Portobelo-San Lorenzo – UNESCO Heritage in Panama



Magnificent examples of 17th- and 18th-century military architecture, these Panamanian forts on the Caribbean coast form part of the defence system built by the Spanish Crown to protect transatlantic trade. This property demonstrates the strategic organization of the territory and represents an important concept of defence and technology development mainly between the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1980, listed in UNESCO Heritage list.


Located along the coast of the Province of Colón.

About Portobelo-San Lorenzo

1. The Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo are a masterpiece of human creative genius. Portobelo is a remarkable example of an open fortified town, destroyed and built several times. San Lorenzo underwent the same process of renovations along the colonial era.

2. The Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo, a group of late 16th, 17th and 18th century fortifications, are among the most characteristic adaptations of Spanish military architecture to tropical climate and landscape features, and represent the structural and technological development of military structures in the Caribbean.

3. In terms of form, design, material and setting the components of the property have remained mostly unchanged through time, expressing the essence of the fortified system and the evolution of European models of military architecture from the late 16th to the 18th century in the Americas. The military structures have largely retained the overall original form, although most architectural finishes, decorative elements and some wall sections have been lost as a result of decay. The vulnerability to decay factors will need to be addressed through sustained conservation actions, carried out in accordance with scientific conservation principles and standards.

Best Time to Visit

You can travel to Panama at anytime of the year, however, the dry season runs between mid-December and mid-April which is generally considered the best time to visit.


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