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Colon, on the Caribbean coast of Panama, is a province full of potential with something for everybody, from the bustling free zone, to historic forts and beaches surrounded by jungle, ideal for those looking for the elusive combination of culture, adventure, sun and sea.
Over the last few years Colon has been going through a transformation process. New hotels have started to appear, attracted by many factors including the cruise port Colón 2000, the expansion of the Panama-Colón highway; the modernization of the Enrique A. Jimenez Airport (an international terminal) and the building of a third bridge over the Panama Canal. All these are opening investment opportunities in the tourism and logistic areas.
The Colon Free Zone, the second largest in the world after Hong Kong, attracts 150,000 tourists. In Colón City, the Washington Hotel is a real jewel. It was originally the Washington House, built in 1870 as headquarters of the Panama Railway.
The new Observation Center of the Canal Expansion is the latest attraction in Colón. It covers four hectares and is designed like a park, with terraces and open, partially covered platforms that allow up to 400 visitors to simultaneously enjoy an unobstructed view of the construction of the new locks for the Panama Canal on the Atlantic coast. From this select location and surrounded by the lush beauty of tropical nature, visitors can also observe the majestic Gatún Lake, where ships continue their course along the interoceanic waterway.
The image, a closed loop circuit, projects onto every possible space in the setting. Visitors who choose to ascend a structure built at the height of the treetops will have a privileged view of the varied landscape from which to admire and contemplate nature in all its splendor. The look-out is suspended 60 meters above sea level and 50 meters from the Canal, and there is a nature path leading into the woods which is open seven days a week.
Costa Arriba is full of surprises. Virgin beaches, such as La Guaira, small, but perfectly formed with palm trees, white sand, quiet and crystalline waters can be found along the coast. The Portobelo National Park covers 86,000 acres, 20% of which are marine areas. It protects both coral reef communities and coastal forest.
This coastline includes important stretches of coral reefs, mangrove swamps, coastal lagoons and beautiful beaches, where every year four species of marine turtle, including the threatened hawksbill, come to nest. Within the park is one of the most beautiful natural harbors of all the Caribbean, the bay of Portobelo.
These are just a few of the many surprises that Colón offers to the visitor. Explore the Atlantic province with an fascinating colonial past.