Portobelo was 'discovered' by Christopher Columbus on his 4th voyage while running before a storm. It eventually became a major transshipment point for the Spanish gold and silver from Peru and other places in South America. It was sacked a few times, first by Francis Drake, then several times by Henry Morgan, and finally by Edward Vernon. After about 30 years of trying to protect their loot from everyone else, Spain decided to move the gold around Cape Horn rather than overland via Panama. Portobelo
then reverted to a sleepy little fishing town, until the building of the Panama Canal. During construction of the Canal, the U.S. engineers 'mined' one of the old Spanish forts for the building materials for the Colon breakwater. (For more details one should look for the book, The Portobelo Chronicles by Pat McGeehee).
But there are still forts and cannons all over the place. We spent an hour in the museum in the old Customs House, and we hiked on 2 successive days up to two different fortifications on high hills surrounding the harbor.
We spent last night at Isla Grande, 10 miles east of Portobelo. We had a really nice dinner, starting with some amazing Daiquari's and Ceviche at a tiny French restaurant, and then some excellent 'comida tipica' (typical Panamanian meals) at another local restaurant. We finished our extravagant meal with desserts back at the French restaurant. We expect it to be the last restaurant we will see for awhile.
We are now motorsailing east in zero wind along the coast toward the San Blas. We expect to drop the hook somewhere in the western San Blas tonight.