We arrive early this morning, dropping anchor in front of the famous fortifications of Portobelo UNESCO World Heritage Site. This was once the main Spanish Port where all the gold, silver and foods from South America were shipped up from Peru on the Pacific side, then to be mule packed across the isthmus to arrive in Portobelo first before being shipped back to Spain in the late 1500s. It was named and sited by Christopher Columbus on his final fourth voyage in 1502, and possibly the last piece of the Americas he saw before arriving back in Spain.
This early arrival allowed us a morning Zodiac tour to the intertwining mangroves system tucked behind the town, full of birds and wildlife that provided an enjoyable start to a wonderful day.
After birding we met up with the rest of our guests in town for historical walks and a visit to the infamous church of the Black Christ. Every 21st of October for the last 200 years they have held a celebration like no other. Thousands of devotees walk in four-day pilgrimages to ask the Nazareth of Portobello for a miracle. We enjoyed our walks through this town surrounded by fortification, and ended back at our dock with an incredible performance of the striking colorful Congo dancer depicting African culture heritage.
After a full morning, it was time to return to the ship for lunch and make our final leg to the anchorage of the Panama Canal. Our sunset transit was spectacular, as we were the only ship alone in the lock chambers, a rare occurrence and great opportunity for all of us to get wonderful photos of this great waterway.