The San Blas archipelago is made up of some 360 islands for the most part uninhabited, it is an independent state of Panama and is part of the Kuna Yala Comarca, it is located on the Caribbean coast of Panama. The islands are of coral origin, therefore, tongues of white sand covered with coconut trees, surrounded by reefs with splendid corals.
Despite being at the end of a fairly windy stretch of sea where the swell is significant, the archipelago is largely protected by reefs, sailing in this stretch of sea is very pleasant, there is always wind with very little wave, but it is necessary pay attention to the many reefs and shallow waters scattered almost everywhere. San Blas extends to Colombia and the last 100 miles before the border do not enjoy the same treatment, in fact here you sail in the open sea there are fewer islands and less protection.
Regarding the climate, we can distinguish the dry season, which runs from December to May, this is also the period in which the commercial wind constantly blows from north to northeast, and the wet season where the ilise is less constant, going from From June to November, but the worst months are the last 2.
In these islands we find the Kuna people, an autochthonous ethnic group that came to these lands, from Central America, about 300 years ago, it is thanks to them that these lands still retain their ancient beauty, here, in fact, real estate speculation did not arrive to alter these lands. . The Kuna have decided to live in accordance with their ancient traditions, they govern themselves by choosing one or more Saila for each village, carry out legislative tasks, deal with justice and all decisions related to the political aspect of the villages. While the Saila Congress and that is the set of all the Sailas of all the towns and 3 chiefs are called to make decisions about the entire Comarca and to maintain relations with the state of Panama. The Kuna society is matriarchal in type; in fact, women are the support point of the family, they must have control of property and money, and they always have the last word in decisions, they are also the creators of the splendid Molas. These are embroideries that represent snapshots of everyday life, animals or spiritual images, these true works of art are used to adorn clothes.
The only way to visit this wonderful place is to stay in one of the accommodations managed by the Kuna, normally they are humble but cozy beach huts, which cost between 50 and 90 usd per day, including meals, and then move around with tours organized. even these from the Kuna for the various islands whose cost depends on the distances can go from 30 to 60 usd, alternatively you can rent a sailboat and visit the archipelago moving from one island to another, the cost can vary from 160 to 300 usd per day meals included. Regarding the latter, I have to open a parenthesis, in the last 2 years the Kuna congress has opposed the fact that ships carry letters in the archipelago, calling it illegal, the main reason is that in the general rules that the Kuna They have drawn up prohibiting all foreigners from doing any kind of paid work in the Shire. The reality is that over the years boats and letters have become one of the main sources of livelihood for the population, fishermen, artisans, restorers and unskilled workers have lived for years thanks to nautical tourism, the Eliminating this would mean reducing poverty for many families, probably the Kuna congressional war as a goal to discourage other boats from chartering, but they tolerate boats that have been there for years and are now integrated with the population.
A peculiarity of this culture is how they treat diseases, here there are not only doctors, but also traditional healers who call themselves “Curandero”, who is actually a very good herbalist and … … … … .. which instead is the one who makes the diagnosis, and for this he uses a small wooden sculpture that is always present in the cabins, whose task is to absorb everything I have, what happens, the …….. ………….. In a trans state Consult the statue and thanks to this he makes the diagnosis and passes it on to the healer.
Where to anchor:
San Blas offers many anchorages, all with excellent sand, these are the ones that we believe are the best, but in addition to these, there are many to discover:
El porvenir, (immigration office and hotel el porvenir) 09 33.4979 N 078 56.9994 W discreetly protected from all quadrants except this one.
Chichime: 2 restaurants and bars on the ground and some cabins for rent, a nice reef where you can snorkel
1) 9 35.2550 N 078 52.8537 W it is necessary to enter a fairly narrow and crowded passage, but protected by all the squares
2) 09 35.0823 N 078 52.8600 W protected from north and northeast
Banedup – On the ground, a restaurant, and other nearby islands within boat reach, a beautiful reef for snorkeling.
1) 09 33.7921 N 078 51.5924 W protected by all quadrants except south
1) 09 30.4569 N 078 47.6258 W protected northwest, north, northeast
Cambobia, a charming island, one of the few where you can anchor with peaks on the ground and stay 2 steps from the beach.
1) 09 28.5376 N 078 42.7533 W excellent Northwest, North, Northeast protection
Uninhabited island Isla Verde (Cartitupo),
1) 09 28.8798 N 078 37.9866 W excellent protection from the northwest, north, northeast looking towards the reef.
Cayos Coco Bandero is a group of 4 islands of which 3 are deserted.
1) 09 30.6249 N 078 37.0523 W protected by all quadrants
Cayos Holandes, stretching from east to west for approximately 7 miles, is the most distant from the coast and also one of the most fascinating.
1) 09 35.4260 N 078 40.3607 W is still facing Tortuga Island on a 3 mt sandy bottom, excellent protected from all quadrants, fantastic colors of the sea, beautiful snorkeling
2) 09 35.1872 N 078 41.7353 W excellent Northwest, North, Northeast refuge.
3) 09 35.2476 N 078 44.7443 W Miridiadup excellent protected from all quadrants except the southeast.
4) Waisaladup 09 35.7302 N 078 46.4037 W good haven from the northwest, north, northeast, roll a little
Notes: in this area the traditional cartography offered by Navionics or cmap is not reliable, it is better to use a raster map created thanks to the guide written by the German Eric Bahuaus. You can download below.
Download: Bahaus Maps and Clues