Fort San Lorenzo
Fort San Lorenzo
4
About
King Phillip II ordered the fortress to be built in 1595, which is located on the Chagres River commanding a view of the mouth of the river and miles out to sea.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles333 reviews
Excellent
139
Very good
138
Average
47
Poor
7
Terrible
2

gatoreed
Metairie, LA1,046 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Friends
Visited Fort San Lorenzo as part of a shore excursion from a Ruby Princess Cruise. It is a bit of a drive from where we got off the boat, but if you are a history buff, this is a very interesting fort. There is a video in multiple languages when you arrive. The fort is self guiding with many placards in both English and Spanish. There are clean restroom facilities and snacks and water for sale. I felt completely safe here as there were two Panamanian Tourist Police always around. They were friendly and conversive in English.
Written 17 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Shanelle
Santa Monica, CA2,793 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Friends
A chance to see remnants of an old fort as well as picnic in nature. Came here as part of a tour booked through Viator but noticed that it’s just $5 for nonresidents to visit. There are picnic tables in the shade and you can take a leisurely or quick tour of the fort. There is a hill with old cannons on top and you can see a nice view of nature. I would recommend wearing closed toed shoes. There are restrooms available. This is a less visited tourist site so it’s nice to get away from the crowds.
Written 4 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

WanderingFarmer
Payson, UT418 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
Another history stop that is worth the time to see. We arrived there later than expected, but those that run the tours at the fort were able to set up the video presentation for us to watch. The video itself was amateurish at best. We were then able to walk the grounds for 1/2 hour only. You can see that they have put a lot of time rebuilding the structure in areas. Parts of the old fort are still standing still, held up with beams. Worth the stop and walk around, take your time at this one.
Written 25 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andrew M
7,280 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023
I visited this Fort by taking a bus from Panama City, then negotiated a Colon taxi to take me there and back to Colon, including wait time. If travelling from Panama City, the starting point will be the Albrook Bus Terminus, which may be reached by local Metro Bus or Subway. To access the Colon buses at the Terminal, it will be necessary to purchase a "Rapipass" card for US$2 (in $1 coins) from a vending machine. You will then have to top up the card with at least $1 to gain access to the bus bays. The Colon Express Bus is usually parked at bus bay # 22. Although it is titled "Express", it makes a few stops along the way, and depending on traffic, you should be at the Colon Bus Terminus within 90 minutes. The Bus fare is US$3.50 . There are regular Colon taxis passing through this area which you can hail. The rate to Fort San Lorenzo should be between US$30 - $40, which includes wait time. I estimate that a minimum of an hour will be required at the Fort.

The drive to San Lorenzo Fort is 27km, and takes approximately 40 minutes. Note that this is an active military area, so there may be a few checkpoints. On reaching the Fort, pay a US$5 entrance fee at the ticket office to the left of the car park. You receive an armband, and have the option of watching a short video on the history of the fort. The fort is divided into four main areas. These include the Upper Battery, the Lunette, the Main entrance with parapet and the Parade Grounds. The tour starts on the lower section with a walk along the moat, which is 3m in height and 290m in length.

Eventually after walking through the tunnel shaped structures, the parade ground will come into view. On the parade ground, the main structures are the troop barracks and house of the castellan. The Castellan was the officer in charge of the fort. Both of these structures are in a state of ruin. An interesting feature on the parade grounds is the well which collected water from the upper levels of the fort. There are great views of the river Chagres to the left. This river was the route for transporting gold from Panama City in the 16th century. At the end of the parade ground, there are great sea views, and the base of a Gunpowder house.

A short walk up the ramp to the right or steps to the left, provides access to the upper level of the fort where the canons were placed. There were more than 20 cannons placed in this area with a range of 1,200m. The main entrance housed the drawbridge, which doesn't exist today. Beyond the main entrance is the Lunette. This area served as the main defense from a land invasion. On leaving the main fort, walk on the path to the left which leads to the upper battery. This was a separate fort with it's own moat, which provided additional firepower to defend the main fort. I didn't see any access point to this area.

A fort first existed on this site in the late 1500's. The earlier fort structure was attached by Francis Drake, Henry Morgan and Admiral Vernon between 1596 and 1740. These attacks led to the destruction of the old forts. The present fort was constructed in 1761 and was never attacked. The remains of the powder house foundation are all that remains of the older fort structure.

This visit is a great way to appreciate the military history of Colon, and better understand the transportation route of the riches of the Americas that were plundered by the Spanish.
Written 1 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

frequent1
Groveland, CA1,495 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023
We went in reverse to the cruise ship tours so when we got there it was not crowded at all. Our tour guide Mario was excellent in terms of describing the history and how people lived in the fort and their efforts to repel the pirate invasion. Very cool.
Written 14 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michelle T
New York City, NY666 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022
Our tour took us to San Lorenzo National Park for a picnic lunch. After lunch, we were taken on a walk through the Fort, which is currently undergoing some restoration. It does take away some of the charm of the fort, as a lot of places are currently being worked on.

However, it was really interesting to hear about some of the history behind the fort - and all the pirates that tried to take it.

It also offers a beautiful view of the mouth of the Chagres River. I wouldn't say it's a must-see, but it's definitely a cool spot to include on a tour.
Written 17 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Atravelfan
Atlanta257 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022
We stopped at Fort San Lorenzo while on the Colon side after our Agua Clara locks visit. There is a lot of restoration work ongoing but this was still a lovely place to visit with so much history there are good signs with English translations to help with the self guided tour. I enjoy visiting ruins and these were beautiful.
Written 18 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kevin S
Pontypridd, UK6,243 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
$5 entry, which is expensive for what it is. A pleasant introductory video and self guide yourselves around the site with its many information boards in Spanish and English. But it is not a large site, and not too many features, so it will be a short visit. Portobello offers as much or more in two forts for no charge.
Written 26 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dream61210440465
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2021
As a travel enthusiast, I have always been curious about historical art and culture. A few days back I acknowledged this application called Google Arts & culture,and I came across to know that here I can visit any place virtually sitting right next to my balcony
Forts and ancient history always had my heart, so I discovered one of the oldest colonial fortresses in America, which is located on the west bank of the modern Panama canal. While the greenery and History fascinated me quite enough on my tour, the geographical history of the fort was also very impressive.
The fort has been built in the late 15th century i.e. in 1595, on the orders of King Philip to protect the Charges river while connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This canal was also then considered to be the “keys” to America.
Interestingly, the fort has been built several times between the 17 and 18th centuries, as it was under continuous attack by the pirates due to its geographical location{which is in between North America and south America}.
The pictorial representation still looks vibrant and lively, it almost felt like I m not taking the tour but I am living in the fort. It also gives you a vantage point to see the Chagres river. If you are interested in Spanish colonialism it is gonna pull you towards this authentic location.
The wildlife, the rivers, the location, the fort, the view everything will be so worth your time and money once you reach there.
Written 25 February 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rick S
Birmingham, UK116 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2022
You can go there for the history but also it gives you a wonderful vantage point to see the mouth of the Chagres river. You can imagine being an early Spanish colonist or [if you are that way inclinded] being a pitiless English pirate.
Written 21 February 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Fort San Lorenzo - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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