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Colon, Panama

ShoreExcursions.com offers an excellent variety of independent shore excursions in Colon.

Unforgettable Shore Excursions in Colon, Panama

Explore the vibrant beauty of Colon, Panama with our exceptional shore excursions that promise a truly unforgettable experience. From lush rainforests to historical landmarks, our tours are carefully designed to immerse you in the rich culture and natural wonders of this remarkable destination. Discover the essence of Panama through three distinct excursions that cater to different interests and preferences.

Discover the Pristine Rainforests

Immerse yourself in nature’s splendor.

Get ready for an awe-inspiring adventure as you embark on a journey through the pristine rainforests of Colon. Our experienced guides will lead you deep into the heart of the jungle, where you’ll encounter exotic wildlife, cascading waterfalls, and lush flora. Feel the thrill of walking among the treetops on our exhilarating canopy tour, offering breathtaking views and an adrenaline rush like no other. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or an adventure seeker, this excursion will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Unveil the Secrets of Panama’s Rich History

Step back in time.

Delve into the captivating history of Panama with our immersive historical excursion. Explore the iconic ruins of Portobelo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and learn about its fascinating past as a major trade hub. Walk through the cobblestone streets, marvel at the well-preserved forts, and listen to intriguing stories of pirates and conquistadors. Your journey will also take you to the Gatun Locks, where you’ll witness the marvels of engineering that make the Panama Canal possible. This excursion is a perfect blend of education, cultural immersion, and awe-inspiring sights.

Relax and Unwind on Panama’s Pristine Beaches

Paradise awaits.

Escape to paradise with our beach getaway excursion. Immerse yourself in the sun-kissed beauty of Panama’s pristine beaches. Feel the soft sand beneath your feet, take a refreshing dip in crystal-clear waters, and let the gentle ocean breeze soothe your soul. Indulge in the laid-back atmosphere and savor a delicious beachside lunch, complete with local flavors and tropical delights. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or simply a break from everyday life, this excursion offers the perfect blend of tranquility and tropical bliss.

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Colon, Panama

Shore Excursions in Colon, Panama

ShoreExcursion.com offers a wide choice of tours, activities and attractions in Colon, Panama. Browse all of our available shore excursions.

Discover Panama’s Hidden Treasures with Our Shore Excursions

Embark on an extraordinary journey with our captivating shore excursions in Colon, Panama. From pristine beaches to lush rainforests, our expertly crafted experiences will leave you in awe. Uncover the magic that awaits you.

Unearth Untouched Beach Paradises

  • Beach Lovers’ Dream : Picture yourself stepping onto the soft, powdery sands of Panama’s hidden gems. With our shore excursions, you can dive into the turquoise waters of Playa Blanca or relax under the swaying palms at Isla Grande. Bask in the warm tropical sun, and let your worries drift away as the waves kiss your toes.
  • Marine Adventures : For the adventurous souls, our shore excursions offer snorkeling and scuba diving in the vibrant coral reefs of San Blas. Dive into a world teeming with colorful marine life, where every moment is a thrilling discovery.

Immerse Yourself in Rainforest Wonders

  • Rainforest Odyssey : Colon’s lush rainforests beckon nature enthusiasts to explore their hidden mysteries. Our excursions take you on a journey through the wild, where you can witness exotic flora and fauna. Hike through Gamboa’s Soberania National Park and hear the enchanting melodies of birds echoing through the canopy.
  • Panama Canal Adventure : Don’t miss the chance to witness the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal. Our tours guide you through its locks, providing a close-up view of these colossal gates in action. It’s a thrilling experience that you’ll remember forever.

Delight in Cultural Encounters

  • Historical Treasures : Colon is steeped in history, and our shore excursions introduce you to its rich heritage. Explore the historic San Felipe Fortress and walk in the footsteps of the past. The stories of this remarkable place will come to life before your eyes.
  • Local Art and Cuisine : Indulge your senses by savoring authentic Panamanian cuisine and admiring local artwork. Our excursions take you to vibrant markets, where you can taste traditional delicacies and buy souvenirs to cherish forever.

Click Here To See All Shore Excursions in Colon, Panama

msc shore excursions colon panama

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Colón Panama Cruise Port: Tips, Attractions and Weather

The Colón cruise port is the gateway to the Panama Canal on the Caribbean side and one of the more popular stops on “exotic” western Caribbean cruises.

The most popular western Caribbean cruises usually visit some combination of Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. The word “exotic” in exotic western cruises promoted by cruise lines usually means the ship will go to one or more ports of call on on the Central American coast. Roatan, Belize City, Costa Rica and Panama’s Colón lead the list.

Cruise visitors usually arrive at Colón 2000 or Pier 6 of Cristóbal port on the south side of Limon Bay. The location on the bay is important to know for the sake of seeing as much as possible in the shortest amount of time.

Colón is the provincial capital, and the province has Central America’s largest port system.

Like other Central American countries with a Caribbean coast, Panama offers more in the way of ecotourism, history, culture and education than just plain beaches. In fact, Colón is not the place to go for beaches. So plan excursions accordingly.

Quick Travel Tips

Where is colón panama.

Colón Panama is a little more than 200 miles east to southeast of Puerto Limon in Costa Rica. Because of their closeness, they often are included on the same cruise itinerary. But like Limon, Colón is one of the southernmost ports of any western Caribbean cruise at 900 miles south of Cozumel. For that reason, Colón is usually on exotic western Caribbean itineraries of at least seven days.

Attractions and Shore Excursions

A cruise to Panama might lead someone to think that the main attraction is the Panama Canal and the famous locks that raise and lower ships as they cross between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

They would be right, but Colón has more to offer.

Walking Around Attractions

Colón cruise port map.

The area around the Colón 2000 terminal is known for its restaurants and shopping. The area around the nearby Cristóbal port is known for its craft markets.

The two locations are about three miles apart and take 10 minutes to reach by regulated taxis.

It is worth noting that Colón has a reputation for street crime, but government authorities have made a strong effort to make tourists feel secure within the duty-free zone. Make sure to use a registered taxi when traveling outside of the zone and don’t display wallets or jewelry. When possible, walk with or among other tourists.

Colon 2000 is a growing tourism district with restaurants, shops, casinos and duty free shopping mall. The mall calls itself, “The only tourism and tax-free mall in the Caribbean”, although some other ports with malls beg to differ. The mall has dozens of shops representing some major international brands.

The Panama government has invested $900 million in a major city renovation. It includes refurbished streets, improved sewage systems and upgrades of public spaces and buildings.

Otherwise, the city doesn’t have much to see or do outside of Colón 2000. It is one of the few Caribbean ports without any guided city shore excursions at this time. Most cruise visitors opt for the shore excursions that take them outside of the city.

Shore Excursions

The most popular shore excursions take cruise travelers to the Panama Canal locks.

For first-time visitors, it is useful to know that the Panama Canal was made possible because of the narrow width of Panama between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and a huge investment of money and labor (as well as lives). It also was made possible by the presence of the sprawling Lake Gatún near Colón.

Limon Bay connects with Lake Gatún at the Gatún Locks, the first of the famous locks on the Atlantic side that raise and lower ships going through Panama and that need to adjust to different terrains and sea levels.

The lake and the locks are only about a 25 minute drive from Colón via taxi or excursion bus.

A tour of the locks is not the most exciting experience for a cruise traveler in the Caribbean , but it is one of the most impressive and educational excursions. The tour is highly recommended for families in particular.

Anyone on a tight schedule can visit the locks and return to Colón within a few hours. Other visitors usually combine the locks with other activities including a kayak or canoe tour around Lake Gatún to view the numerous species of wildlife that live there. Less active people can take boat tours.

Other Attractions

Two of the next best attractions in the area are in opposite directions of each other along the Atlantic coast.

Fort San Lorenzo, one of the oldest Spanish forts in America, lies about 45 minutes west of Colón. Built in 1597, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was designed to protect the mouth of Chagres River. A four- to five-hour tour that includes both the fort and the Gatún locks will cost about $100 per person with discounts for children.

The Chagres was an entry point for boats that traveled upstream to reach Venta de Cruces. From that point, they walked to Panama City on a trail Camino de Cruces.

Cruise visitors to Colon also can go to Panama City on a much quicker shore excursion than early settlers. They can take a train or excursion bus from the Colon docks on a one-hour ride across the country. It includes a tour of the historical Panama City as well as a visit to the Miraflores Locks. Prices usually range from about $75 to $150 depending on the length, mode of transportation and other factors.

Portobelo National Park is another UNESCO World Heritage site located about an hour east of Colón. Christopher Columbus discovered and named the landing site Portobelo, which is Italian for “beautiful port,” in 1502.

Francisco Valverde y Mercado founded the city of San Felipe de Portobelo in 1597. The Spaniards shipped gold and silver from Peru, unloaded it at Panama City and carried it on mules across the isthmus to Portobelo. Visitors can see the remains of the original fortifications that protected the plunder from pirates.

Beaches Near the Cruise Port

Colón is known for the above shore excursions, but it’s not known as a beach destination.

Although Panama has its share of good beaches, most of them are located elsewhere, like Bocas del Toro.

Cruise visitors to Colon with a passion for beaches can go to Playa La Angosta, which is about a 40 minute drive from Colon, or to Isla Grande, an island about an hour away.

Shopping / Restaurants

Visitors can start their shopping at the modest Colón 2000 mall right by the cruise docks. It is known for a handful of shops, restaurants, a casino and a safe environment. For safety reasons, tourists should not venture outside of the mall unless by taxi or excursion bus.

Colón claims the second largest duty-free shopping zone in the world.  The much bigger opportunity lies at the Colón Free Zone southeast of the cruise docks. It has more than 3,000 companies represented on more than 1,000 acres of land.

Cristobal Pier on the eastern side of the Panama Canal has an active crafts market.

Another interesting option is for passengers to hop on a train and go to Panama City. The distance is 46 miles, and the ride lasts about an hour. Passengers can board the train at the Atlantic Passenger Station in Mount Hope near the Port of Cristobal. It is a mile and a half southwest of the cruise terminal. Multiple cruise lines offer this trip as an excursion.

Getting Around / Transportation

Colón is better known as a port where cruise passengers take excursions into the countryside or over to Panama City rather than staying in the city. Although taxi service is available in Colón, there are few options for traveling short distances.

“Rather than spending the day in Colon, many cruise passengers choose instead to participate in shore excursions arranged by their ships or tours organized independently,” as one cruise line said.

Panama weather on the Caribbean coast enjoys drier weather from late winter to early summer and wetter weather from early summer to late fall.

The wet weather in the second half of the year is the result of the Caribbean hurricane season. It brings heavier rains to the Caribbean and parts of Central America. Panama rarely gets hit by a hurricane, but instead has spikes in rain.

Temperatures are warm throughout the year with average highs nearing 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 Celsius.

msc shore excursions colon panama

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The Suitcase Scholar

Transiting the Panama Canal by Ferry: an MSC Cruise Ship Excursion

msc shore excursions colon panama

I have wanted to sail through the Panama Canal ever since I learned of its existence. And I learned of its existence in third grade social studies class. It may have been fourth grade. Either way, it was definitely the mid-1980’s. So I didn’t even consider other excursion options for the port of Colon, Panama. I was going to take the canal cruise excursion and that was that. I actually booked this excursion the day I booked the cruise, which is a level of commitment I have never before achieved. I usually research and weigh my options and research and weigh some more. Not this time. I was like please take my money in exchange for this excursion please and thank you.

Ok fine. That’s an exaggeration. I did read a few reviews of this trip, and they all mentioned that it is a really long day. Many people used all caps. This excursion is a REALLY LONG DAY, they said. But I was like: I do not care if it is a three day excursion, I am doing it. Also, how long can a day be, am I right?

Now that I’ve done the Panama Canal by Ferry excursion I can confidently say: this excursion is a REALLY, REALLY LONG DAY.

But it is a really, really long day I’m so deeply glad I was able to experience.

To be fair, many things beyond anyone’s control made the day feel so long. Disembarkation in Colon was delayed by an hour and a half, which mean that I spent 90 minutes in the early morning sitting in the theater waiting to be able to exit the ship–along with a good 600 other people who were waiting for their excursions. Once we finally disembarked, we scurried through an enormous and rather industrial looking duty free shop before boarding a coach bus to take us to the boat launching point.

Our bus had a tour guide, and he provided a fantastic narrative of the country we were passing through all the way to the ferry dock at the Gamboa Dredging Station, which is located where the Chagres river intersects with the Panama Canal, immediately south/east of Gatun Lake. Fun fact: for some reason I thought the canal ran east/west, because my very elementary understanding of oceans is that the Atlantic is east and the Pacific is west. But when transiting the Panama Canal, you are traveling from north to south through the narrow country of Panama, which runs vaguely east/west.

The ride to the ferry dock at Gamboa took one hour and ten minutes. Fifteen minutes or so were spent exiting Colon, which is a very interesting-looking city. It kind of looks like someone set Havana on fire and then walked away. For like a hundred years. This is not to say Colon is ugly–it isn’t. It’s actually rather fascinating, and I wish I had time to explore it beyond the bus ride out of town. But if you are used to cruising to traditional Caribbean ports with beaches and brightly-colored buildings, this isn’t that.

We were then on a very nice highway for about thirty minutes before turning off onto what our tour guide called a forest road. We wound through what appeared to be a state or national park for another 25 minutes or so before arriving to our ferry.

The ferry was larger than I thought/hoped, and everyone on our bus piled on–followed by five more busses. I found a seat on the second/top deck on the port side of the ferry, in the front just before the shade cover ended. I thought I wanted to sit in the front front, out of cover, but the seats were black plastic and had been baking in the sun all morning, so they were hot like lava. But don’t worry. It’s only medium-important to get a good seat, as you’ll be up and walking around the ferry for most of the day.

After boarding the ferry we sat there. And sat there. And sat there some more. We didn’t actually set sail until an hour and fifteen minutes AFTER we boarded. We were given two reasons for this, and I’m not sure which one was accurate. Probably both. The first reason was that the locks in the canal cause traffic. Only one large ship–or two ferries, like ours–can go through at a time. And transiting a lock takes time. We were behind a much larger ship that took priority over our little vessel, so we had to wait. Which was fine. It was a beautiful, sunny day and I was sitting in the shade.

We got underway a little before noon and, after traversing the three locks and the entirety of the canal, emerged into the Pacific around 4pm. We then spent another hour slowly puttering toward the farthest point in Panama City before docking and returning to the bus.

During our five hours on board the ferry, we transited three locks and crossed the continental divide. I wasn’t sure if a ferry transit would be as epic as going through the Panama Canal on a cruise ship–as cruises billed as Panama Canal cruises do–but as it turns out, the ferry was a far better option, and I’m really glad that MSC includes Colon as a port stop so that this experience is possible. Being on a small ferry rather than a huge cruise ship gives you a very up close and personal view of the workings of the locks. On a huge ship, you are 15 stories above the water. On the ferry, we could (and did) reach out and touch the walls of the canal and make eye contact and smile with the men working the locks. I cannot imagine a better way to experience the Panama Canal than on a small ferry. For more on what this experience was like, please see the photo essay near the end of this post.

We emerged from the canal into the Pacific by 4:15pm and then continued on to enjoy some time puttering around in Panama Bay. The sun started to descend toward the horizon at this point, and the light was perfect, and the Panama City skyline framed by boats in the harbor and mountains in the distance was stunning. If you also want to relax in this kind of atmosphere, you can avail services like yacht charter st martin .

msc shore excursions colon panama

It was nearing 5:30pm when we disembarked the ferry, and we still had a 90-minute bus ride back to the port. The sun was setting as we drove out of town and our tour guide provided narration so we had a value-added mini tour of Panama City. It wasn’t long until we hit some of the worst rush hour traffic I’ve ever seen. We got back to the ship so late that they had to wait to depart for more than an hour past sail away, and they drove the bus right up to the gangway so we could re-board the MSC Divina as quickly as humanly possible.

I will admit that I did have a little mental breakdown on the bus ride home once we encountered the traffic. It was a long, hot, sunny day, and ending it with a 90-minute bus ride was hard. But I do not regret taking this excursion. And I’d do it again. Except I wouldn’t, because there are a ton of other cool things to do on a port day in Colon. My travel companion Heather took a wildlife cruise on Gatun Lake and spent the day on a boat with monkeys. There are also city tours of Panama City, as well as a variety of nature excursions. I realize that Colon is a very nontraditional cruise port, but I am glad it was a part of this very unique itinerary.

If you have the opportunity to transit the Panama Canal on a ferry, do it. Despite all of the warnings I’m providing about the longness of the day, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done on a port day.

Below you will find several of my photos from this excursion, a detailed itinerary of actual travel and activity times, and a short FAQ section which will hopefully answer most questions about this excursion. But if you are considering this excursion and have any additional questions, please ask in the comments. I will always respond.

Panama Canal by Ferry Excursion in Photos

msc shore excursions colon panama

Puente Centenario

msc shore excursions colon panama

This is a mule. It is named that because they used to use actual mules until they came up with this train-esque devide. They are used to keep the ropes taut so larger vessels don’t bang into the sides of the canal.

msc shore excursions colon panama

Looking aft in the Pedro Miguel locks.

msc shore excursions colon panama

Lowering into the Pedro Miguel locks in a small-ish ferry.

msc shore excursions colon panama

Entering the Miraflores Locks, which are a series of two locks.

msc shore excursions colon panama

Second lock at Miraflores.

msc shore excursions colon panama

Following an empty container ship under the Bridge of the Americas.

msc shore excursions colon panama

Exiting the Panama Canal into the Pacific Ocean at Panama City.

msc shore excursions colon panama

Panama City sunset as seen from the bus back to Colon.

Panama Canal by Ferry Excursion Timetable

Drive from Colon to Gamboa Dredging Station: 1 hour 10 minutes.

Sitting on the ferry not moving: 1 hour+

Transit of Panama Canal: 5 hours.

Waiting to get off the ferry and then waiting to get back on the bus: 30 minutes.

Drive back to Colon: 1 hour 30 minutes.

Panama Canal by Ferry Excursion FAQ

Availability of Food:  A lunch was served on the ferry about halfway through the transit. I didn’t eat it because I have health issues, but it looked perfectly passable as a way to stay alive for the day. There were also ice cold bottles of water and cans of Coke available at all times. You could also buy a can of beer for $2 USD.

Availability of toilets:  There are no toilets on the bus, but there are two large restrooms on the ferry–one for men and one for women. The women’s room had three or four stalls, and the toilets were standard flush toilets and were clean and well stocked (toilet paper, soap etc.)

Transportation mode:  Coach bus to ferry to coach bus.

Travel times:  75 minute bus ride. 5 hour ferry. 90 minute bus ride.

Activity level:  low. The bus was not wheelchair accessible, but if you can get onto a bus you can do this excursion.

Could You Do This Independently? 

No. Absolutely not. Even if there were tour companies in Colon which provide this service–and there are not–you would almost guarantee that you’d miss the ship. It’s a very long day and there is a lot that is out of the control of the tour operators–like traffic, both on the canal and on the highway back from Panama City. This is one of the few times where you do just need to take the cruise ship excursion.

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Was there a gift shop where you boarded the ferry? Any way to get any souvenirs on this excursion?

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There was no gift shop, no. It’s just a concrete block building with two toilets and then a concrete area where you board the ferry. I believe there was a woman on the ferry selling bracelets and stickers, but that’s about it for the opportunity to purchase things.

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I can walk about 70ft. Without assistance before I must stop to rest ..knowing this does this seem like an excursion I can manage. Thank you for any info u can provide.

The biggest hurdle then will be getting from the ship to the bus. It’s maybe a 3 block walk from the gangway, through the indoor shopping area, and then out to the line of busses. I would perhaps contact the cruise line and see if you can get assistance to the bus. Other than that, you should be good.

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Colon (Panama)

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Colon cruise port

Region Bahamas - Caribbean - Bermuda

Local Time 2024-07-10 00:58

Port Colon cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Colon, Panama. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.

Colon cruise port is located at the end of the Panama Canal (Caribbean Sea). The city is Panama's second-largest (population around 80,000/metro around 220,000) - after the capital Panama City .

On December 14, 2021, NCL-Norwegian Cruise Line announced that starts seasonally to homeport a ship in Panama City (for Panama Canal roundtrips) with Norwegian Jewel (starting on March 20, 2022).

  • The homeporting was based on a multi-year contract (signed with the Panama Tourism Authority) allowing NCL to homeport a liner at two Panamese cruise terminals - Colon and Fuerte Amador (Panama City, on the Pacific Ocean).
  • NCL Jewel's itineraries (starting from Panama City) visit Costa Rica ( Puerto Limon ), Aruba ( Oranjestad ), Curacao ( Willemstad ), Bonaire ( Kralendijk ), and Colombia ( Cartagena ), and end in Colon.

Port Colon (locode PAONX) is currently ranked the world's second-largest duty-free port (after Sanya China ). The Port was established in 1850 and since 1948 is a "Free Trade Zone" (freeport). Colon Free Trade Zone occupies land area approx 2,4 km2 (~243 hectares/600 acres) and is divided in two areas - the old one is in Colon City and the new one is in the harbor (where are the warehouses.

Originally, Colon was entirely on Manzanillo Island and surrounded by Manzanillo Bay, Limon Bay, and Folks River. However, since the disestablishment of the Panama Canal Zone (aka Canal Zone/November 1903 thru October 1979), its limits have been redefined to include Fort Gulick (former US Army Base), as well three former Canal Zone towns (Coco Solo, Cristobal, Margarita).

A restoration and reconstruction project, which involves historic buildings, monuments, parks and avenues started in late 2014. The First Baptist Church of Colon, Panama, is among the buildings whose renovation was completed.

Colon cruise terminal

Colon Cruise Terminal has two docks - "Colon 2000" and "Cristobal Pier".

Colon 2000 Cruise Terminal

Colon 2000 was constructed at the millennium’s turn. It is in the Province of Colon and its managers are a private company. They invested USD 15 million to develop the project for modern Colon cruise port piers and terminals. It has the greatest efficiency among all Central America’s seaports.

The first part of the project was ready in October 2000. The first Colon cruise Terminal and Pier’s name is “Port of Call.” Here are located the customs.

In February 2008 was developed the second Colon Cruise Port Terminal and Pier is the “Home Port.” It is in service since December 2008. The building has three gates separated for cargo, passengers and luggage.

Colon cruise port terminal building offers native craft boutiques, bar-cafe, lounge areas, duty-free mall, supermarket.

Cristobal Pier Cruise Terminal

The distance between Cristobal Pier and Colon 2000 is 5 km. The taxi rate for the 10-minute journey is $3 roughly. Colon cruise port terminal at Cristobal pier usually welcomes its guest with native dances right in the building. There is also a nice shopping area.

Colon tours, shore excursions, hotels

City tours and shore excursions.

Panama's main tourist season runs between December and April. September, October, February and March usually are rainy months for Colon.

  • Duty Free Zone: The main attraction of Colon is the Free Zone. The shopping complex comprises ~1600 stores (wholesale and retail).
  • Festivals: Colon is famous with its festival in March, April and October. The most famous are the Festival of Diablos and Congos and the Festival of the Black Christ.
  • Beaches: the most famous one is Playa La Angosta. If you don’t like crowds, avoid Sundays.
  • Portobelo: an hour drive from Colon, visit the Customs House (UNESCO site).
  • Isla Grande: an hour from the city., resort are with hotels, restaurants, shops and water activities.
  • Barro Colorado Nature Preserve: national park in the Colon Province. It spreads over 5,364 hectares.
  • Soberania National Park: rain forest.
  • Portobelo National Park: visit coral reefs and mangrove forests. Meet the wildlife or see the fortifications (UNESCO sites).
  • Embera Quera Village: to reach the village, you have to drive ~25 minutes and then ride a canoe for ~20 minutes. The native village offers amazing time and local goods as carvings and baskets.
  • Fort San Lorenzo (Fuerte de San Lorenzo) is a ruins site located approx 13 km (8 mi) west of Colon, and overlooking Chagres River.

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MSC Divina in Panama

Dckamme

By Dckamme , August 28, 2018 in Panama Canal

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25+ Club

We are looking into Panama Canal cruises in December of 2019 and I came across the MSC Divina that has an 11 night itinerary that includes a stop in panama, it does not however say anything about transit so my question is does this ship just port at colon panama and not actually go through the locks? It says it’s in colon panama from 9am-6pm. Has anyone done this sailing on here? I am also curious to see if excursions will be available, if the ship doesn’t actually go through the locks maybe we can take an excursion that will allow us to see them. I would love to hear your experiences!

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CruiserBruce

CruiserBruce

I would be asking this on the MSC board, here:

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=80

In looking at the schedule, I see no indication this is even a partial transit. It just says "Docked" in Colon. So you will need to take a tour to see the Canal.

BillB48

When cruise ships call at Colon, tours to transit a portion of the Canal are normally offered. This tour goes by several different names, what is involved is a bus trip towards the Pacific side where you board vessel often times referred to as a "ferry", even though only one of the vessels used looks like a ferry. While on your tour boat you travel the Pacific approach to the Canal, pass below the Bridge of Americas, lock through Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks, sail through Gaillard (Culebra) Cut to Gamboa. Then you are bused back to Colon, this tour can run in either direction, no difference. There are also usually tours to just visit the new and the old locks, tours to Panama City, Embera Indians and other historical sites.

Holiday Sharing

Check with other cruise lines to see what they offer.

10,000+ Club

11 days from Miami is not a cruise through the canal. It is a partial visit.

You can see the map of the voyage on the MSC web site.

They will certainly offer an excursion to give you a taste of going through the canal. IF you want a complete transit through the canal you need to be on board the ship for longer, about 15 days minimum.

Princess cruise line offers many of these.

Thanks guys! I’m good with a tour/excursion to the locks, would like to see Panama City as well. We are pushing it by taking 12 days off as it is so I couldn’t do any longer. The princess cruise is tempting too but it’s about $1000 more for us so I’m leaning towards the MSC Cruise

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just watched an episode last night on the TV series " Mighty Cruise Ships" of the MSC Divina doing the eastern / western Caribbean. Having done it as a passenger & then see the behind the scenes how it's done was interesting & brings back fond memories..

savoirfaire

We are doing this cruise in Feb 2019; they just posted their excursions. The ship does not go through. There is a 8-hr excursion, however.

  • 1 month later...

ready2cruzagain

ready2cruzagain

We are doing this cruise in December.  The ship docks but does not go through the Canal.  They do offer an 8 hour tour for $155pp.

  • 9 months later...

Nashna

We are on the Davina in January doing the same itinerary.  The excursions offered include visiting the locks and partial canal tours, eco tours, visiting villages and train and bus trips to Panama City.  I would go to MSC's site to see the excursions.  I understand Colon is NOT safe, so you will want to do a ship excursion.  

2 hours ago, Nashna said: We are on the Davina in January doing the same itinerary.  The excursions offered include visiting the locks and partial canal tours, eco tours, visiting villages and train and bus trips to Panama City.  I would go to MSC's site to see the excursions.  I understand Colon is NOT safe, so you will want to do a ship excursion.  

Colon is certainly not the place for you to leave the pier area and wonder around by yourself.  However, there is no problem if you want to engage a private tour operator... you really don't have to restrict yourself to the ship's excursion.  Of course there are always some advantages with the ship's excursion, particularly returning to the ship in a timely manner.  Many of the available excursions at the Colon stop are a considerable distance from Colon and in rather remote areas.  The Embera Indian excursion would be an example.

There would be nothing inherently unsafe about hiring a cab to take to and from Agua Clara Locks if you did want to take an all day tour, they are available at the port.  You just would want to hire the cab for the trip to the Locks, wait for you and return to the ship.

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msc shore excursions colon panama

msc shore excursions colon panama

The 5 Best Kids Sail Free Cruises for 2024 & Beyond

I f you're angling for an affordable family cruise , you'll be happy to know that several major cruise lines let children sail for free (either regularly or during special promotions). Read on to discover which lines cater to families with kids sail free offers.

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Holland America Line

Deal: Holland America Line is offering a "Kids Cruise Free" promotion on select itineraries in 2024. The offer applies to several itineraries including Hawaii , the Caribbean and the Panama Canal; to qualify, children must be 18 or younger and cruising as third and/or fourth guests in the same cabin as adults. As with similar promotions, taxes and port fees are still required for each child's sailing.

Family-friendly perks: Amenities onboard Holland America ships include kids clubs and youth programs, as well as shore excursions oriented to families with little ones in tow. Plenty of stateroom options can also accommodate larger bookings. The Nieuw Statendam and Koningsdam ships, in particular, feature oversized staterooms with beds for four, a large sitting area and a spacious veranda.

Book a Holland America Line Cruise on GoToSea , a service of U.S. News.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Deal: Norwegian Cruise Line lets third and fourth guests cruise free on select itineraries throughout the year. Cruises to which this promotion applies are offered all over the world, including bucket-list destinations like Alaska and the Mediterranean .

Some of the itineraries that qualify for free third and fourth guests also come with complimentary amenities like an unlimited open bar, specialty dining, shore excursions and/or complimentary Wi-Fi. Additionally, some of the itineraries include generous discounts on the total cruise cost , as well as free airfare for a second guest (when booked through the cruise line).

Family-friendly perks: With Norwegian's all-ages kids clubs, family dining, entertainment and activities included in one bundled rate, planning a kid-approved vacation with the cruise line is a breeze. Many Norwegian ships also feature an array of family-friendly staterooms with plenty of extra space. For example, the luxurious Norwegian Prima offers a two-bedroom family villa with a large balcony in "The Haven" – its exclusive area for VIP guests.

Explore Norwegian Cruise Line deals on GotoSea.

Royal Caribbean International

Deal: Royal Caribbean offers a "Kids Sail Free" deal several times each year, allowing children 12 or younger to cruise free provided they are the third guests (or beyond) staying in the same cabin as at least two paying adults. The only catch is that blackout dates apply – typically during holiday and school breaks.

Family-friendly perks: There's a reason so many families choose Royal Caribbean ; kid-friendly amenities range from age-specific programming to zip lining at sea. The line's  exclusive island for cruisers , Perfect Day at CocoCay in  the Bahamas , is also a big hit with young passengers thanks to its waterslides and splash areas.

Compare Royal Caribbean cruise itineraries on GotoSea.

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Costa Cruises

Deal: Costa Cruises may not be as popular as some other cruise lines on our list, but it's a worthwhile option for cruisers looking to sail through Europe, the Middle East or South America. The cruise line allows kids traveling as third or fourth guests to sail for free with two adults in the same cabin, and this promotion applies to passengers ages 2 to 17. This offer is valid on all sailings offered by the line, many of which feature destinations in desirable ports along the Mediterranean such as Barcelona , Marseille and Rome .

Family-friendly perks: Costa Cruises vessels offer abundant family-friendly amenities, from water parks to arcades to mini golf. Kids clubs are available for children ages 3 to 11, and they provide entertainment like arts and crafts, themed parties, and games galore. A teen zone also hosts cruisers ages 12 to 17 who want to mingle, sing karaoke and play group sports when ships aren't in port.

Find a Costa Cruises deal on GotoSea.

MSC Cruises

Deal: MSC Cruises lets children younger than 18 cruise for free on select itineraries, depending on the ship's capacity. (Other exclusions or eligibility requirements may apply.) Kids must be the third or fourth guests traveling in the same cabin as their parents (at least two adults) for the deal to be valid; note that any port fees and taxes still apply to children's fares.

Family-friendly perks: MSC Cruises offers a variety of leisure activities and amenities designed specifically for kids. On board, youngsters can take advantage of perks from water parks with slides and swimming pools to Broadway-style shows and interactive dinners. The line also hosts fun family excursions and a "Lego Experience On Board" event on every cruise. In addition, there are a myriad of amenities for parents to enjoy while the youngest passengers are occupied by one of five dedicated kids clubs.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Holly Johnson is a seasoned travel writer who has covered family travel and cruises for more than a decade. Johnson has traveled with her family to more than 50 countries, and her many trips have included cruises all over the world. Johnson lives in Indiana with her two children and her husband, Greg.

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IMAGES

  1. Colon Shore Excursions

    msc shore excursions colon panama

  2. Colon Shore Excursion: Panama City and Canal Private Tour 2024

    msc shore excursions colon panama

  3. Private Guided Shore Excursions

    msc shore excursions colon panama

  4. The 10 Best Colon Panama Cruise Excursions

    msc shore excursions colon panama

  5. The 10 Best Panama Canal Shore Excursions & Tours

    msc shore excursions colon panama

  6. 11 BEST Colon (Cristobal) Shore Excursions: Things to Do, Cruise Day

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VIDEO

  1. MSC is in line Panama Canal

  2. Mykonos Shore Excursions: Dive into Luxury and Culture

COMMENTS

  1. Cruise Excursions: all the available shore excursions

    Discover MSC Cruises shore excursions and book your experience now: choose among active adventures, city tours, culture trips, natural excursions and many more. Login Hi, {0} Sign out. 877-665-4655. Mon-Fri 9am - 7pm EST Sat-Sun 9am - 6pm EST. ... (available on specific MSC Cruises itineraries).

  2. THE 10 BEST Colon Shore Excursions (with Prices)

    Full-day Tours. 6+ hours. Enjoy one of the best beaches on the Atlantic coast and admire one of the historical sites where the stories of the authentic…. Free cancellation. from. $143. per adult. 8. Colon Shore Excursion: Panama City and Canal Private Tour.

  3. Cruise to Cristobal, Panama

    Travel to Cristobal in the Republic of Panama with MSC Cruise ships in the Caribbean and enjoy the MSC excursion packages. Login Hi, {0} Sign out. 877-665-4655. Mon-Fri 9am - 7pm EST Sat-Sun 9am - 6pm EST. ... Book an MSC excursion to hop on a ferry that will take you the length of the Panama Canal, through lakes and locks and past the ...

  4. Colon (Cristobal) Shore Excursion Reviews

    Colon City Tour: Apart from the fascinating Panama Canal, there's not a lot to see in Colon City itself. A coach or local taxi-based city tour will show you the well-restored, pink-and-white ...

  5. THE TOP 5 Colon Shore Tours (w/Prices)

    The best Shore Excursions in Colon according to Viator travelers are: Cruiseline Excursion Colon: Rainforest, San Lorenzo Fort and Canal Expansion. Cruiseline Excursion Colon: Panama City tour and Miraflores Locks. Catamaran Sailing Caribbean Beaches with Snorkelling and Lunch - Day Tour. Colon Shore Excursion: Panama City and Canal Private Tour.

  6. Colon Shore Excursions

    Unforgettable Shore Excursions in Colon, Panama. Explore the vibrant beauty of Colon, Panama with our exceptional shore excursions that promise a truly unforgettable experience. From lush rainforests to historical landmarks, our tours are carefully designed to immerse you in the rich culture and natural wonders of this remarkable destination.

  7. Colon Panama excursions

    We have a port day in Colon, Panama in December with MSC Divina. I am interested to hear from anyone who has done an independent excursion. What's worth seeing in a day, who did you use and do you recommend? I have been in contact with MyFriendMario, prices are better than ship excursions but not...

  8. Colón, cruises to Panama

    Book an MSC excursion to hop on a ferry that will take you along the length of the Panama Canal, through lakes and locks and past the Centennial and Americas bridges. Finally, you will arrive at Pacific port at the entrance to the Panama Canal, and then enjoy a 90-minute bus ride back to your ship. Not far from the ceaseless activity on the ...

  9. Colon, Panama Cruises

    Colon, Panama overview. Colon is one of Latin America's busiest commercial centers. Since 1953, it has had a free trade zone, where merchants can import and export goods without paying duties. The main streets of Colon are often crowded with sailors, traders, and tourists. The city has many bars, nightclubs, and gambling establishments.

  10. Colon, Panama Shore Excursions & Tours

    Private Transfer from Colon Cruise Pier to Panama City Hotel. This is a one way transfer between the Colon Cruise Pier and a central Panama City Hotel.This is a straight... Activity level: Easy. $229/per adult. See Details & Book.

  11. Colon, Panama

    Browse all of our available shore excursions. Discover Panama's Hidden Treasures with Our Shore Excursions. Embark on an extraordinary journey with our captivating shore excursions in Colon, Panama. From pristine beaches to lush rainforests, our expertly crafted experiences will leave you in awe. Uncover the magic that awaits you.

  12. Colón Panama Cruise Port: Tips, Attractions and Weather

    Cruise visitors to Colon also can go to Panama City on a much quicker shore excursion than early settlers. They can take a train or excursion bus from the Colon docks on a one-hour ride across the country. It includes a tour of the historical Panama City as well as a visit to the Miraflores Locks. Prices usually range from about $75 to $150 ...

  13. Cristobal, cruises to Panama

    Aquabus Experience: Panama City by Land & Sea (6 hrs) Category: SCENIC ROUTE. Duration: 6 hour (s) Code: CRI13. See details. Add to my cruise. Sail to Cristobal with MSC Cruises, discover special packages and excursions to explore beautiful places in Panama.

  14. Cristobal, cruises to Panama

    Cristóbal is the port enclave in Colón where you will arrive with an MSC cruise. Southwest of the city, a road runs through to the enormous Gatún Locks, where you can get up close to gigantic container ships being raised and lowered between sea level and Lago Gatún. Once across the canal, the road divides: to the right it meanders 22km through dense forest to the evocative ruins of the ...

  15. Colon excursions

    Royal Caribbean. Shore Excursions. Colon excursions. On 3/11/2023 at 12:25 PM, smokeybandit said: I'll be curious on reports of the D+ laundry perk this week if it really is only applicable to Wash and Fold day I'm on allure right now. There is no mention of the laundry perk only applies on a specific day.

  16. Cristobal, cruises to Panama

    Book an MSC excursion to hop on a ferry that will take you along the length of the Panama Canal, through lakes and locks and past the Centennial and Americas bridges. Finally, you will arrive at Pacific port at the entrance to the Panama Canal, and then enjoy a 90-minute bus ride back to your ship. Not far from the ceaseless activity on the ...

  17. Excursions in Colon, Panama

    So if you want to take the train from Colon to Panama City you must book through the cruise line. We only booked this excursion through the cruise line as it was the only way to ride the train. If we were to return to Panama, we would try to hire a car and driver for the day. You do get to see the canal.

  18. Transiting the Panama Canal by Ferry: an MSC Cruise Ship Excursion

    Panama Canal by Ferry Excursion Timetable. Drive from Colon to Gamboa Dredging Station: 1 hour 10 minutes. Sitting on the ferry not moving: 1 hour+. Transit of Panama Canal: 5 hours. Waiting to get off the ferry and then waiting to get back on the bus: 30 minutes. Drive back to Colon: 1 hour 30 minutes.

  19. Colon (Panama) cruise port schedule

    Colon tours, shore excursions, hotels City Tours and Shore Excursions. Panama's main tourist season runs between December and April. September, October, February and March usually are rainy months for Colon. ... MSC Cruises' 2022-2023 Winter lineup of voyages features 2 new ships: MSC World Europa and MSC Seascape. In total, the cruise line ...

  20. Cruise to Cristobal, Panama

    Cristóbal is the port enclave in Colón where you will arrive with an MSC cruise.. Southwest of the city, a road runs through to the enormous Gatún Locks, where you can get up close to gigantic container ships being raised and lowered between sea level and Lago Gatún.. Once across the canal, the road divides: to the right it meanders 22km through dense forest to the evocative ruins of the ...

  21. MSC Divina and Panama Canal

    January 28, 2019. Fredericksburg, VA. #1. Posted May 4, 2021. I am booked on a January 2022 Divina 12 day cruise that hits the ABC Islands, Cartegena, etc and also goes to Colon, Panama. So looks like the ship doesn't go into the Panama Canal like most ships and then turn around. So is my assumption correct that there will be excursions to book ...

  22. MSC Divina in Panama

    37. June 9, 2018. Kansas City, Missouri. #1. Posted August 28, 2018. We are looking into Panama Canal cruises in December of 2019 and I came across the MSC Divina that has an 11 night itinerary that includes a stop in panama, it does not however say anything about transit so my question is does this ship just port at colon panama and not ...

  23. The 5 Best Kids Sail Free Cruises for 2024 & Beyond

    Find a Costa Cruises deal on GotoSea. MSC Cruises. Deal: MSC Cruises lets children younger than 18 cruise for free on select itineraries, depending on the ship's capacity. (Other exclusions or ...