Panama: Portobello and Isla Grander

   Our second day in Panama started early the next day where we took a bus to Portobello and Isla Grande. I learned that Portobelo, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was an important trade port on the route of the Spanish treasure fleets. The Spanish built defensive fortifications to keep out rebels but was attacked by Henry Morgan and Edward Vernon in 1668 and 1739 respectively.

            After Portobello we arrived at Isla Grande where we took motor boats to the Island. Upon arrival we ate lunch at a bar which was decorated with Bob Marley paraphernalia. There were huge plates of salad, fish, and rice that were passed around from table to table. It seemed very family oriented and I later saw that another family also took food from a large dish and placed it on their individual dishes. After lunch some of the students took a hike to the top of the Island where we got a gorgeous view of another island and the Pacific Ocean. While hiking we saw beautiful butterflies and ants carrying little leaves. The professor who was leading the hike explained that the ants were taking the leaves to bury them in the ground to create honey!

In General while walking around Isla Grande I noticed that the atmosphere was very laid back. Everyone was relaxing, eating, drinking, listening to music and seemed to be having a good time. Unfortunately we had to leave at 5:00pm to head back to the City. It took a very long time to get back because of all the traffic from the holiday weekend but it was worth it

Jocelyn P.

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