Category Archives: Portobelo

Permalink to Destination: Portobelo and Isla Grande

Destination: Portobelo and Isla Grande

Because of all the wealth that passed through the area of Portobelo, it became a favorite for pirates such as Captain Henry Morgan, Sir Francis Drake, and Admiral Edward Vernon of the British Empire. The last attack proved the vulnerability of the Spanish trading practices and devastated Portobelo’s economy, which did not rise again until the Panama Canal was build.

Now a days, Portobelo is a sleepy city with a population of less than 5,000. It has a deep natural harbor and has become an well known eco tourism and adventure tourism destination in Panama. In 1980 UNESCO declared the Portobelo and the nearby Fort of San Lorenzo a World Heritage Site.

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Permalink to The Black Christ Festival is Panama’s Most Popular Pilgrimage

The Black Christ Festival is Panama’s Most Popular Pilgrimage

The festival of the Black Christ is held on October 21st every year in Portobelo to mark the anniversary of the statues’ arrival in the town. At exactly 8 p.m. 80 strong men carry the statue from the church, beginning a four-hour parade around the community. A carnival atmosphere takes over and everyone celebrates the procession of the Christ through the homes and roads.

Some devotees walk the 53 miles from Panama City and thousands walk the last 22 miles from Sabanitas. Some even crawl the last mile on hands and knees to worship.

Wearing ornate purple robes, the worshippers are easy to spot and gather every year to praise Christ at the steps of Isla Grande. Isla Grande overlooks the Portobelo Black Christ statue in its position in the bay, with a short boat ride taking you directly to the feet of the statue.

Isla Grande itself supports magnificent views of the Caribbean, with the high point being the Lighthouse on the far east of the Island. For more information on the festival of the Black Christ in Isla Grande, contact Panama Travel Group. With information on hotels on Isla Grande and accommodation in Portobelo, we are here to take you there.