Portobelo used to be the mid-point between Spain and Peru. The goods would come overland or by water from Lima to Portobelo.
The Spanish Galleons would sail to Spain transporting gold, silver, tobacco, chocolate, hides, etc. Afterwards they would return to the Americas with wine, oils, iron, wood items, furniture, etc. Such wealth awakened the interest of other world powers. As a counter measure, the Spanish surrounded the bay with fortifications.
Portobelo has become a peaceful city. The locals are a mixture of races from the Americas, Africa and Europe; many of them are descendents from slaves.
The national park offers extraordinary natural, land and marine abundance: virgin jungles, mangrove forests and coral reefs.
Portobelo has several nice beaches, that can only be reached by boat (8$pp go and back). This is honestly worth it! We ended up being the only ones there! Snorkelling on coral reefs, taking a nap in our hammocks, drinking Piña Colada! Azure blue water, white sand and the huge virgin forest behind us! Very impressive! We saw some toucans and other very coloured birds, average sized lizards, which were walking on their hind legs, huge ants and crabs in all shapes and forms!
Tip! Bring music, a cooler and barbecue gear!
Watch out! Portobelo has no ATM.
Accommodation in Portobelo, www.hostalportobelo.com, Dorms @ 10$ pp/night, kitchen, shared bathroom, satellite TV!!, Monkey called cheeky!
Ferry Panama Columbia or ferry Columbia Panama, The Canadian owner will soon organise boat trips between Columbia and Panama, Portobelo. It will be a 2 days trip, one night on the Isla San Blas (snorkelling etc.). It will cost around 200$, which is what our plane ticket cost us.