Historic Building in Portobelo

Real Aduana de Portobelo

The handsome, two-story Royal Customs House of Portobelo was originally built in 1630 to serve as the contaduría (counting house) for the king’s gold. Now the two main rooms house permanent exhibitions, including re…
Fort in Parque Nacional Portobelo

Fuerte San Fernando

In 1601 Fuerte San Félipe and Fuerte San Diego were built near the mouth of the bay, but were subsequently destroyed by Admiral Vernon in 1739. Fuerte San Fernando was later built over the ruins. American engineers …
Fort in Parque Nacional Portobelo

Fuerte San Jerónimo

Fuerte San Jerónimo, close to Portobelo center, was the largest fortress ever built to protect the bay. Eighteen cannon embrasures face the mouth of the bay, some exactly where the Spanish troops left them in 1821, …
Fort in Parque Nacional Portobelo

Fuerte Santiago

Approaching from the west, Portobelo's first fort is Fuerte Santiago. Built after Vernon’s attack, some walls were 3m thick, made entirely of cut coral. Known to the Spaniards as ‘reef rock,’ coral was a popular bui…
Church in Portobelo

Iglesia de San Félipe

This 1814 Catholic church is the home of Portobelo's famed Black Christ. Believers attribute miracles to the 1.5m statue that was found floating in the bay, and it's celebrated every October with the popular Festiva…
Viewpoint in Parque Nacional Portobelo

Mirador Perú

On a hill overlooking Santiago and much of the bay is a small but well-preserved watchtower called Mirador Perú, which was built at the same time as Fuerte Santiago. There are steps carved into the hillside to reach…
Church in Portobelo

San Juan de Dios Chapel

Ruins of a Catholic church from 1589.
Beach in Portobelo

Playa Blanca

A 20-minute boat ride from Portobelo will bring you to this lovely white-sand beach without road access, on a tranquil cove surrounded by dense wilderness. It boasts some of the least disturbed reefs between Colón a…