Cookies

At Journey Latin America we use cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on our website.
Find out more


San Blas Islands: Explore Spanish fortresses and pirate history

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.

Other ideas

Meet the Kuna Indians of San Blas

Meet the Kuna indians of San Blas

Caribbean Kayaking Adventure

Panamanian Caribbean kayaking adventure


Go Snorkelling

Go snorkelling in the Panamanian Caribbean

Tailor made holidays

Creating bespoke holidays that are as individual as you are

  • Your personalised itinerary
  • Crafted with our expertise and experience
  • The widest choice available
  • Carefully designed to meet your style & budget

Call 0203 582 8754 to enquire.

Journey with the UK's NO1 specialist in travel to latin america

The Leading Specialists

  • Since 1980
  • The original pioneers in travel to Latin America - the first and still the best
  • Award-winning holidays, crafted with care
  • Nobody knows Latin America better

Travel with the Experts

  • All our staff are in-depth Latin America specialists
  • Our team shares  a unique insight into Central and South America
  • Get the inside track with expert advice based on first-hand experience

Choice and Flexibility

  • The widest range of options
  • No limitations on how you can travel
  • A genuinely personal service geared to understanding your needs
  • The journey you'll love, in a style to suit you
Wanderlust

Wanderlust Reader's Travel Awards - Top Ten Tour Operator 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015

Latin American Travel Association – Award for Customer Service 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine – Specialist Tour Operator 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine – Best Value Tour Operator 2011

Sunday Times Travel Magazine - Editor's Award2013

British Travel Awards – Best Small Tour Operator Central & South America 2011, 2012

Condé Nast Traveller – Top Ten Specialist Tour Operator: 2010, 2011, 2012

Guardian and Observer Travel Awards– Top Ten Small Tour Operator: 2009, 2010, 2012

Page Full Path: /sitecore/content/JLA/Home/destinations/panama/places-to-visit/san-blas-islands/things-to-do/explore-spanish-fortresses-and-pirate-history

Page ID: {8D2EDC10-09F1-46B0-8B8B-EC59509644E8}

Page Name: explore-spanish-fortresses-and-pirate-history

Page Display Name: Explore Spanish fortresses and pirate history

Page Template Name: T012-Activity

Page Template ID: {1C3DC5E2-9625-40B4-8DA8-8DE959FA4ADF}

Parent ID: {33A84DED-5B30-4B6D-90E9-FAC002679A11}

Parent Name: things-to-do

Parent Display Name: Things to do

Parent Template Name: T006-ThingsToDo-Place

Parent Template ID: {C7611AAD-8D6F-4D65-A35B-1EDD0CF924B0}