August 2011
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Travel – Colon, Panama – on the Caribbean Sea coast of Panama

Colón is a sea port, on the Caribbean Sea coast of Panama. This is a city that is on the entrance to the Panama Canal, and is the capital of the province by the same name. It is also known as the second city of Panama. Colon is located on Manzanillo Island. It is surrounded by Limon Bay, Manzanillo Bay and the Folks River. It now includes the towns of Cristobal, Rainbow City, Margarita, and Coco Solo, and the former U.S. Army base of Fort Gulick.
It was inhabited by about 3000 people initially, but now has grown to about 204,000 people in the province. This city was to be found by Americans around 1850, while constructing the Atlantic terminus of the Panama railroad. They called this town as Aspinwall that was named after William Henry Aspinwall, who was the Panama railroad promoter then. Now it is called Colon in honor of Christopher Columbus. During the civil war of 1885, this city was burned down. In 1915 due to massive fire attack, the city was again burned down. The Manzanillo Island was given the power of being the Colon Free Trade Zone. Now this is extended to Folks rive, France Field and Coco Solo.

Attractions of Colon, Panama:
• The Panama Canal: This canal is about 77 km (48 miles) long. It is a very famous shipping canal located in Panama; this canal joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and has been a very key transit infrastructure for maritime trade. The traffic was about 1000 ships in early days; presently it is about 14,702 vessels a day. This canal has its own measurement system called Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS). The Panama Canal was one of the largest engineering projects of the times. The alternate route is via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America.
• Manzanilllo International Terminal: This terminal is located to the east of the Atlantic, it opens to the Panama Canal on the Manzanillo Bay, Colon Province, and Republic of Panama. It is a cargo distribution centre that is within the Republic of Panama and distributes cargo to the countries in Central America and the Caribbean. This is a terminal that gives direct access to Colon Free Trade Zone and is one of the biggest of the region.
• Limon Bay (Bahía Limón in the original Spanish): This bay is a natural harbor that is located to the north end of the Panama Canal and to the west of the cities of Cristóbal and Colón.
• Folks River: This is a city cum river off the Caribbean seacoast in Colón Province, Panama. This city cum river is near the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal.
• Cristóbal: This is a port in the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. To the west of Manzillo Island, this port is situated. This city is also a part of the Panamanian city and province of Colón. Cristóbal Colón is the Spanish translation for Christopher Columbus and based on whose name this port was named.
• Rainbow City: This is a part of the city of Colon which is in the Republic of Panama. Earlier it was made for the housing of employees of Panama Canal and later it was made a proper town by the Canal Zone Government.
• Coco Solo was a United States Navy submarine base that was established in 1918 on the Atlantic Ocean which is to the northwest side of the Panama Canal Zone, near Colon, Panama.
• Fort Gulick: This was a U.S. Army base in the former Panama Canal Zone that is situated on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal near Fort Davis, on Gatun Lake. The former site of this base is now the municipal district of Colon, Panama.

Attractions around Colon and in Panama:
• Boca Brava is an island in Panama in the Gulf of Chiriquí. Boca Chica is a small fishing village that is 5 miles from Boca Brava. It is off the Pacific coast of Panama that is in the Gulf of Chiriquí. There is also Bahia de Muertos which is a coral reef. This island and isla Palenque are connected with a land bridge that is narrow.
• Cerro Punta which is also known as Cerro de Punta is a very small village or city in Panama. It is in the western highlands in the province of Chiriqui. It is at an altitude of 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) above sea level. This is also known as “The valley of Clouds”, because of its high elevation. It is to the south of the Continental Divide. This place can be reached by going towards north from the Pan-American Highway. The landscape is a rugged terrain with small plains and widely spaced city and cultivated land. The city is divided into villas, The Miranda, Guadalupe, Las Nubes, and Bajo Grande which are known to be located above 2,000 meters. Some of them can be hiked as well.
• Boquete is in western Panama and is a village or a town in Chiriquí province. It is a small town on the Caldera River which is about 60km long which borders with Coasta Rica. The town is at an altitude of 1,200 meters above sea level. It is popular for its location, scenic beauty, climate among tourists. It is also known as the “Valley of the Flowers”. It is on the northern highlands of Panama and its mountain ranges are shared with the neighboring Coasta Rica along with rainforests and wildlife. This place is popular for agriculture and for its cultivations of strawberries, oranges, and coffee. The Gesha coffee of this region is very famous and also sold in auctions as the coffee is unique, because it grows on rich Volcanic slopes. Among tourists activities are rock climbing, canopy fly over, white water rafting, ATV adventures, hiking, bird watching and enjoying hot springs.
• Parque Nacional Marino Golfo de Chiriquí is in Gulf of Chiriquí and is a national park. This national park was formed in 1994 and spread over 14,730 hectares or 36,400 acres. This area has coral reef, mangrove swamp and marine meadows with forests and white sand with temperate air and weather. This has been given the tag “one of Panama’s best kept secrets.” It is one of the hot spots of Bouquet. It has an archipelago called Las Isla Parida where one can see green iguanas, humpback whales (from August to October), hammerhead sharks, dolphins and multiple species of sea turtle on its island beaches. One can do scuba diving, snorkeling in the clear waters along with sport fishing in the Chiriquí gulf which is beyond this national park. Islas Ladrones, Islas Secas, Boca Brava and Isla Palenque are the other islands.
• Coclé is in Panama and is one of its provinces. Penonomé is the capital of this province. It is on the southern coast of the nation. It became a province on October 20, 1985. This province is an agricultural area basically with sugar and tomatoes being its major crops. It has beaches to like Santa Clara, Farallon and Rio Hato.

Best time to visit / climate:
The hot season in Panama is January through March. There is almost no rain and the weather is dry.

Location on Google Maps:

View Larger Map

How to get there:
One can go via air to the Republic of panama. There are flight services to Tocumen International Airport, Panama city. From here, one can reach Colon by air or by land in car.
The airline Aeroperlas offers a morning flight from the Marcos Gelabert Airport in Albrook, Panama City to the Enrique Adolfo Jimenez Airport of the Colon Free Trade Zone.

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers):
Hotels at tripadvisor
Hotels at yahoo travels
Hotels at colonpanamahotels
Hotels at expedia

Blogs / Sites about Colon, Panama:

blogs and reviews at travelpod
blogs and reviews at lonelyplanet
blogs and reviews at travelpost
blogs and reviews at realtravel

Images and photos of Colon, Panama:

Images at at Realtravel
Images at travel-images
Images at tripadvisor

Videos on you tube:

Colon, Panama:

Central Avenue, Colon, Panama:

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