Portobelo Sea Kayaking and Snorkeling is a full day tour that offers the best of the Portobelo Bay for those who like to be active. Portobelo was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502 when his vessels found shelter from a storm in this “beautiful port”. Sir Francis Drake attacked the port in 1596 but he couldn’t capture it because he died of fever and he was secretly buried at sea off the entrance to the harbor.
The town of Portobelo was founded in 1597 and was given the name of San Felipe de Portobelo in honor of King Philip II of Spain. It became the main Spanish trade port on the Atlantic for all of South America. The fair of Portobelo was held annually lasting 30 to 60 days converting the town into a hub of activity. English pirate William Parker attacked it in 1601. Then Henry Morgan took over the town and Fort Santiago, one of the town’s fortresses. Later, in 1739, Portobelo was attacked by Edward Vernon. Constant pirate attacks forced the stop of Portobelo’s trade fair. Eventually the town was abandoned by the Spaniards who managed to go around Cape Horn.
Guests will be picked up at 7 a.m. from their hotel in Panama City to start the Portobelo Sea Kayaking and Snorkeling adventure. Upon arrival at Portobelo, the group will visit Santiago Fort and Portobelo Fort (Geronimo Fort and Customs House). Sea kayaking will start around 11 a.m. crossing over the bay to see the other canon battery built by the conquistadores to protect the bay, San Fernando. This crossing takes about 30 minutes.
Keep kayaking around the coast until reaching a hidden beach which is perfect to relax and do snorkeling. Portobelo is a great place for snorkeling since the Caribbean Sea is calmer and has plenty of corals and small tropical fish. It is also possible to scuba dive in Portobelo. Head back around 1 p.m. on a one hour paddle back to Portobelo. Lunch includes local favorites such as fried fish or coconut rice with octopus. Reach Panama City around 5 p.m. to end the Portobelo Sea Kayaking and Snorkeling tour.
- Transportation to and from Panama City
Available: year round on Thursdays.
Time: 10 hours.
What to bring? Swimsuit, light or dry fit clothes that can get wet, aqua shoes / strapped sandals / sneakers, hat, sunscreen, towel, windbreaker, rain jacket or dry bag in the rainy season, change of clothes and passport or ID.
Important information: the Portobelo Sea Kayaking and Snorkeling tour is offered every Thursday with a minimum of 4 passengers. ONLY book this tour for Thursday. Additional dates will be added with a minimum of 6 passengers, please consult if you want to do this tour on an alternative date. There is a maximum of 12 people per tour.
Any person between the ages of 12 to 70 can participate in the Portobelo Sea Kayaking and Snorkeling. Minors must have a responsible adult.