Originally Posted by TJ D
side is far worse as far as being a nice place to visit. By this, I mean that the town of Colon is just awful. Shelter bay is way out of town and just fine.
Much of Colon is indeed pretty awful...a full on slum in some areas, but (for the OPs benefit) there is no need to go to Colon except maybe for a quick transit if taking bus or train. By contrast the area around Shelter Bay is quite nice if you like hikig, wildlife, history
, etc (more below) and Shelter Bay itself has nice amenties like hotel
, resturant, swimming pool, etc.
If taking the bus over from Panama City, you can avoid going into Colon by getting off at Cuatro Altos....which is on the outskirts of Colon proper and not a bad area. Several shopping
malls there where you can provision before continuing on to Shelter Bay...because Shelter Bay is very isolated with no places to buy food
except the onsite MiniMart and (overpriced) resturant at Shelter Bay (...or Shelter Pay as its also known).
To get to Shelter Bay you can take a taxi or, if the timing works out, catch the Shelter Bay shuttle. Technically its for marina guests, but I doubt they would stop you from boarding...especially if you looked like a grungy cruiser carrying groceries. 😆
If taking a taxi, many taxi drivers dont the area as Shelter Bay, but as "Sherman" after "Fort Sherman". Its a long trip and costs about $25-30.
While Colon is not so nice, if you like hiking, wildlife, and history
, the area around Shelter Bay is pretty cool. Its on the old Fort Sherman grounds so there are lots of abandonded military structures including several large gun battlements on the coast. Being part of the base and the exclusion zone for over 100 years had the unintential affect of protecting a large swath of jungle and coast line and the wildlife that lives there.
Wildlife in the area includes many species of tropical birds, several varieties of monkies (howler, cappuchin, spider), coatimundi, agouti, vested anteaters, sloths...
There are several good day hikes and you are likely to see wildlife on all of them (early AM is best). You can hike the acess roads to the old gun battlements easily from Shelter Bay. These are short hikes which make for a nice early AM stroll. You can also make a longe hike from Shelter Bay to Fort Lorenzo (an old Spanish fort at the mouth of the Rio Chagres). This hike is along a road that runs thru the park area. The road is very lighty travelled and the park is teaming with wildlife.
You can also hike to and along the coast. There is a large flats area and reef which extends off the N shore to the W of the Canal
breakwater. Lots of tidal flats exploring and good fishing
So, there is much more to do around Shelter Bay while waiting for a transit than just drink in the bar...though the bar is cool too because you get a very international mix of sailors passing thru.