Attractions

Canal in Colón Province

Gatún Locks

The Gatún Locks, 10km south of Colón, raise southbound ships 29.5m from Caribbean waters to Lago Gatún. Just the size of them is mind-boggling. In The Path Between the Seas, David McCullough notes that if stood on i…
Viewpoint in Colón Province

Agua Clara Visitor Center

This new observation center offers an exclusive panoramic view of the Panama Canal expansion. Visits take slightly over an hour. Covered decks view Lago Gatún and the locks; there is also a theater with videos in En…
Historic Building in Portobelo

Real Aduana de Portobelo

The handsome, two-story Royal Customs House of Portobelo was originally built in 1630 to serve as the contaduría (counting house) for the king’s gold. Now the two main rooms house permanent exhibitions, including re…
Fort in Parque Nacional San Lorenzo

Fuerte San Lorenzo

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, inc…
Cultural Center in Parque Nacional San Lorenzo

Centro El Tucán

The protected area at San Lorenzo is best explored with a guide, easily arranged at the Centro El Tucán, a community learning and visitors center that lies on the edge of the reserve. Guides generally charge US$60 p…
Lake in Colón Province

Gatún Dam

Constructed in 1908 to shore up the Río Chagres and to create Lago Gatún, the Gatún Dam was once the world’s largest earthen dam, while Lago Gatún was also the world’s largest artificial body of water (before Lake M…
Fort in Parque Nacional Portobelo

Fuerte San Jerónimo

Fuerte San Jerónimo, close to Portobelo center, was the largest fortress ever built to protect the bay. Eighteen cannon embrasures face the mouth of the bay, some exactly where the Spanish troops left them in 1821, …
Beach in Portobelo

Playa Blanca

A 20-minute boat ride from Portobelo will bring you to this lovely white-sand beach without road access, on a tranquil cove surrounded by dense wilderness. It boasts some of the least disturbed reefs between Colón a…
National Park in Colón Province

Parque Nacional San Lorenzo

Centered on the ruins of the crumbling Spanish colonial fortress of Fuerte San Lorenzo, the 9.6-sq-km Parque Nacional San Lorenzo includes the former US military base of Fuerte Sherman, as well as 12 different ecosy…
Viewpoint in Parque Nacional Portobelo

Mirador Perú

On a hill overlooking Santiago and much of the bay is a small but well-preserved watchtower called Mirador Perú, which was built at the same time as Fuerte Santiago. There are steps carved into the hillside to reach…