Manual Search for the Camino Real: A History of San Blas and the Road to Get There

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Bumbling bulldozer in a Mexico beach paradise Marvin West Artist James Vitale, owner and operator of El Encanto, a boutique eco-hotel or maybe a healing place or perhaps a vibrant retreat for creativity and education, came onto his verandah to say "Good morni Clickable interactive map of Nayarit, Mexico: Tepic, Nueva Vallarta, Guayabitos read more. The San Blas that the poem refers to is in the state of Nayarit, on the Pacific coast.

Mexico: Sunlight & Shadows: Short Stories & Essays by Mexico Writers

Today, it is a small town, Clickable interactive map of Pacific Coast beaches: Jalisco, Nayarit, Colima, Michoacan, Mexico read more. The amiable residents talk of their future as the next Puerto Vallarta while they wave towels t All Mexico Choose a region, state or city. Colima , Colimilla , Comala , Manzanillo.

In search of pirates in Panama

In other words, he called the Welshman a pirate. In the touchy privateer made good his threat, assembling an armada of 38 ships off the pirate island of Hispaniola and recruiting more than 2, ruthless buccaneers to the cause — English, French, Dutch, virtually every pirate in the Caribbean. From there they turned inland, up the Chagres River and along this cobbled old jungle path to where Panama City lay waiting, in splendid isolation, aloof on the Pacific side. Here was a prize well worth the taking, or at least it would have been if the governor had not been tipped off that the pirates were on their way.

And in the best of tabloid tradition, the raid also spawned a reality best-seller.


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The book was a runaway success in multiple languages and many editions, and is still in print today. Morgan himself, no doubt with an eye to posterity and to his by-then-veryskittish political backers in London, adopted a more elegiac tone in his own version of events: A lot of rainy seasons have come and gone over the old Camino de Cruces since Morgan passed this way.

But nowhere are the changes more apparent than along the Chagres River itself, dammed in to form Gatun Lake, as part of the Panama Canal project. Much of the route Morgan followed is now submerged; to tread the pirate trail through modern Panama, you need to transit the canal.

Robert Richter

It all seems a long way from the bad old buccaneering days — a long way even from the hard-boiled years of the military dictator Manuel Noriega and his drug-thug cronies, and the US invasion that booted them from power. From there, head back east to get to the heart of the story, in Portobelo, known variously to history as Puerto Bello, Portovelo and to the English Portobello.

It was to Portobelo that the treasure from Panama City was brought during the dry season, by heavily guarded mule train along the Camino de Cruces and down the Chagres River, for shipment on to Seville on the mighty galleons of the treasure fleet which called in here once a year. Rather than risk a frontal assault from the sea, he borrowed 23 native canoes, long sleek war vessels called pirogues, and crept up the coast towards the unsuspecting town in the dead of night in They made landfall a few miles west of town and came in on the road, much to the surprise of the sentries.

Before anyone could raise the alarm, Morgan and his men were rampaging through the streets, having taken the seemingly impregnable port with ease.


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  • Weary of being targets for every pirate in the Caribbean, Spain decided from then on to ship its New World plunder the long way around, via Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America. Portobelo went into a long and terminal decline.