Staying in Colon
Replies: 18 - Last Post: Nov 2, 2012 4:43 AM Last Post By: RobertoGustavo
Oct 20, 2012 5:48 AM
Staying in ColonHi
I am going for a two week Panama vacation and would like to hear from people who have been to Colon. I am considering making it my base for visits to Portobelo and the area. I have heard the Hotel Internacional is good. Anyone know if that is true?
I am aware that just the mention of the city brings fear out in some people. I am not writing for tips on being afraid or spending more money. I would rather see no replies than read that. I had previously stayed in the Santa Ana section of Panama City when the guidebooks were all warning people not to even walk there. I loved the low prices, the feeling of being with the average local person and not in some tourist trap with pampered visitors. I travel to be in Panama not Kansas. As it turned out, the old sections of Panama City became the hottest areas.
Colon has some wonderful old buildings in the romantic colonial style. Good transportation connections..bus..train. Great shopping. I'm told there are plenty of good and cheap eating places. If anyone reading this has been there, I would love to read your opinions. Where did you stay and what did you think of it? Thanks.
Oct 20, 2012 8:36 AM
Oct 20, 2012 10:02 AM
2Sorry, eddy. From reading your other posts, I get the feeling Colon would be the type of place you might enjoy. I was afraid a bit when I stayed in Port Au Prince after the earthquake. Afraid before I arrived, that is, but when I got there and saw nothing terrible was going to happen to me that couldn't anyplace else...I felt more relaxed.
Oct 20, 2012 10:03 AM
Oct 20, 2012 10:21 AM
Oct 20, 2012 2:59 PM
5Colon has a Radisson and a Sheraton. And two McDonald's restaurants. How bad can it be?
I've been there, but only briefly to catch the train to Panama City.
Oct 20, 2012 3:25 PM
Oct 20, 2012 5:07 PM
7Stuart666, is there any Mennonite tourism to be had in Panama?
Oct 20, 2012 7:40 PM
Oct 21, 2012 5:09 AM
9Thanks Lan for your helpful comment. And thanks Mal, too...I have been following the news on the protests over a new law and I don't have the same info as someone who might be there (in the city) now. The last report I read was things are under control and yesterday was calm. But we will see how this plays out. I understand there is a night time curfew now with increased patrols. Since I hadn't planned on roaming around after dark anyway...
My unexpert guess would be this would either flare up and spread or just return to normal.
Oct 21, 2012 8:57 AM
Oct 23, 2012 4:17 PM
11Check the TODAY's Panama Guide....Seems the situation is still Heating Up, as of yesterday and today!
Oct 23, 2012 6:14 PM
Oct 24, 2012 11:15 AM
Oct 29, 2012 7:31 AM
Yes Colon has been a traditionally dangerous place but I feel safer there than in Santa Ana. It might be because I was born there and have had family ties for more than 100 years but I think it is like any other place -- there are good streets and bad one's.
The Internacional is a good hotel but there are a couple others as well. I do not have specific information to give you but you can also ask any taxi for the Andros Hotel (near 11th street & Bolivar Ave.). It's really nice and safe. The rooms are very modern with all the conveniences, hot water, wifi, ac, and cable TV. I think when I stayed it was $40 per night. If this is out of your budget there is another hotel called Pension Garcia located on 6th street (if memory serves me well) just off of Central Avenue. The price here is about $18 per night which includes hot water (amazing!), tv, and fan. The street looks a bit dodgy but the Garcia has an advantage over most hotels, it is sandwiched between a rehab center and a mosque at the other end of the block. There are police stationed at both ends of the block at all times and I have never had a problem with the hotel.
Getting around Colon . . . It is not necessary to take a cab everywhere in Colon especially during daylight hours with certain exceptions. Central Avenue is pretty safe to make your way around and so is Bolivar. The market looks dodgy (and smells the same) but it is well guarded during day light. I do not recommend the market area at night as it is frequented by thieves and prostitutes. If you decide to take in a gentleman's club like "Ice Palace" I recommend arriving and leaving by cab as the area and small side streets are loaded with poor people that might see you as an easy target.
A must see in Colon and probably my favorite place is the pool bar at the Washington Hotel. The Washington is by far the safest hotel and location to be as the security is impeccable. Little known fact, U.S. President Taft stayed there. The pool bar offers food and drinks including a spectacular vantage point to see boats just entering / exiting the Gatun Locks, or just chill. This is the one place in all of Colon I feel I can completely let my guard down and just be myself.
If you had other specific interests and my schedule permitted I could perhaps come from Portobelo and give you the full tour. Hope this reply was helpful.
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