About Colon

Situated at the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal is the port of Cristobal (Spanish for Christopher), your stopping off point for Colon (Spanish for Columbus). The city, founded in 1850 by the Americans working on the Panama railroad, is today Panama's second largest. Colon underwent a massive redevelopment programme for the new millennium and is now a fantastic place to shop, as well as a great base for exploring the rest of Panama.

Take an enchanting journey into the lush rainforest to San Lorenzo Fort and walk in the footsteps of the adventurous buccaneer - Captain Morgan. Experience the ecology and get a closer look at the wildlife on and around the amazing Gatun Lake. Then go further into the dense jungle and meet the Choco Indians. Living as they have done for centuries, in houses built on stilts along the banks of the Chagres River, you will get a glimpse of their mystical rituals and their amazing knowledge of medicinal plants and natural remedies.

You can learn more about the rich diversity of flora and fauna at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and don't miss the impressive Gatun locks in action on the wondrous Panama Canal.


Shore excursions in Colon

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Embera Indian Village

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 4 hours

Discover the enchanting cultures and traditions of the Embera Indians during a visit to their village.

Families of the Embera Indians have lived along the banks of the Gatun Lake for many years. Their lifestyle has changed very little, as you will discover during your visit. Embera live in elevated huts with cone-shaped roofs. They sit on the floor and sleep on straw mats, so there are no furnishings to speak of.

While men and women both participate in craftwork, the basket weaving and ceramic making are delegated to the women, and the men are in charge of the woodcraft. Perhaps the greatest skill of the Embera Indians is building ‘piraguas’ canoes. When a ‘piragua’ is first launched, a ceremony is held, to which friends and relatives are invited.

Transfer by boat to the village and learn of the many unusual cultures and traditions of the Embera; how they propose marriage, use herbal medicines and their many beliefs and superstitions. At the village you may wish to purchase some of the locally-produced craftwork.

During your tour some light refreshments will be served.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach, boat and on foot. This tour involves approximately 20 minutes of walking over uneven ground. The Embera people wear minimal clothing, which can include partial nudity.

Gamboa Aerial Tram

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 5 hours

Experience the beauty of Panama’s rainforest and the fascinating exhibits of the Gamboa Rainforest Resort on this unique eco-tour.

After your hour-long scenic coach drive from Colon, you will arrive at the impressive Gamboa Resort located in the heart of the Panamanian Rainforest. Enjoy some time at the Resort to browse the exhibits and learn of the many varieties of flora and fauna, which can be found in the unique eco-system. Whilst here, you will be offered some welcome refreshments.

The highlight of this tour will be the breathtaking aerial tram ride, which allows you to float quietly through the dense rainforest canopy. Relax on the gondola and take in the beautiful green scenery. At the top you can enjoy a walk to the observatory (65 feet high), where you’ll have fabulous views of the rainforest and the Panama Canal in the distance. Re-board the aerial tram for the return ride down to the Resort.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and aerial tram. Comfortable clothing and protection from both the sun and rain are recommended, as are flat shoes. Walking to the observatory is optional. The tram journey takes approximately 25 minutes each way and seats 4 passengers. Queues at the tram are to be expected.

Gatun Lake Kayak

Activity highRefreshments included

Duration: 4 hours

Paddle on the world’s largest man-made lake and visit the new Panama Canal Agua Clara Visitor Centre.

Departing the pier you’ll take a 30 minute transfer, in an air-conditioned coach to the Melia Resort located in Colon City. Upon arrival, and after a safety briefing, you’ll embark your kayak on the lake and your adventure begins.

As you navigate the Gatun Lake you will encounter all the different flora and fauna that call the lake their home. Nature is the most common sight in the area and wildlife is abundant.

Afterwards, you’ll visit to the Agua Clara Visitor Centre (Canal Expansion Lookout) where you’ll have the opportunity to see the operation of the Panama Canal.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and kayak. Passengers must be good swimmers. Lifejackets are provided and must be worn. Comfortable, non-slip shoes are recommended. Please wear light clothing that you do not mind getting wet and take insect repellent. Unfortunately wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed.

Monkey Watch on the Panama Canal

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 5 hours

Take a journey into the tranquil canals of the Gatun Lake. View the jungle islands and the fascinating wildlife

Enjoy a scenic drive to the Gamboa Resort, where you will board your boat for a 30-minute exhilarating high speed ride through the heart of the Panama Canal. The boat will slow down to cruising speed as you enter the labyrinth of jungle-covered islands of the Gatun Lake.

Within this natural sanctuary the wildlife is plentiful and you can look out for the exotic jungle inhabitants such as Capuchin Monkeys, three-toed sloths, Howler Monkeys, colourful toucans, a wide variety of bird life as well as caimans, crocodiles, turtles and many beautiful butterflies.

The Gatun Lake is an exceptional place to experience the sights and sounds of the jungle. Your trained nature guide will point out the well-camouflaged creatures and inform you of the area’s delicate eco-system.

Light refreshments will be offered during the tour.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and canal boat. The journey time to the Gamboa Resort is around 1 ½ hours’ each way. Passengers must be able to negotiate the step onto and off the boat. Comfortable, non-slip shoes are recommended. Please wear light clothing that you do not mind getting wet and take insect repellent. Unfortunately wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed.

Panama Canal by Boat

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 8 hours

Experience first-hand a partial transit of the world famous Panama Canal.

Take a drive along the Transismic Highway, which connects the city of Colon with the city of Panama. This is the only road link between the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

On arrival at either the Gamboa Dredging Division Pier, or Cucaracha Pier inside the Panama Canal, board a sightseeing ferry, which allows you the incredible experience of transiting part of the Panama Canal.

Navigate through Gaylard Cut, where thousands of workers lost their lives during the construction of the dams, before entering Pedro Miguel Locks. Enter the Miraflores Lake, which connects with the second set of locks, Miraflores Locks.

You will hear about the fascinating history of the Panama Canal and each lock as you pass through.

Your Canal adventure ends at the Pacific Port, the entrance to the Panama canal at the Pacific Ocean. From here, you will travel back to your ship by coach.

Refreshments and light snacks will be served on board your sightseeing boat.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and boat. Please be aware that commercial vessels have priority over touring boats; delays may therefore occur. A transit of the canal is fully dependent on the local authorities who strictly regulate the entire operation. As a result, all visitors to the canal can expect the delays and conditions that are inherent with such a transit. A light snack only is served on this tour, therefore you are advised to have a hearty breakfast.

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