Pirates and Portobelo

April 9, 2017:

This morning, we woke up in the harbor of Portobelo, which means beautiful port in Spanish.  Immediately, it was like waking up on the set of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, which was set here during the sack of the city by the pirate, Henry Morgan.  You have the sense that nothing much has happened here in the last 400 plus years.


Jim and I had visited here about five years ago, with our friends, Mark & Kathy Costanti.  It immediately appeared that nothing had happened in that time except the advent of a new satellite provider, which was apparent only by the blue satellite dishes on some of the roofs in town, as opposed to them all being red when we last visited.


This is the only port in which we will use tenders on this trip.  In this case, we are supporting the local economy by taking the small outboard boats driven by local captains. These boats are called pangas.  Shawn, Sylvia, Jim and I are among the first passengers off the boat to take a panga for the short ride to town.

We arrive at a dock and walk a block to the Santiago Battery, which was largely destroyed in Captain Morgan’s attack.  There are several cannons still scattered about the site, but you don’t get the feeling that they would be very successful protecting the village. Nonetheless, we wandered about the ramparts and looked out on this beautiful bay. Check and done!Portobelo-14









Then we walked down to the main fortress of Portobelo, which is right next to the old customs building. If you squint your eyes a bit, you can imagine yourself on the Disney ride with the ladies of the town being chased by pirates in and out on the balconies!

Portobelo town
Customs House
Detail on the cannon on the ground floor of the customs building
The remains of the fortress grounds




View back towards the customs house from the fortress ramparts


Classic Rojo Diabolico bus

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