Located on a rocky promontory 25 metres above sea level and overgrown with vegetation, the fort of San Lorenzo el Real de Chagres dominates the mouth of the Río Chagres. The beauty of the site, its calm and the view of the river are remarkable. Nothing, except the fort itself, evokes here the fighting of the colonial era between Spanish soldiers and European freebooters. San Lorenzo is one of the oldest and best preserved forts in America. The first fortifications were built at the end of the 16th century, following the plans of the engineer Bautista Antonelli de San Lorenzo and the camp master Juan de Tejada. The aim was to protect from pirates the port of Chagres, at the mouth of the river of the same name, through which the wealth from Peru transited via the Camino de Cruces, before being sent to Portobelo, before a long journey to Spain.

These fortifications were destroyed at the beginning of 1671 by Captain Joseph Bradley on behalf of Henry Morgan, who himself rested there before going up the Río Chagres and sacking the city of Panamá (la Vieja). Rebuilt in 1678, higher up, the fort was destroyed again in 1742, this time by Admiral Vernon. Rebuilt in 1761, it played its role as a fort until independence in 1821, then served as a prison for a few years.

San Lorenzo is included in the Canal Zone and remained in the American enclave until 1999, before being ceded back to Panama. In 1980 it was inscribed, together with the fortifications of Portobelo, on the UNESCO World Heritage List. About 40 cannons would be on the site, including one of the British Crown when leaving the site on the right. Around the fort, in the tropical rainforest, there are many ecosystems and almost a third of all the forest fauna of Panama: jaguars, boas, crocodiles, poisonous frogs or red-eyed spiders... You will have little chance to see all these friendly animals, but you will easily meet iguanas, monkeys or coatis. It is advisable to come early in the morning. For bird watching, the Camino de Achiote is a world-famous site where 420 species of birds have been recorded.

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