Colon, but for a historicly-rich experience, you might choose to arrive by way of the Panama Railroad. Regular bus service from the capital city is also a transportation option. You can find a cab as soon as you arrive at the Colon travel stations, and it is generally advised that you find one to get to your destination. As mentioned, you are always better off arranging one of the Colon Panama tours should you plan a trip here. The tourist attractions in Colon Panama surely warrant a visit, so don't take them off the list. Just make sure to take advantage of a Panamanian tour, and you will be armed with peace of mind. Should you stay at one of the nicer Colon hotels, such as the MeliÁ Panama Canal, you can enjoy a safe environment where simply finding the hotel tour desk will provide you with the chance to book Colon Panama tours.

David Panama


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