As we live near the bayside town of Portobelo, the focus of things to do and places to go are for the northeastern province of Colon. Taking the new Highway (the North Corredor or Corredor Norte) that connects Panama City and Colon, Portobelo is an approximate hour – hour and ½ drive from the city.
Portobelo Adventures offers kayaking tours through the mangroves in the bay of Portobelo, hiking up to the ruins of Castillo San Fernando across the bay, hiking trails through the jungle and kayak trips to Buenaventura and Drake's Islands for snorkeling.
The historic town of Portobelo offers remnants of fort ruins to explore and the customs house with a small museum to tour. Most weekends there are vendor booths set up selling a myriad of items ranging from food to souvenirs. Iglesia de San Felipe is a popular tourist attraction as well. This is the church where the Black Christ statue is housed. The Black Christ Festival, held every October 21 (the anniversary of it’s discovery), is in honor of this statue. Different stories explain the origin of the statue and the festival that honors it, but it’s definitely a fascinating event to witness!
Horseback Riding tours are available through Cabanos Rancho Juancho. You'll be guided through the jungle, hillsides and streams - where you'll see much of the area's flora and fauna.
Other Things To Do
Now open in Maria Chiquita
Panama Outdoor Adventures offers canopy zip-line tours, river tubing and nature trails.
Hungry?? When it comes to food choices, Portobelo and surrounding area offers many restaurants to choose from, though beware, some do close early. We have provided a list of the most frequented (popular with tourists) though there are several other typico places as well.
Captain Jack's - located within the town of Portobelo, open late
Rico Rico Restuarante - located in Portobelo as well, fresh made bread daily, closed Mondays
Don Quijote Pizzeria - located outside of Portobelo heading towards Isla Grande, more than just pizza, only open on the weekends
El Castillo - waterfront dining, closed Tuesdays
La Torre - no view of the ocean, but very good food, usually closes early
Las Anclas - offers seafood choices, located at the CoCo Plum hotel, usually closes early
Los Canones - waterfront dining with an upstairs deck
Most of the beaches along the coast are “natural” beach, however just past Maria Chiquita heading towards Portobelo there is a sandy public beach, Playa La Angosta, frequented by the locals. If you want a little more seclusion, there are a few other sandy beaches to choose from in Portobelo (Playa Huerta, Playa Frances and Playa Blanca) that are easy enough to get to by boat.
Isla Grande, just east of Portobelo, is a popular weekend getaway for city dwellers. The island offers beaches, restaurants, hotels and a lighthouse where you can get a magnificent view of the Atlantic Ocean.
Click the mage to visit their website
As for groceries, Portobelo has several chino stores that offer wide varieties of the basic necessities. If you can't find it at one, try another!
As well, the town of Sabanitas (30-45 minute drive away) offers 3 major grocery stores; Xtra Market, El Rey and Super 99, for your best selection of meat, produce and dairy items. The chino stores do have these items, but are limited in choices.
ATM machines are only offered in Sabanitas, so if you need cash, any of the grocery stores or Banco General are the easiest choices.
Golden Frog Scuba