(PanamaGringo) Colon, Panama is the second largest city in the Republic of Panama and holds the second largest duty free port n the entire world. The city of colon was formed by Americans in the 1850’s who were working on the canal. Colon gained a huge amount of importance and wealth after the completion of the canal; however, Colon had some major health issues due to the fact that it was built on a swampy island. Colonel William C. Gorgas, who was in charge of the sanitation during the canal construction drained the surrounding swamps, installed new sewage and drainage systems an dramatically reduced the plagues of mosquitoes and yellow fever that hindered Colon in the beginning.
Today Colon Panama is a popular tourist destination for many reasons. In Colon you can enjoy traditional Panamanian fare such as arepas, patacones and tamales, as well as great fresh seafood and Caribbean infused dishes like fried fish and chicken in curry sauce with pineapple and loads of rice. During my impromptu venture to Colon we decided to stay in a bed and breakfast/cabina/hostel type room that was recommended to us by the owners nephew whom we met while enjoying a Panama beer on the beach upon arrival. While this option saved us anywhere from $50 to $70 bucks for the night I’m not sure it was worth the sixty some mosquito bites that I counted on my legs the next morning. So, I recommend finding a room on the second or third floor of a little pricier hotel or resort if you’re not looking to rough it.
Just as every other city in the world parts of Colon are somewhat rundown and shouldn’t be explored alone or at night. The beaches are the safest places to enjoy the relaxed lifestyle and latin/caribean culture of the area If you’re looking for a more luxury stay n Colon, I recommend looking into a room on Isla Grande. People come from the inland to enjoy fishing, snorkeling, surfing and swimming on this secluded and beautiful isle. To get to Isla Grande you will have to leave your vehicle in La Guaira and take a boat across. I recommend you check out Hotel Sister Moon. Located on the beach, a simple yet adequate room n this hotel can be had for five days for around $200. Colon Panama is full of beautiful sights, smells, tastes and people. Just as any destination you have to take the good with the bad and enjoy it for what it is; a beautiful spot in an amazing country that you may only get one chance to experience.
Traveling to Colon? Take the rail.