Colón Province is much, much more than its run-down capital. Think pristine beaches and lowland rainforests, colonial splendor and the modern engineering marvel of the Panama Canal. Portobelo, with its growing music and art scene, shows the best of the vibrant culture of the Congos, descendants of African slaves who have preserved the legacy of their ancestors, while the train trip between Panama City and Colón remains one of the greatest rail journeys in the Americas.
The region's incredible history encompasses the earliest European explorers. During the colonial era, these coastal cities ranked among the world’s richest; their gold and silver stores enticed everyone from English privateer Sir Francis Drake to Admiral Edward Vernon. Today the fallen fortresses and cannons embedded in the coral reefs recall the fallen Spanish empire.