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COLON

Colón is a sea port on the Caribbean Sea (Atlantic) coast of Panama. The city lies near theCaribbean Sea entrance to the Panama Canal. It is the capital of Panama's Colón Provinceand has traditionally been known as Panama's second city. Colón was originally located entirely on Manzanillo Island, surrounded by Limon Bay, Manzanillo Bay, and the Folks River. Since the disestablishment of the Canal Zone, the city's limits have been redefined to include the former Canal Zone towns of Cristobal, Rainbow City, Margarita, and Coco Solo, as well as the former U.S. Army base of Fort Gulick.

About 50 miles northwest of Panama City, Colón is home to the northern gateway of the Panama Canal as well as Afro-Caribbean descendants of those workers who helped build the canal in the early 20th century. Colón’s greatest claim to fame—and the main reason visitors come here—is the Colón Free Zone, a massive shopping showroom where wholesalers, retailers and the general public shop. You’ll also find Colón 2000, a cruise-ship port with restaurants, a supermarket, and shops selling duty-free merchandise. The most scenic way to travel here is by way of the restored Panama Canal Railway, featuring elegant, wood-paneled and carpeted rail cars (based on 19th century designs) that takes you on a hour-long journey through the rainforest to Colón.