Fuerte San Lorenzo

Colón Province

Declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1980, Fuerte San Lorenzo is perched at the mouth of the Río Chagres on a promontory west of the canal. Despite its violent history, much of San Lorenzo is well preserved, including the moat, cannons and vaulted chambers. The fort also commands a wide view of the river and bay far below, which was one of the reasons the Spanish chose to build here.

San Lorenzo was constructed of blocks of cut coral and armed with row upon row of cannons. If you inspect the cannons closely, you’ll notice that some of them are actually British-made, dating from the time in the 17th century when Sir Francis Drake and his privateer brethren occupied the fort.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Colón Province attractions

1. Área Protegida San Lorenzo

2.32 MILES

Centered on the ruins of the crumbling Spanish colonial fortress of Fuerte San Lorenzo, the 120-sq-km San Lorenzo Protected Area includes the former US…

2. Gatún Locks

6.32 MILES

The impressive Gatún Locks, 10km south of Colón, raise southbound ships 30m from Caribbean waters to Lago Gatún. Just the size of them is mind-boggling:…

3. Gatún Dam


Constructed in 1908 to shore up the Río Chagres and create Lago Gatún, the Gatún Dam was once the world’s largest earthen dam, while Lago Gatún was also…

4. Agua Clara Locks

6.95 MILES

The Panama Canal's Atlantic locks accommodating supersized 'neoPanamax' ships are 8km southwest of Colón.

5. Centro El Tucán

7.07 MILES

The Área Protegida San Lorenzo is best explored with a guide, easily arranged at this community learning and visitor center, which lies on the edge of the…

6. Agua Clara Visitors Center

7.43 MILES

This observation center offers a panoramic view of the Panama Canal expansion, including the three-chambered Agua Clara Locks. Covered decks view Lago…

7. Panama Rainforest Discovery Center

23.02 MILES

Geared toward ecotourism and environmental education, this is an excellent facility for birdwatchers and nature-lovers. Since you are probably here to…

8. Parque Nacional Soberanía

27.92 MILES

This 195-sq-km national park is one of the most accessible tropical rainforests in Panama. It extends much of the way across the isthmus, from Limón on…