Col�n's once-glorious city of Portobelo was once the centre of Spanish rule and one of the world's wealthiest cities. But it was ruined by pillaging pirates, who wanted to get their hands on its riches - the gold and silver meant for the kingdom of Spain.
The City of Col�n is the present-day capital of the province, and the site of the famous Col�n Free Trade Zone. The city is a bustling commercial centre at the mouth of the Panama Canal, facing the Caribbean. It is highly urbanised, riddled with crime, and run down.
However some redevelopment is taking place, and a new cruise terminal has been built. There's also been restoration of historic buildings.
Visitors to this province can ride the luxury train of the Panama Railroad, or have a laidback vacation on Isla Grande, or active outdoor pursuits in Sierra Llorona Panama Lodge.
Portobelo was once the centre of the Spanish rule in Panama, and the colonizers used this city to stash their stocks of gold recavado taken from their other South American colonies.
Because of this, Portobelo was frequently attacked by pirates. Eventually these attacks were the downfall of Portobelo, as pirates burnt the buldings and left Portobelo in ruin.
Today, the grand architectural gems that once glittered in Portobelo are mere ruins. However, exploring the ruins makes for a great walk through Panama's history. Despite the numerous attacks, Portobelo was able to maintain two forts - the Fort of San Lorenzo and the Santiago de Gloria.
Today, Portobelo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, because of the number of historically significant buildings still found there today.
Isla Grande is a pocket of peace and tranquillity, offering visitors and would-be residents a laid back environment. It has charming beaches that make for great waterfront living, while its people are friendly and warm.