Crystal blue waters, beautiful views, paradise beaches and landmarks steeped in history… Colon is the perfect city to stop by and explore on a cruise through Panama. Here, at the capital of the Colon Province, it is not uncommon for cruise passengers to be welcomed by traditional dances at the docks.
Enjoy the sights of Panama’s famous canal, get back to nature on a walk through its rainforests, retrace history at its World Heritage Site, dig your toes into white sand, or buy some treasures in duty-free shopping zones.
Popular cruise lines that stop by this city include Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line.
Cruise ships dock in one of two locations: Cristobal Pier or Colon 2000. There are only around 4 kilometres separating the two docks.
Cristobal Pier has quite a few facilities located near its terminal, including shops at the flea market, an internet café and a bar. Visitors are typically welcomed with native dances.
Colon 2000 also has a variety of facilities, including a range of shops, lounge areas, hotels, restaurants and boutiques.
How to Get Around
It is recommended to catch a taxi to visit many of Colon’s incredible landmarks. Visitors can also join a city tour as well, which is conducted through either a coach or taxi.
Travel times from Cristobal Pier:
It is a 26 minute journey to Gatun Locks
It is a 1 hour and 8 minute journey to Portobelo
It is a 51 minute journey to Fort San Lorenzo
It is a 50 minute journey to Playa La Angosta.
Travel times from Colon 2000:
It is a 23 minute journey to Gatun Locks
It is a 1 hour and 9 minute journey to Portobelo
It is a 48 minute journey to Fort San Lorenzo
It is a 47 minute journey to Playa La Angosta.
Currency – The official currency in Panama is the balboa (B/), which is on par with the United States dollar (USD$). Due to this, Panama does not produce any banknotes – only United States dollar bills are used. Balboa coins come in denominations of 1 and 5 centesimos and B/.1/10, B/.¼, B/.½, B/.1 and B/.2. United State banknotes come in the denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.
Time Zone – Colon falls under Eastern Standard Time (EST), which puts the city 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Daylight Savings Time is currently not observed.
Weather – Colon is characterised by a tropical monsoon climate. Overall, the city has a relative humidity of around 85%, and average temperatures sit at around 29 degrees Celsius. While there is a dry season (January to April), rainfall is common throughout the entire year, averaging a total of 3,400mm.
Colon City Tour – If you’re unsure of where to head first in Colon, consider joining a city tour. The town’s coaches and taxis take visitors around to a few popular landmarks, including the Hotel Washington for refreshing drinks, the Episcopal Christ Church, the famous monument of the explorer Christopher Columbus and the shopping plaza at the Colon 2000 docks.
Colon’s Beaches – Organise a group of shipmates and head to one of Colon’s beaches. A particular favourite is Playa La Angosta, which is found just before the town of Portobelo. Wade in warm Caribbean waters and soak in some sunshine before visiting the restaurant to enjoy seafood and a few drinks.
Fort San Lorenzo – First built in the late 16th century and rebuilt a few times thereafter during a tumultuous past, Fort San Lorenzo is a fantastic landmark to visit. Rich with stories of slaves, looting pirates, prisoners and major battles, this fort offers an incredible look into the past. Visitors can also bask in beautiful views and take some fantastic photos. This location has been listed as a World Heritage Site due to its cultural significance.
Gatun Locks – Situated at the Caribbean entrance of Panama Canal are the Gatun Locks, which link the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Here, visitors can observe engineering brilliance as large ships and tankers are lifted around 26 metres to the level of Lake Gatun before continuing on through the Pedro Miguel Locks, when they are then lowered 9.3 metres to the level of Lago Miraflores. There is a viewing platform near the Gatun Locks Visitors Pavilion, where tourists can take some unbeatable photos of the process, as well as of the incredible views all around. It has been said that each chamber would have been big enough to fit the Titanic.