The Rainforest, rivers, sea, climate, native people’s history, galleons, slaves, pirates, and merchants have joined together to form a Portobelo that is bio-diverse and rich in cultural, ethnic and varied artistic expressions. These expressions range from the delicate woodwork of carpenters, the interpretative dance and artistic sounds of young local Congo performers, to the dance and music emanating along the coastline during the area’s holidays.

All this wealth does not deny the fact that Portobelo presents great deficiencies in the education, health and welfare of its people. The Portobelo Bay Foundation, together with the caretakers of El Otro Lado, is committed to improving the quality of life of the community with programs that seek advancement through culture, and with initiatives that promote development with identity. In this way, El Otro Lado becomes a vehicle of cultural expression that allows its guests to participate, with their stay, in the integral development of Portobelo’s population. And, the experience goes both ways: the visitors’ presence supports the Foundation’s non-profit activities and the visitors in return receive an immersion experience in the rich riot of color, the sensuality and the strength that the Congo culture has to offer.

La Escuelita de Ritmo, the Carpentry Workshop, the Art Gallery, the Devils and Congo Festival and La Casa de la Cultura Congo are all initiatives driven by the Portobelo Bay Foundation and with which the visitors to El Otro Lado can interact and contribute.

Any participation will always be welcome! 


  1. The Family’s love story with Portobelo Bay

    It is with great passion that the family has engaged Portobelo for the past decades, supporting the community with social development programs aimed at developing opportunities for progress through culture and tourism.

  2. El Otro Lado building begins

    The creation of El Otro Lado as a luxury Private Retreat was an initiative to demonstrate the potential of Portobelo as a world class touristic destination and to generate income aimed to support the social labor of our non for profit organization, Fundación Bahía de Portobelo.

  3. Creation of La Escuelita del Ritmo

    One of the key programs of La Fundación Bahía de Portobelo, a free music school that teaches music to more than 100 kids and teenagers.  Its mission is to spread the culture, specially artistic education, as a powerful tool for social development, strengthening in a comprehensive way the identity of the new generations and promoting the improvement in the quality of life and the education of Portobelo’s community. 

  4. El Otro Lado Private Retreat’s Opening

    With 5 unique villas, El Otro Lado, opened its doors to invite people from all around the world to discover Portobelo as a wonderful touristic destination where luxury blends with nature, adventure and with a whole historical and cultural immersion that only a place as Portobelo can offer. 

  5. Casa de la Cultura Congo Opening

    Is an open, public, inclusive space, it was built to host training workshops, creation of crafts and artistic exaltation. Visitors can experience various forms of the Congo art and understand the importance of the colonial Latin and African historical legacy of Portobelo.

The custodians of culture

Local artists who show their works in the gallery, carpenters who teach their ancestral techniques, chefs who rescue wonderful recipes, musicians and dancers who enchant with the fantastic dances and sounds of the Congo and all of the other characters who work daily to preserve and show with pride Portobelo’s culture and traditions.