El Cristo Negro

Iglesia de San Felipe in the main plaza of Portobelo houses the famous ‘Black Christ’ statue, El Cristo Negro. The statue itself is a life size wooden effigy of Christ bearing a large wooden cross. Many myths and folklore’s are attributed to its origin.

Every October the town hosts a festival culminating in a mass and procession of the statue around the town before it is returned to the church at mid-night. This is one of Panama’s most famous cultural events with thousands of pilgrims visiting in the days and weeks leading up to the main event. Including celebrities Politicians

Although the event is strictly a religious festival visitors and tourists will be sure to experience a party atmosphere around the whole town in the weeks leading up to October 21st.

Photo by Adam Jones / CC BY-SA 2.0

Festival de Diablos y Congos

One of the most vibrant and fun cultural events in Panama is the ‘Festival de Diablos y Congos’.  The Congos represent the enslaved Africans while the Devils mock the Spanish colonists of the time.

The festival is full of color, outlandish costumes, dancing and music. and takes place in March every year. Other regions in Panama have tried to capitalize on the popularity of the festival by holding their own regional varieties, Portobelo however remains the biggest and best. Much like the Cristo Negro event celebrations start early