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Traffic from Colon to Panama City and back

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minnesota
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Traffic from Colon to Panama City and back

I am researching doing a private tour to Panama City from our cruise which will be in port on Dec 23 2012.

How much time should I allow for travel? Will Christmas week also be a factor?

Our ship will be in port from 9:00 -7:00pm.

Other option is to just take ship tour.

Thanks for any advise .

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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1. Re: Traffic from Colon to Panama City and back

You should allow an hour in each direction from Colon to Panama City. In Panama City, the traffic is usually bad. What are you planning to do/see in the city?

If you're going to the visitors center at Miraflores, you shouldn't have any trouble getting there or getting back, as you can totally avoid the city.

I recommend using the tourist taxis (labeled SET) at the port. The drivers speak English and there have been good reviews here in T/A on their tours.

minnesota
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2. Re: Traffic from Colon to Panama City and back

thank you for the information.

In the city we would like to see Casco Viejo area, cathedral, French and Bolviar square, artisan market and Cerro Ancor and a nice lunch of local cusine.

Beyond a driver, we would really like a guide who could give us some history of Panama and the areas we are visiting. We would have between 6-10 people.

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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3. Re: Traffic from Colon to Panama City and back

Then you definitely need to get an SET (Servicio Especial de Turismo) taxi. Some are vans, and they reportedly have drivers who are well versed in Panamanian history.

Contact Roberto - Robtads2@hotmail.com -- he has a family run tour company based in Colon.

If you are really interested in Panamanian history, go to the Panama Canal Museum in Casco Viejo. You'll get an understanding of the well deserved love-hate relationship between Panama the U.S.

Also, if you want a historical/natural perspective of Panama, which very few tourists take the opportunity to experience -- have your driver take the Old Forest Road (AKA Madden Dam Road). Have the driver stop at the trailhead of the Camino las Cruces (Las Cruces Trail). Hike in about a mile. On your way, you will notice much of the trail is laid with smooth river rock. The stones were put there by indians, enslaved by the conquistadores, to build the route across the isthmus. This road was traveled by mules carrying Inca gold and silver to Portobelo. It carried English pirates under Henry Morgan who came to sack Panama in 1690/91. And, it carried the 49ers to and from the California gold fields. If you follow the trail about a mile, you will come to rocks with holes distinctly shaped like horse/mule hooves. These grooved holes were bored into the rock by 300 years of mules carrying goods across the isthmus. But, perhaps most importantly, as you drive down Madden Dam Road, you'll see virgin jungle -- the same jungle that was faced by conquistadores, pirates, 49ers, Panamaños and those who strove to build the ditch between two oceans. Better than any museum, this alone will give you an appreciation for the challenges faced by all who ever attempted to conquer the isthmus.

Edited: 28 February 2012, 03:51
minnesota
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4. Re: Traffic from Colon to Panama City and back

gb williams,

Thank you so much for this information. I will contact Roberto.

In fact maybe we will change our plans and do this dirve into the jungle and the hike and then also visit Portebelo, see the old custom house ,the ruins of the fortifcations and visit the Church with the black Christ., maybe the Gatun locks have lunch and return to the ship.

We will have been in Cartagena the day before. We will be cruising the whole canal after our Colon port of call.

This is the reason I love trip advisor!!

Thank again for your expert advise.

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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5. Re: Traffic from Colon to Panama City and back

I'm afraid you won't have time to do both -- hike the trail and visit Portobelo and Gatun. The drive from Colon to Portobelo is about 50 minutes to an hour. The Las Cruces trailhead is also about 50 minutes from Colon, but in a different direction. Going from Portobelo to the trailhead will take about an hour and 20 minutes. So, you would have to cut short the time you can spend in Portobelo.

If you go to Portobelo, be sure to have lunch at La Torre. They have the best empanadas in the world! And, their seafood entres and coconut rice are the best.

minnesota
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6. Re: Traffic from Colon to Panama City and back

gb williams,

Yes, now I understand the distance involved.

I think getting a quote from Roberto for a day tour to Panaman city and one for Portobelo will give my group a choice of what they want to do.

I defintely want to visit the Panama Canal museum if we go to Panama city.And will want to buy molas in Portobelo if we go there. I love them. The lunch recommendation also is appreciated.

I am currently getting my book list ready to read up Spanish colonial history of Panama including Henry Morgan and his raid. Then move on to books about the building of the canal.

I am sure I will have more questions later.

Part of any trip for me is doing all this wonderful research.

thanks.

T J
Annapolis, Maryland
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7. Re: Traffic from Colon to Panama City and back

Azulann,

Kindly send me an email about this special trip! Thanks, FantasticFreckle, aka T J.

LN
Panama City, Panama
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8. Re: Traffic from Colon to Panama City and back

Azulan posted regarding this over 6 months ago. From the look of her contributions, she hasn't posted on Panama in a long time. Please send her a personal message on here in case she still isn't watching this site.

minnesota
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278 posts
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9. Re: Traffic from Colon to Panama City and back

i have been doing more research about Panama. Currently reading a book on Henry Morgan written by one of his Dutch pirates who was with him in the sacking of Panama.

I have organized my tour with Roberto and have given him two more referrals for a day trip to Panama City for other passengers.

Our cruise will be here in three months and cannot wait to visit Panama and do a full transit of the canal.

thanks tripadvisor readers.

LN
Panama City, Panama
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10. Re: Traffic from Colon to Panama City and back

Great Azulann,! Roberto is highly recommended and knows the area very well.

Enjoy and see ya soon.