Panama 7-10th June

Sea Bear at anchor under the guns of the fort
Sea Bear at anchor under the guns of the fort

Portobelo is half a day’s sail away from Colón, at the northern entrance of the Panama canal.

It is a small historical city, part of the Spanish Main (Cartagena/Portobello/San Lorenzo) and quite interesting. Portobelo was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502 and the city was established in 1586 as a Caribbean transhipment center for the South American riches the Spaniards took back to Spain. The treasure house is still there and it is said that once they took out all the silver and stacked it in the streets to make room for all the gold.

The treasure house and fort
The treasure house and fort

Also dating from the Spanish is a cathedral which is renowned for its black Christ statue

The black Christ
The black Christ

The jungle has reclaimed some of the fortifications but some have been cleared and the canons are still there, still laying where they were abandoned all those years ago.

It is also the burial place of Sir Frances Drake, the 16th century English explorer who was buried at sea off Drake’s island.

The bay is beautiful, surrounded by wooded hills with humming birds and parrots.

A beer in a bar by the bay
A beer in a bar by the bay

I enjoyed my stay here and although had thought of it as a destination realising that there was more to Panama than just the canal and that the area would bear closer exploration.

A local bus
A local bus