Colon Province has since witnessed many economic ups and downs in rapid succession.
Gold once again brought Colon into limelight. This time it was the discovery of gold in California. For people in the east coast, California was separated by the expansive heartland of America which was presumed to be fraught with dangers. Going through Panama was the obvious choice and soon the Panama Railroad was setup. Colon, being the Caribbean terminus for the railroad, became the center of commercial activities attracting businessmen and entrepreneurs from all walks of life. Gold-seekers heading for California discovered a safer exit through Panama and once again Colon continued to flourish. Then came the US transcontinental railroad and Colon went into oblivion.
Another opportunity came Colon’s way in the form of the Panama Canal. When French began to build the canal, they rebuilt Colon city in French style and colonized the island. After they abandoned the project, the US took charge and employed thousands of workers from all over the world to revive the canal. The work on the canal progressed for two-and-a-half decades during which hustle and bustle returned to Colon. After the canal work ended, thousands of people were left jobless and the picture became gloomy again.
In spite of the boom and bust, each phase of growth and development in Panama left an indelible mark on the cultural makeup and evolution of Colon. Today these historical sites and colonial ruins stand as a testimony to the never-say-die attitude of the Panamanians. Some of the prominent historical sites in Colon that will remind you of the splendor of a bygone era are Portobelo, Fort San Lorenzo, the Customs Building, and the Panama Railroad. For the spiritually inclined, the hallowed province has a religious museum dedicated to the statue of Black Christ, whose myths are spread far and wide.
Colon also boasts a state-of-the-art cruise port-cum-shopping complex that sells duty free goods. The province has become a sought after destination for cruises and yachting.
Within an hour-and-a-half drive from Panama City is Achiote Road, a prime birding location in Panama. Another day-long activity you can book yourself into is kayaking and rafting along the charging waters of Chagres River.