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San Blas Islands: Explore Spanish fortresses and pirate history

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Explore Spanish fortresses and pirate history

We'll drive you right across the Panamanian isthmus to the Caribbean province of Colón to visit the sleepy town of Portobelo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once the stage for many dramatic historical events.

During the colonial era, heavily fortified Portobelo was one of the most important strongholds on the Spanish Main, protecting the northern extreme of the Camino Real. It was along this 'Royal Road' that the conquistadors hauled their looted gold, silver and gemstones from the Inca Empire to ship them off to Spain.

However, the glittering stream of treasure flowing across the isthmus soon caught the attention of the real-life pirates of the Caribbean, including famous figures like Sir Francis Drake and Henry Morgan. Portobelo was attacked, overwhelmed and captured four times – in fact, Portobello Road in London, the Portobello area of Edinburgh and Dublin's Portobello Barracks all owe their names to British victories here.

You'll learn about Spanish treasure, pirate raids and violent sieges as you explore Portobelo's most important fortresses and encounter remnants of the area's volatile history. Return via the Panama Canal Railway, the first railroad to connect two oceans.

Tailor-made holidays

We specialise in creating bespoke holidays designed according to your specific requirements.

Our tailor-made holiday service includes:

  • • A dedicated and friendly specialist to guide you through the planning process
  • • Our unrivalled knowledge of the region based on over 36 years' of expertise
  • • Access to the widest range of accommodation and activity options
  • • Your perfect itinerary, crafted exclusively for you

Speak to an expert 020 8747 8315

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Wanderlust

Food and Travel Magazine Readers' Awards - Tour Operator of The Year 2016

Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards - Best Tour Operator to Latin America 2016

Sunday Times Travel Magazine - Editor's Award 2013

Guardian and Observer Travel Awards - Top Ten Small Tour Operator: 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine Awards - Best Value Tour Operator 2011

Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Awards - Top Ten Specialist Tour Operator 2016

Wanderlust Readers' Travel Awards - Top Ten Tour Operator 2015

British Travel Awards - Best Small Tour Operator to Central and South America 2012

Latin American Travel Association - Award for Customer Service 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine Awards - Best Specialist Tour Operator 2011

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