The Portobello site is located in Portobelo District, Colón Province, Portobelo is a Port city in Central Panama. It is located on the northern part of the Isthmus of Panama. The train ride from Panama to Colon is a very nice trip. It’s a great way to see what used to be the Canal Zone. However, I think it’s much cheaper to rent a car and drive than take the train and then get a taxi.
By bus from Panama City Albrooke terminal, take the Colon Express (45 min $2.50)and get off at the Rey supermarket in Sabanitas. there switch to the Portobelo bus (1 hr $1.30).
Buses depart Portobelo every half hour from 4:30am to 6:00pm making many stops along the way to Sabanitas (Rey Supermarket) (1hr-$1.30) enroute to Colon (Total 1.5hr-$2.00). In Sabanitas you cross the highway on the pedestrian bridge and catch the Panama City Express bus (1hr-$2.50). To guarantee a seat on the Panama bus, continue on to Colon and catch it there (1.5hr-$2.50).
Visitors could drive from Panama City to Portobelo, taking the Transisthmian highway (Auto Pista) to Sabanitas and then turn right on the road that leads to Portobelo. It takes around one and a half-hour.
By boat There are now over 30 vessels operating the route between Portobelo, San Blas, and Colombia. They vary widely in safety, comfort, and price ($299-$550) depending on the boat. A person would be ill advised to book an 180nm ocean passage on a vessel he hasn’t inspected with a captain he hasn’t met. The waters between San Blas and Colombia can be challenging at times. Don’t depend on second hand information. Vessels depart regularly from Portobelo, Puerto Lindo, and Porvenir. Make an informed decision.
Captain Jack’s Portobelo Hostel is a wealth of information and hub for backpackers and sailboat cruisers alike. Because sailboat captains frequent the hostel/restaurant/bar, it is one of the best places in Panama to meet the captain of your perspective charter, inspect the boats, use internet, eat, sleep, as well as book day tours, kayaking, scuba, hiking, and snorkeling. Captain Jack’s also offers laundry & transportation services. Learn more by visiting () or see the boat section on the San Blas page for more information.