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Old 12-10-2015, 20:14   #1
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WOW! What a site! Panama City to Port of Colon question please?

I stumbled across your site during a search for a travel question, and was so impressed by the quality of the site that I stayed on longer just to check it out. Kudos to all who contribute herewith.

I'm trying to find out what options are available or recommended for travel from Panama City Airport to the Port of Colon to catch our sailing trip out of Colon - as well as how much time should be allowed for this? I've been at this all day (making travel arrangements) and just can't seem to find this one answer.

I was ready to give up on this one for today, until finding your site and so many knowledgeable members. If anyone has any suggestions, advice...anything, I'm about to give up and just plan on hitchhiking, although the rest of my family may not be on board for that and schlepping luggage to boot. Thanks so much for anything you can share.
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Old 12-10-2015, 22:00   #2
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Re: WOW! What a site! Panama City to Port of Colon question please?

Are you actually going to Colon or Shelter Bay Marina?

Colon is a slum BTW, be very cautious about going into Colon proper.

Options:

Taxi. About a 1 hour drive. About $100 fare.

Public Buses. Cheap, but means disembarking in the Colon bus terminal and getting a taxi from there...dont even think about walking anywhere from the bus terminal.

Train. Cool option if it fits your schedule. Leaves Panama City around 0715, one hour trip, about $25 IIRC.

Shelter Bay runs a weekly shuttle into Panama City. If you are meeting a boat at Shelter Bay you might be able to ride back on the shuttle.

Line Handler. Hitch a ride on a boat transiting as a line handler. Schedule is of course not very predictable.
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Old 13-10-2015, 05:40   #3
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Re: WOW! What a site! Panama City to Port of Colon question please?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Mediaquen.
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Old 13-10-2015, 05:46   #4
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Re: WOW! What a site! Panama City to Port of Colon question please?

Take the "line handler" option if you can... Peak season for "small boat" canal transits is Nov-April Canal requires 4 line handlers on board so most boats are looking for some one to make the trip. One long day with an early start is usual timing. Check for boats at the Balboa Yacht club which is a common start point on the Pacific side. Will probably get lunch out of the deal as well as an experience you will never forget.

Heed the advice given above regarding Colon proper. Safer in Saigon in the bad old days. Taxi only, outside secure areas (hotel or yacht club)

Good luck and enjoy your stay. Outside of Colon and a few 'burbs in Panama City it is a wonderful place.
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Old 13-10-2015, 05:53   #5
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Re: WOW! What a site! Panama City to Port of Colon question please?

You need to use taxis in Colon but they are everywhere and cheap ($1). We took a bus from PC and it was fine; no need to spend $100 for a taxi. If the boat you are meeting is in the marina it is a considerable distance from town by land.
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Old 13-10-2015, 07:22   #6
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Re: WOW! What a site! Panama City to Port of Colon question please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AiniA View Post
You need to use taxis in Colon but they are everywhere and cheap ($1). We took a bus from PC and it was fine; no need to spend $100 for a taxi. If the boat you are meeting is in the marina it is a considerable distance from town by land.
With the route change due to Canal expansion, both time & taxi cost have gone up between Colon & Shelter Bay. Used go be $25...now $30-35.

Bonus: you get to see the canal expansion work which is cool.
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Old 13-10-2015, 07:35   #7
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Re: WOW! What a site! Panama City to Port of Colon question please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Are you actually going to Colon or Shelter Bay Marina?

Colon is a slum BTW, be very cautious about going into Colon proper.

Options:

Taxi. About a 1 hour drive. About $100 fare.

Public Buses. Cheap, but means disembarking in the Colon bus terminal and getting a taxi from there...dont even think about walking anywhere from the bus terminal.

Train. Cool option if it fits your schedule. Leaves Panama City around 0715, one hour trip, about $25 IIRC.

Shelter Bay runs a weekly shuttle into Panama City. If you are meeting a boat at Shelter Bay you might be able to ride back on the shuttle.

Line Handler. Hitch a ride on a boat transiting as a line handler. Schedule is of course not very predictable.
A few more details on the train option.

It stops in its own secure station in Colon. Taxis are waiting inside the secure area.

You also of course have to take a taxi to the train station on the PC side...so by the time you add up the fares it will be about $75 all total (taxi + train + taxi) to get to Shelter Bay.

Upside is that it is way more interesting than a bus or taxi ride across the expressway (with almost nothing of interest) because the train track skirts the canal route and you get great views of the canal, jungle, and lake Gatun from the cool old refurbed observation car.
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Old 13-10-2015, 07:46   #8
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Re: WOW! What a site! Panama City to Port of Colon question please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mediaquen View Post
...I'm about to give up and just plan on hitchhiking, although the rest of my family may not be on board for that and schlepping luggage to boot. Thanks so much for anything you can share.
Just noticed "hitchhiking" in your original post. Not likely to be a viable option as PC and Colon are connected by toll gated high speed expressways. Definately not pedestrian friendly and I doubt anyone blasting along on the expressway would stop for you anyway.

Bus is a much more viable low cost option.
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