The town of Portobelo
From Fuerte Santiago, we made our way east into the main part
of the town, walking along the busy roadway and sidewalks.
As soon as we got into the town, we could not help but notice
and visit the historic Customs House. It was originally
built in 1630, and was where all the gold and riches were
accounted for and stored, until they could be loaded on
the ships bound for Spain.
Originally called "The Kings House", the building was destroyed
and rebuilt twice, once in 1744 by cannon fire in one of the
many attacks on Portobelo, and once again in 1882 during an
earthquake. Today it is a historic museum, and we
spent about an hour walking around it looking at the many muskets,
coins, and other artifacts housed there.
Also in the town is the large whitewashed San Felipe Church, visible from
anywhere in the bay or town, that is still in use today. We stopped by it on
our visit, but it was filled with throngs of worshippers, overflowing to the plaza
outside, so we were unable to see inside where the famous Black Christ statue