Portobelo Panama

Northern Panama

Portobelo Panama

Portobelo lies along Panama’s Caribbean coast to the east of Colon in an area known as Costa Arriba. During the Spanish colonial era, Portobelo was an important port town where goods and treasure from the Americas were shipped to Europe. These days , the town's grace lies in the crumbling ruins scattered inside and outside of town and the African art and music scene whose roots lie in Congo.

Portobelo is renowned throughout Panama for its celebration of the Festival del Cristo Negro (the Black Christ Festival), which takes place on October 21. During this festival, thousands of Panamanians travel to Portobelo and head to the Church of San Felipe, which houses the life-size wooden sculpture of the Black Christ.

Things to do in Portobelo

Visit Historical Sites
There are several ruins that can be visited in Portobelo. Just outside of town is Castillo Santiago de la Gloria, a Spanish fort that dates back to 1753. In town is Castillo San Geronimo, the largest fort ever built in Portobelo, and today there are still cannons, officers’ quarters, and barracks that travelers can visit.

Diving and Snorkeling
There are 16 dive spots near Portobelo, which makes it popular with scuba enthusiasts. From coral reefs to sunken ships to seeing schools of barracudas, nurse sharks, and eagle rays!

Visit the beaches
Set sail for paradise from Portobelo Pier and discover Playa Huertas, Puerto Frances or Playa Larga in minutes. Immerse yourself in nature, relax under the palm trees, admire the array of colors on the reef, and explore the marine life near the shore. The best time to visit is from December to March. You can enjoy sunny days and a summer breeze.

Location and Map

From Panama City to Portobelo is about 97 km, less than a 2 hour drive. The best way to travel is by private transportation.

Contact our Portobelo Panama Vacation Guides today by visiting our Panama trip planner!