Panama, the Next Caribbean/Pacific Homeport By Erica Silverstein
ajor port developments in Panama City and Colon will soon make the country more attractive to both cruisers and cruise lines. With construction projects on both coasts, the Central American country wants cruise lines to consider it as a homeport for Panama Canal transits, as well as Caribbean and Pacific itineraries. Plentiful duty-free shopping, cultural and natural highlights, and an existing tourism infrastructure set Panama apart from its neighbors and give cruise travelers a reason to extend their stays. COLON, A TAX-FREE SHOPPING HAVEN When the Panama cruise season restarts 14 THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
in fall 2021, cruise travelers visiting Colon will have more incentive to spend time off the ship. The Colón 2000 Duty Free shopping and leisure experience complex, opening at the end of 2021, will offer a state-of-the-art facility for shopping, dining, entertainment, and enjoying the waterfront. Colón 2000 Duty Free center is being built between the city’s two cruise terminals. The high-end architecture firm Mallol has designed the complex with an open-air style, befitting its Caribbean location. It’s a project overseen by experts; Grupo Colón 2000 has spent more than 20 years studying the cruise tourist market in Panama and is building the shopping complex to meet the needs of international visitors.
Located in Colon’s tax-free shopping district, the mall will offer attractive discount prices on both local department store goods and international brands, such as Nike, Victoria’s Secret, and Calvin Klein. Tax-free shopping means low prices from the start, so visitors don’t have the hassle of f illing out paperwork to get tax money back. The faci lit y w i l l a lso of fer a number of bars and restaurants, includ ing ones ser v ing loca l cuisine, a mov ie theater, Wi-Fi, AT M, and chi ldren’s play areas. Outdoor seating and wa l kways inv ite v isitors to linger by the water front, savor ing a cof fee or chatt ing w ith fr iends from their ship.