Columbus stopped here in 1502 and for nearly 200 years it was the main Spanish port on the Caribbean coast, handling tons of gold, silver and precious cargo. Sir Francis Drake died nearby (1595) and many pirates had various success at sacking it. Today, the canons and thick fort walls remain but the rest of Portobelo is a desperate hovel. An historic gem otherwise, the garbage-lined streets, burning diapers, emaciated dogs, widespread poverty and high unemployment make it tough to stay the night. I did anyway. Yikes.