Scubaportobelo (tel. 448-2147, starts at US$52.80 s/d) has cabins meant primarily for divers, but during the frequent slow periods landlubbers can get a room here too.
The rooms are basic, small, with low ceilings and crammed with beds. But they have air-conditioning. Up to four people can be squeezed into each room, but you’d better really like each other. There’s a basic restaurant on the premises.
The best accommodations around Portobelo are at Coco Plum Eco-Lodge (tel. 448-2102 or 448-2309, www.cocoplum-panama.com, US$45 s, US$55 d). It’s just before Restaurante La Torre on the way to Portobelo.
It’s a cheerful place, with conch shells ringing the door frames of the rooms and murals of fish painted on the walls inside. Rooms are clean and pleasant though a bit dark. There are a dozen rooms, most with air-conditioning.
© William Friar from Moon Panama, 3rd Edition