Portobelo, the burial place of Sir Francis Drake and one of the most important cities in the world during the Spaniard's conquest of the new world. Visit the ruins of this obscure location virtually before tourism has yet to find it. The inhabitants of Portobelo live as they always have with their homes built up against the ruins of the old conquistadores' fortresses.
History is alive here and you can almost feel the presence of the conquistadores' ghosts as your guide spins tales of the history of Portobelo. The site, an excellent harbor, was visited by Columbus. The town was founded in 1597. Believed impregnable, Sir Francis Drake died of fever before he could capture it and was secretly buried in the bay. Portobelo was, nevertheless, sacked by English buccaneers (William Parker in 1601, Sir Henry Morgan in 1688, and Edward Vernon in 1739). A thriving colonial city, it was connected by a stone highway with Panama city; both ports were the points of trans-shipment for riches from the Spanish Pacific domains. With the building of the trans-Panama railroad (1848–55) and finally the digging of the Panama Canal, Portobelo declined.
Another attraction is the statue of the Black Christ which was washed ashore after a ship wreck and after several attempts at returning it to it's owner, it was enshrined in a local church. Sir Francis Drake is burried at sea near Drake's Island where many a hopeful diver has no doubt searched for the famous lead coffin.