Planning a Trip
Getting There & Departing
By Car -- Drivers from Panama City should take the Corredor Norte, a modern toll road that ends at Chilibre; from here head right then turn left on the Transístmica Highway and drive about 40km (25 miles) to the town of Sabanitas. Keep your eyes open for El Rey supermarket and turn right on the road just past it. Follow the signs for Portobelo, located about 33km (20 miles) from Sabanitas.
By Bus -- Buses from Panama City leave from the Albrook Terminal. You'll want a bus to Sabanitas, or a bus to Colón that stops in Sabanitas (verify this with the driver; the cost is $2/£1), and to transfer at the El Rey supermarket on the highway for a bus to Portobelo ($1.25/65p). To get back to Panama City, you'll need to get a bus to Sabanitas, cross the highway, and flag down a bus headed to Panama City. Buses to and from Colón leave every half-hour.
By Taxi -- Taxis from Colón to Portobelo average $40 to $45 (£20-£23) for the one-way trip, and $20 (£10) per hour thereafter (in the event that you'd like the driver to wait while you tour the ruins).
There is an ATP visitor center located a half-block from the plaza and in front of the Municipal office (tel. 448-2200; daily 8:30am-4:30pm), but keep in mind the center closes 11:45am-12:30pm for lunch. Besides a small display of Congo festival costumes and paintings, there is little information on hand, and the staff speaks limited English. Pick up a copy of the free "Costa Arriba y Conjunto Monumental de Portobelo" map here (also available at the Customs House museum), though be warned that just about every site, hotel, and restaurant on the map is in the wrong place, so you might actually be better off without a map.