Itinerary08:00 Van departs Panama City 10:15 Boat to Isla Grande 10:30 Hike to lighthouse (on request just on summer) 11:30 Lunch on Isla Grande 12:30 Beach (Boat Tour “optional”) 13:30 Boat to mainland 14:00 Portobelo , Fort San Jerónimo, and Iglesia de San Juan de Dios 16:00 Depart to Panama City 17:30 Arrive at Panama City
Rates/Options$85pp (Shared Tour; Minimum 2 people); Boat Fee included, Does not include Lunch
Here ‘s what your day would look like: Climb aboard the comfortable van which will pick you up from your Hotel around 8.00 – 8.30 in the morning. Sit back, relax, and take in the beautiful rolling country-side and Panamanian jungle that lines the new autopista. After about 45 minutes you’ll pass through the bustling town of Sabanitas, before following the single-lane highway along the white-sand Panamanian coastline, passing through Portobelo and ending on the beach in La Guaria. From here you’ll jump a boat and head out towards Isla Grande island.Your guide will take you on a short coastal hike past Isla Grande’s own Cristo Negro, which keeps watch over the bay. Then its up to the top of island where you can enjoy 360 degree views of the islands from the lighthouse designed by Gustavo Eiffel (yes, the same Eiffel!). Once back in the town of Isla Grande it is time for lunch. You can enjoy fresh caught seafood at one of the many restaurants along the water for between $5 and $10 or bring your own lunch and find a spot under a coconut tree to relax. There are many tiendas along the water that offer cold beverages, snacks, coconuts, and ice-cream. After lunch, its off to a quiet beach where you can cool off in calm, crystal-clear, waters sheltered by a large coral reef off the coast. After a swim and some rays, the boat will return you to the van, then you’re off to Portobelo.
First stop in Portobelo is Fort San Jerónimo and the old customs house, which used to house all of the plundered treasure from various regions in South America while awaiting shipment back to Spain. Next your guide will take you past tightly clustered homes built around centuries old stone streets and over to the nearby Iglesia de San Juan de Dios which houses Cristo Negro, one of the most popular religious symbols in Panama. After exploring the streets of Portobelo its a quick drive over to the Santiago Battery, which was attacked more times than any other naval fortification in the Americas. This part of the fort is much better preserved despite being damaged by a landslide last December. While the main draw are the coastal fortifications with their ancient cannons still pointing out over the harbour. Don’t forget to check out the larger part of the fort and village (yet to be excavated), which stretches upwards behind the main fortifications.
Private tours for $125pp (2 people minimum required)
Disclaimer and important infoIt is recommended to bring water, sunscreen, a bathing suit and towel if you want to go swimming (which you most likely will once you get there). Get some sleep the night before and enjoy the tour!