6. From Panama City: Portobelo Guided Kayak Tour
Portobelo Bay provides a Panama kayak adventure second to none. On it you will cover all main things to do in Portobelo.
Portobelo was discovered in 1502, and it was named by Christopher Columbus when his vessels sought shelter in the "beautiful port" from a storm. In 1596, even before it was officially founded, Portobelo suffered its first attack at the hands of Sir Frances Drake. Drake died of fever before he could capture Portobelo. He was secretly buried at sea off the entrance to the harbor.
The town was officially founded in 1597 and was given the name of San Felipe de Portobelo in honor of King Philip II of Spain. During the late l6th and early l7th century Portobelo was the principal Spanish trade port on the Atlantic for all of South America. The exchange of merchandise took place annually at the Portobelo trade fair which lasted from 30 to 60 days. During this time, Portobelo was a beehive of activity.
In 1668 Henry Morgan attacked the town from the land and launched a surprise attack on Fort Santiago, one of the town's fortresses. The city was at the mercy of Morgan's men who launched an orgy of looting, debauchery and torture-a reign of terror. The town was attacked by other buccaneers and pirates such as Englishmen William Parker in 1601 and Edward Vernon in 1739. As a result of the repeated pirate attacks Portobelo's annual trade fairs were forced stop. Spain abandoned the Isthmian route for the longer but more secure one around Cape Horn. The golden age of Portobelo ceased.
Tour begins by picking up guests in Panama City at 7:00 a.m., to them travel to Portobelo by road.
We will visit Santiago Fort, Portobelo (Geronimo Fort and Customs House), and around 11:00 a.m., the tour proceeds paddling across the bay, for about 30 minutes, to the other cannon battery built by the conquistadores to protect the bay, San Fernando. We will walk and learn about the ruins history. Then we proceed kayaking along the coast up to a hidden beach, perfect to relax and do some snorkeling.
At approximately 1:00 a.m., we will start an exciting one hour sea kayak tour back Portobelo. Afterwards we have a lunch (coconut rice with octopus is a favorite dish).
We should arrive to the original pick up place at the city by 5:00 p.m.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT DOES IT INCLUDE ? All mentioned transportation, expedition kayaks and snorkel gear, guides, and meals. Our guides are trained in kayak navigation skills, first-aid and CPR.
WHO CAN GO ? Any person from twelve to seventy years old, in good health. Minors must travel with a responsible adult.
WHAT SHOULD YOU TAKE ALONG ? A pair of shorts for navigating, sneakers or strapped sandals, a cap, sun-block, a light jacket or windbreaker (in case of rain), a towel and a dry set of clothes for the trip back.
WHAT SHOULD NOT BE BROUGHT ? Any object than can be deteriorated by water or valuables like jewels, cash, credit cards, etc.