99km (62 miles) from Panama City; 43km (27 miles) from Colón
Portobelo is a modest seaside village made of clapboard homes built around and among the ruins of what was one of Spain's richest and liveliest ports from the mid-16th to early 18th century. The village, squeezed tightly between thick jungle and the blue Caribbean Sea, is less than an hour from Colón, and it's a very popular destination on the Central Caribbean Coast for day excursions. You wouldn't know it today, but this historical site was once the scene of the famous Portobelo fairs that took place for 2 centuries, when Spain's plundered gold and silver from South America passed through here. Around Portobelo are well-preserved forts that are splendid examples of 17th- and 18th-century military architecture, as well as a recently restored Customs House. The ruins, along with Fort San Lorenzo , were named World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1980.
Portobelo's residents call themselves congos, and are descendants...more local info