Saint Geronimo's Castle, Portobelo, Colon, Panama


The province of Colon is home to Panama’s Afro-Caribbean culture and a rugged coastline once the object of many a pirate assault.

Explore the rich culture and UNESCO sites such as the forts of San Lorenzo and Portobelo. Inland on the Chagres River, Embera indigenous communities reside and welcome visitors to experience their customs and traditions.

Portobelo Village, Panama
Portobelo Village, Panama

About Colon

Located on Panama’s Caribbean coast the province of Colon neighbours the autonomous state San Blas to the East and Cocle and Veraguas to the South West. Its capital, Colón has long been associated with cruise ships and most famously, known for the Duty-Free Trading Zone.

The historical bay of Portobelo is home to a delightful old port town and the better accommodation in this region. Once the most important American port during the colonial times, Portobelo saw all of South America’s wealth that left its shores. A major defence system was built to protect the trade and the fortifications are still evident today and have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Portobelo also has a national park of some 86,000 acres, a fifth of which are marine areas thus protecting both the reef and forest communities.

San Lorenzo Fort, Portobelo, Panama
San Lorenzo Fort, Portobelo, Panama

San Lorenzo Fort

San Lorenzo Fort is another outstanding example of colonial military architecture in the area which guarded the mouth of the Chagres River; a key trading route between Europe and the Americas and link between the two oceans. Conquered by Henry Morgan 1668 and again in 1739 by Admiral Vernon, the fortress was rebuilt three times and used as a prison. It is a fascinating site to explore.


What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

San Felipe Church

San Felipe Church

Visit San Felipe Church, home to the life size effigy El Cristo Negro (Black Christ) since the 17th Century.

Old Customs House, Portobelo, Panama

Customs and Booking-Keeping House

Include a visit to Customs and Booking-Keeping House dedicated to the story of slave trading in Panama.

Gatun Lake, Panama

Gatun Lake

Take a boat tour of Gatun Lake, a protected area of the Panama Canal, rich in wildlife.

Canoes on the river, Panama

Embera Community

Take a dugout canoe past pristine rainforest to visit an indigenous Embera community.

Statue of Christ, Colon City Park, Panama

Railway Adventure

Travel to Colón by train; the railway runs parallel to the Panama Canal.

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

John Faithfull

One of John’s favourite spots is the viewing platform at the Miraflores Locks, where he has spent many happy (read “geeky”) hours being mesmerised by the machinations of the canal’s lock gate process.

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