Panama. Isla Grande and Portobelo National Park.

Panama. Isla Grande and Portobelo National Park.

Take a day to go visit the Portobelo National Park on the Atlantic Ocean and learn all the history behind the treasures hidden at Nombre de Dios, the Spanish, the pirates and the slaves of those times. You will also take a boat to go visit the most beautiful Isla Grande. Isla Grande is one of the best places in Panama for bird watching and surfing.

Early 7:00 AM pick up where arranged, followed by a 90-minute car drive from Panama City to Portobelo National Park (Puerto Bello) at the Santiago battery. Here, you will be greeted and welcome by expert guides who will take you on a 20 to a 40-minute boat ride around the park, one of its rivers and on to the San Fernando battery across the channel.

These are very gentle people and they are more than willing to share the stories of Sir. Francis Drake and his battles against the Spanish at Nombre de Dios and the following battles at Portobelo between the Spanish and Captain Morgan.

Portobelo is also known for hosting the pilgrimage of the Black Christ, in which followers come from all over the country doing their traditional 2 steps forward and one step back dance.

Portobelo and its surrounding area are rich in animal life, so keep your eyes open for Brown Pelicans, Laughing Gulls, the Magnificent Frigatebird, as well as for the spectaculars Great Egret and the Cattle Egret among other species.

After the 40-minute boat ride, you will head another 30 minutes by car to Puerto La Guaira, where you will again be greeted and taken on a 5 to 10-minute boat ride to Isla Grande at La Cholita Restaurant and bar. Once in Isla Grande, you may want to explore the island walking around the town. If you head towards the west side of the island you will come to get to a most beautiful sandy beach. If you head towards the east wing you will get to Sister Moon cabañas. (This is a very comfortable place to stay if you would like to stay overnight) The cabañas are set up right there by the seaside where the wave breaks.

Once there, you will have many restaurants to choose from to have lunch. Nonetheless, we highly recommend having lunch at La Cholita. They prepare delicious fresh meals with seafood, coconut rice, and fried plantains.

Isla Grande is a place full of adventure and natural beauty. For surfing enthusiasts, the eastern point of the island breaks both left and right for most of the year especially from late November to April.

EQUIPMENT CHECKLIST: binoculars (preferably 7×35 or bigger), a camera with extra batteries & film, insect repellent, sunscreen, hat, day pack, rain and hiking gear, lightweight/quick dry cotton clothes, money in small denominations, personal medications.