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Panama & Costa Rica

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Are these ports (Colon Panama & Limon CR) as dangerous as I keep reading about? I have read that the cruise lines recommend you don't take credit cards and or much money on shore. You are not to walk around by your self.

If this is all true - makes you question why they stop there except to sell their excursions.

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It's been almost 4 years since we were at either of those ports, and Colon definitely was as dangerous as people say. You basically stuck to the plaza around the cruise terminal, and didn't venture across the road. When we were there, they had police armed with machine guns patrolling the area immediately around that plaza. My in-laws were in Cristobal in April, which is the other port in that area that ships dock at, when they don't go to the Canal, and it was the same there, minus the gun-toting cops.

The reason the ships dock here, is, as you say, to sell excursions, and to not have to pay the huge toll to go into the Panama Canal. A Panamax size ship (Radiance, Millenium, Spirit etc) would pay in excess of a quarter million dollars to go into the Canal, which would tack another $100 or so per person onto the fare (which they'd also have to pay travel agent commissions on). They probably pay a very minimal port fee to dock in Colon, and then they can sell overpriced tours to see the canal.

Limon didn't really impress me much, but didn't seem as dangerous as Colon. It's a very working-class town, and a couple blocks in from the pier looked like almost any other inner-city area you might have been to. If you go to the right when you walk out of the pier area, there is a rather nice looking park area long the seawall. If you walk up that way, I'd walk back the same way to the ship, instead of cutting across the downtown area.

This is definitely an excursion town, since other than the market area at the pier, there wasn't much to see on your own. I have heard that people have very much enjoyed the excursions from here, but they tend to be rather long, and I don't deal with the cattle herd thing for more than a couple hours LOL.

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