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Portobello & San Lorenzo Forts

Portobello & San Lorenzo Forts, Panama

Guests are collected for this tour in the morning in order to cross the Isthmus on the Trans-Isthmian Highway. En-route you visit the Gatun locks on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. Much less visited than their counterparts on the Pacific side, these locks do not have the exhibits of the Miraflores locks but you will be able to get very close to the transiting cargo ships from the viewing platform.

After crossing the canal over one of the lock gates you continue to Fort San Lorenzo, which was constructed by the Spaniards in 16th Century to defend against the constant threat of pirates seeking to interrupt the transporting of Inca gold. The fort is very isolated and accessed via a bumpy road but the drive is worth it with stunning views out across the Caribbean sea and the mouth of the Chagres River.

From here you back-track to Gatun locks and continue on to Portobello, another location of Spanish fortresses. Products such as spices, gold and silver coming from the southern Spanish colonies passed through Portobello on the way back to Spain. Portobello was subject to numerous pirate attacks, the most famous being from Henry Morgan who went on to ransack Panama City after capturing the fortified town. The present day ruins are forts built after the pirate attacks.

In the afternoon you return to the train station in Colon to take the only Trans-Oceanic train journey in the world. The journey lasts about 1 hour and takes you across Lake Gatun and through the Soberania National Park to points where the road cannot take you.

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Audley Travel specialist Corina

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Other experiences in Panama City

These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.

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