Portobelo, Isla Grande, & Cuango, Panama

Where is Portobello, Isla Grande, and Cuango?

These Caribbean towns are located between one and two hours drive North from Panama City, Panama.

What are the Homes Like in these Caribbean towns?

The homes vary along these communities. Cuango and Portobello are small fishing towns with Caribbean Colonial style homes by the water while Isla Grande boasts some larger, more luxurious residences built by wealthy Panamanians and foreigners.

What is the Neighborhood Vibe in these Caribbean towns?

The vibe throughout the Caribbean coast is laid back and tropical. The crystal clear waters and rich history dating back to the 1500’s has made this area of Panama a historical paradise. Many Panamanians and tourists frequent these towns on the weekends and holidays to swim and picnic on the beach. Unlike Bocas Del Toro, on the other side of the Northern Coast of Panama, the ex pat and nightlife community is much more low key.

What Amenities are close by these Caribbean towns?

Once you get off the Corredor Norte and turn to head to Portobello, there is an El Rey Supermarket, restaurants, hardware stores, and small shops. The small towns along the coast have convenience stores where you can pick up eggs and milk but for the most part one should try to stock up on groceries at the large El Rey off the highway.

What is the weather like in thCaribbean towns?

You have tropical Caribbean weather with sunshine and rain.

What Makes Living in these Caribbean towns Unique?

This coast of Panama is still very rustic. Many properties are being bought up and planned for developments but much of these small towns have remained the same for a long time. The water is crystal clear, the land is filled with palm trees, and the people are friendly and tranquil.

Some other interesting facts about the Caribbean Coast of Panama:

* The residents along the coast spend most of their time fishing the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean.
Visiting Cuango is especially nice for it is known as Costa Arriba, where the climate is always enjoyable and really gets you out of the hustle and bustle of the city life.

* La Guaira is located on the Caribbean Mainland about 2 hours east of Panama City. The beaches of La Guaira are gorgeous and boast beautiful coral reefs which are renowned for diving and snorkeling.
There is also a very rich history associated with the waters off and near La Guaira, and it is rumored that Sir Francis Drake was buried in a lead coffin near this area.

* Portobello is a quaint and historic town located on the Caribbean Coast of Panama, approximately 1 hour´s drive from Panama City on a newly constructed highway which connects the Cities of Panama and Colon.
Portobello has a long history dating back to the 16th century when Christopher Columbus discovered the Bay of Portobello on his fourth trip to America.

* Among the Spanish explorers and pirates that have left their mark in Portobello are: Francisco Pizzaro, William Parker, Adm. Edward Vernon, Sir Henry Morgan, and Sir Francis Drake.

* The church of San Felipe is one of the oldest buildings in the town still in use. It was originally dedicated in 1814 and replaced a smaller church of the same name, the ruins of which still remain.

* The most interesting thing about San Felipe church is that it houses the image of the Nazarene of Portobello, a handsome effigy of Jesus bearing the cross, made from wood of southern Spain more than 300 years ago. Called the “Black Christ,” it has become one of the most revered images throughout Panama and the focal point of an annual church festival which draws thousands of visitors each October.

* The present day town of Portobello has only slightly more than 500 citizens and they have developed a personality of their own. They are descendants of the Spanish and Indians and the Spanish and African slaves, with a third group made up of people of distinct African ancestry. Members of this group “carry in their blood centuries of tradition,” Among these traditions are primitive dances with a definite African flavor, called “congos,” which they perform wearing costumes fashioned from the bark of the palm tree and decorated with multicolored feathers.