Colon is the capital of the Panamanian Province of Colon, on the Caribbean coast of Panama. The estimated population is about 49,422 people, according to the 2010 census.
Colon is located near the Caribbean entrance to the Panama Canal. It is commercially important for the country because of the Colon Free Zone (the second largest in the world) and the activities in the different ports.
Colon has the largest port system in Latin America, located at the Atlantic entrance of the Panama Canal. This port system consists of: Colon Container Terminal (Evergreen Administered), Manzanillo International Terminal (Operated by the Stevedoring Services of America), Panama Port Terminal (Managed by Hutchison Whampoa) and Colon Port Terminal. Currently, the city has two cruise ports: Colon 2000 and The Home Port in Paseo Gorgas.
Portobelo is a natural harbor and a town located in the Province of Colon. It was one of the most important town and port in America during the colonial time. Portobelo Bay was discovered by Christopher Columbus on his fourth voyage, carried on board the Santa Maria, on November 2, 1502. This place attracted the attention of Columbus for its natural environment and unique beauty and security. For this reason, he named it Porto Bello.
In 1976 the Monumental Historic Portobelo is delimited. It includes the area occupied by the old city of Portobelo, the ruins of the Castle of Santiago de la Gloria, the Castle of San Felipe, San Jerónimo Battery, Fort Bateria and Fort Santiago House, the High and Low battery and the Casa Fuerte de San Fernando, the ruins of Fort Trinchera primitive Santiago, battery Buenaventura, the ruins of Fort Farnese, Trench House Powder, Customs, the bastions of walled enclosure called San Cristóbal, and other ruins that existed within and near the city.
San Lorenzo is a fortification, located at the entrance of the Chagres River in the Province of Colon. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980 under the name of the Fortifications on the Caribbean coast of Panama, with the fortifications of the city of Portobelo. It formed the defensive system for transatlantic trade of the Crown of Spain and they are fine examples of military architecture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Fort San Lorenzo is one of the oldest fortresses in Spanish America. It is located next to what was the old seat of the town of Chagres, at the mouth of the river of the same name, and it was through this river that the pirate Henry Morgan came to the city of Old Panama to plunder.
The major attractions of Colon are :
- The arrival of the transoceanic train
- Visit of the most beautiful locks of Panama Canal : Gatun
- Proximity of Fort San Lorenzo and his spectacular view of the ocean and Chagres River