Tour of Portobelo

portobelo-900x550-04 At the entrance of the town is fort Santiago de la Gloria and the harbor, where you can take a boat to the beaches. Walking towards the town you’ll find fort San Geronimo. The ruins of the fort are almost intact, with its cannons pointing out to sea, taking us back to the distant past with stories of pirates and buccaneers, real soldiers and runaway slaves.

There is a small museum in the Royal Court, and the streets have signs indicating the names and a brief review of the historical sites. The museum plays an informational video on the ruins of Portobelo and the Spanish colonization.

Here we also find Portobelo Bay Foundation, dedicated to promoting the arts among the local population and developing ecological awareness: volunteer programs, workshops and diversity of projects that invest in cultural, musical and artistic wealth of the inhabitants of the area.

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Its headquarters is the Casa Cultura Congo, where the coastal and indigenous artistic creations are on display, also for sale. Additionally on display are large signs explaining the history of Portobelo and local cultural representations. For more information contact Ms. Lourdes.

La Escuelita del Ritmo (The Little School of Rhythm) offers free music courses for children and adults. Outside the church that houses the Black Christ you’ll find local crafts and religious objects.

The Cultural Center Mamaari addresses social development projects, civic education, and is a motivator of the Congo and ancient cultures. Ms. Blandon Aristela “Mamaari” is the soul of this center, which offers workshops and dance performances for groups of tourists, such as saracunde, bullerengue, diablitos mirror, la cachimba, congo, calypso and African dances. As part of its “Leaving Footprints” project, volunteers are welcome to submit their projects. Contact: +507 6693-5690, mamaari15@hotmail.com

portobelo-900x550-07 For its calm waters, Portobelo Bay is an important anchor for sailors around the world. Throughout the year, hundreds of boats come to visit this historic bay. From here they leave for Guna Yala (San Blas) and Colombia, and it’s the ideal spot to approach the world of sailing. You can choose between a one-day tour to Isla Grande from Portobelo or spend the weekend sailing.

The road to Portobelo zigzags along the sea, and passes through the narrow beach Playa Maria Chiquita. Hotels near Portobelo offer snorkeling and scuba diving; you can reach Playa Huerta for $ 10; Puerto Francés for $ 12 and Playa Blanca, the most remote and least busy of the three, for $ 15. You must bring food / beverages, as the beaches do not have services or restaurants. You can also arrive by boat to the ruins of Fort San Fernando.

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