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Places to see in Colon

Colon was founded in 1852 and established as the railroad terminal, to only be called the Department of Colon. Its privileged geographic location on the Atlantic coast of Panama, next to the Panama Canal, is home to the Colon Free Zone. The Colon Free Zone is one of the most important ports in the Western World, so much so that the Cozumel, Manaos and Chetumel free zones get most of their goods from this one.
Colon has 4 thousand 890 square kilometers and a population of 187 thousand in habitants. This province borders the Caribbean Sea to the north; the Kuna Yala indian reservation to the east; the provinces of Panama and Cocle to the south and Veraguas to the west. Its capital is also called Colon and its climate is mostly rainy from September through December, while its summer lasts from January through April.
Travel from the city of Panama by car takes approximately one hour and 45 minutes but beware of traffic jams right now because the highway is being expanded from a 2 to 4 lane freeway. If you prefef you can also get there by bus or by plane.

The City of Colón

Colón, Panama. (2000 pop. 204,208), is the second largest city in Panama, at the Caribbean end of the Panama Canal. Colón is surrounded by, but not part of, the former Panama Canal Zone. Colón is an important port, commercial center, and tourist destination. It was made a free trade zone in 1953 and is the world's second largest duty-free port. The city was founded in 1850 by Americans working on the Panama railroad and was named Aspinwall after one of the builders of the railway until 1890. Colón is the Spanish form of Columbus; the name of the neighboring port of Cristobal is Spanish for Christopher. After completion of the railway in 1855, Colón overshadowed the older Caribbean ports of Panama, and with the first plans for the isthmian canal it took on additional prestige. Built on a swampy island, the city was notoriously unhealthful and often scourged by yellow fever until Colonel William C. Gorgas, in charge of sanitation during the canal construction, gave it a new system of waterworks and sewerage and drained the surrounding swamps. Colón City is largely poor and very dangerous so we discourage visiting the city for tourism. It is a shame but this city has not prospered in more than 30 years and remains unattractive. Both locals and politicians have failed in all of their attempts to revive the city to make it an attraction for tourists. Most visitors only get to see it because they go to the Free Zone to buy goods.



Colón city, Colón

Colon Free Zone

Colon Free Zone


Isla Grande

Isla Grande is a popular place in Panama because of its seclusion, and beauty. People from all places come to the island to enjoy the water, snorkling, fishing, listening to the sea and skinny dipping(at night mostly).The island's name does not really reflect it's size, but in comparison to the other islands that surround it, it is the biggest island.

The present population, of afrocolonial origin, can be traced back to the period of massive forced migrations, specially from the regions of Guinea and the Congos, from where they take their name ¨Congos¨. Believers in magic, they still practice a rhythmic dance with its contagious drumbeat. You can visit as well the cathedral of the Black Christ, credited for numerous miracles.

Isla Grande Panama



Panama's history as an interoceanic route began long before the building of the Panama Canal. Following the' Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire in South America, vast quantities of gold were shipped to Spain from the Pacific Ocean via Panama. The gold was unloaded from ships at Old Panama, carried overland on the backs of mules and reloaded on ships at Portobelo, located a short distance from Colon on the Atlantic coast. A visit to Portobelo, for a view of old Spanish forts and the recently renovated customs house, will round out your understanding of Panama as an interoceanic route.

On the massive bulwarks of the old forts, rusting, cast-iron cannons are aimed out to seas once made treacherous by marauding pirates hungry for a taste of Spain's gold booty. This important historic site has been named Cultural patrimony of the World by UNESCO. In the two floors of the recently renovated customs house, a museum will soon be inaugurated with exhibits dedicated to Panama's colonial history and the Gold Route. Your tour to Portobelo can be rounded off by a lobster dinner to the accompaniment of the Congo Dances, which were begun by slaves to poke fun at Spanish royal- ty. Dancers sing songs with the words said backwards and wear their clothes inside out in these interesting performances.

Portobelo Panama

Pilgrimage to the Portobelo Cristo Negro

Portobelo Fort Panama

Portobelo Fort, Panama

Nombre de Dios

Founded as a Spanish colony in 1510 by Diego de Nicuesa, it was the first European settlement on the Isthmus of Panama. Originally a major port of call for the Spanish treasure fleet, Nombre de Dios was situated near an unhealthy swamp, and was nearly impossible to fortify. Francis Drake sacked the colony in June of 1572, and ambushed the Silver Train, a mule convoy carrying a fortune in precious metals, in March of the following year. Set on a deepwater bay deemed easier to defend from the ravages of pirates, Portobelo was heavily fortified and for 150 years played host to the famous trade fairs, when the Spanish treasure fleet came to collect the riches that traveled across the isthmus on mule trains from Panama City and to leave merchandise brought from Seville for distribution throughout the Americas. Unsurprisingly, the wealth concentrated in the royal warehouses here was an irresistible target for the pirates who scoured the Spanish Main.

Nombre de Dios Panama

Nombre de Dios location

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Last Modified mAY 31, 2009