Getaway to Portobelo Bay on the Caribbean side

Getaway to Portobelo Bay on the Caribbean side

Discover what was once the most important port in Latin America and the defensive forts of the Spanish Crown.

The Bay of Portobelo and its small sleepy fishing port on the Caribbean coast, is an hour-and-a-half drive north of Panama. Located in the province of Colon, the picturesque town was once the largest Spanish port in Central America, until it became a target for pirates in the 15th and 16th centuries. Stroll among the moss-covered ruins of the Spanish fort, and then visit the Museo de la Real Aduana Portobelo, the royal treasury where the King's gold was stored.

If you're there on October 21, watch the Black Christ of the Church of San Felipe, a Nazarene Christ procession celebrated by tens of thousands of fervent pilgrims. Not far away are the shimmering colours of ‘Diablos Rojos' decked-out buses plying the chaotic roads of the province.

You can stay in El Otro Lado, a peaceful retreat in the heart of the jungle, accessible by a short boat trip. There are many diving sites in the region, among beautiful coral reefs loaded with local fish, and even a sunken B-45 plane…