This post is also available in: Spanish
Colón’s coastline is a favorite location for divers. Panama Divers (panamadivers.com) offers PADI certified diving tours and classes for beginners in the Portobelo Underwater National Park. They can also arrange snorkeling tours to their private island. They operate the Octopus Garden, a hotel with a restaurant and bar, which provides transportation to and from Colón and Panama.
A trip to Isla Grande is also worth the effort. Cars are parked under the watch of security guards at La Guaira (at a cost of $2 per day) and a 3 minute boat ride takes you to the island. A quiet place with white sand beaches, Isla Grande is ideal for families. Most hotels have budget accommodations, the seafood is good and inexpensive, and the area is a good place to get in touch with the local, coastal culture.
Divers to this part of Panama will enjoy seeing shipwrecks from the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as the hundreds of species of reef and game fish, the beautiful corals and several kinds of marine turtles.