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Panama Canal Railway. The one-hour trip on the Panama Canal Railway from Corozal, just north of Albrook, to the Caribbean city of Colón, offers an interesting perspective of the rain forests of Soberanía National Park and the wetlands along Gatún Lake. The railway primarily moves freight, but it has a commuter service on weekdays that departs from Panama City at 7:15 am (returning from Colón at 5:15 pm, and costs $25 each way. Tourists ride in one of five air-conditioned cars (soon to be six) with curved windows on the roof that let you see the foliage overhead. The best views are from the left side of the train, and though the train moves too fast to see much wildlife, you may spot toucans, herons, and black snail kites flying over the lake. The downside: the trip passes a garbage dump and industrial zone near the end, and leaves you just outside the slums of Colón at 8:15 am, which is why you may want to take the trip as part of a tour that picks you up in Colón and takes you to either San Lorenzo or Portobelo. It is possible to do the trip on your own, in which case you should board one of the shuttle vans that await the train in Colón and have them take you to the Colón 2000 (pronounced coh-loan dose-mill) cruise-ship port, where you can pick up a rental car and drive to Portobelo, or hire a taxi for the day ($80–$100). The trains leave promptly, and it is complicated to pre-purchase tickets, so get to the station by 6:45 am to buy your tickets. Av. Omar Torrijos, Corozal, Panama City, 0843. 507/317–6070. www.panarail.com.
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