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Portobelo (aka Porto Bello) is a port town in Panama's Colon province, with population around 5,000. The town was founded by the Spaniards during colonial period. It features a deep-water natural harbor and was a center for silver export (prior mid-18th century).
Following Guerra del Asiento (Jenkins' Ear War / 1739-1748), the Spanish switched from big fleets calling at several ports to small fleets trading at various ports. These ships also started to travel around Cape Horn trading directly at western coast South America ports.
In 1739 Portobelo was destroyed. Following the war, it was slowly rebuilt and revived briefly during Panama Canal construction (1881-1914). In 1980, the ruins of Spanish colonial fortifications and Fort San Lorenzo were designated UNESCO site.
Portobelo cruise terminal
Portobelo (Panama) is a tender port, meaning cruise ships anchor in the bay and their passengers are transported ashore via the ship's tender boats. An immigration office and boat tour services to Colombia are offered to cruise tourists. Prices range from USD 160 pp (Naturalstour taxi boat) to USD 550 pp (private sail boat tours).