San Blas Archipelago
Paradise islands off the coast of Panama
The wild beauty of the lush coastline, palm-fringed islands, white beaches and coral reefs with abundant marine life make this 360-island archipelago a must-see destination for a sailing holiday. What makes the stay on these islands even more fascinating is, in fact, the possibility of coming into contact with the Kuna population, their culture and their way of life. These Indians live independently according to their ancient laws and traditions. Many ancient traditions still persist in this area, such as the colorful traditional dress of the women, the famous “mola”. Decorated with handmade fabric panels, it is considered one of the most beautiful handicrafts in Panama. This will be a vacation that will stay in your heart.
What really makes a stay on these islands unforgettable is the chance to come into contact with the people, their culture and their way of life. These Indians live independently according to their ancient laws and traditions. There are still many ancient traditions in this area, such as the colorful traditional dress of the women – the famous mola. Decorated with cloth panels, handmade by women, it is considered one of the best handicrafts in Panama.
Women are much appreciated in the archipelago. One of the best festivals is the rite of the innocent celebrating the arrival of menstruation for girls. During the festival, where rivers of alcohol flow, women wear precious gold jewelry. The “SAILA” are the spiritual guides and political authorities of the community. These essays, which know the ancient religion of Ibeorgun, express themselves on any subject in consultation with singers capable of remembering the stories of the ancestors. These islands are a real refuge from the stress and influx of everyday life. It is good to remember that you are a “guest” of the Kuna and you have to adapt and respect their rules.
The western islands
They are the islands closest to the capital El Porvenir. Carti and its nearby islands are near the end of the El Llano-Carti highway, which reaches the region outside of the land. They are the islands that are most easily accessible and at the same time those that are suffering the impact of tourism, after opening the way to 4 × 4 cars. Carti Sugtupu is the most populated island where there is a small museum on the history of the Kuna Indians.
El Porvenir is the official administrative capital of GunaYala.
There is the police station, the immigration office and the airport. The medical center is located in nearby Widsubwala, 5 minutes sailing. Limon Cays are a group of more than 20 islands, most of them with beautiful beaches. An ideal place for snorkeling, camping and fishing. The Dutch Cays are the pearls of the archipelago, with cobalt green sea and shallow corals at the bottom of the snorkel.
The central islands
Corazón de Jesús, Nargana and Isla Tigre.Narganá and Corazón de Jesús are two densely populated islands joined by a wooden bridge. Isla Tigre is one of the most traditional islands of the region.
In the archipelago
The only means of transport in the archipelago is the Kuna canoes (CAYUCOS).
In yachts or sailboats: sailing on the islands of San Blas is a truly unique experience. In this way even the most lost islands can be reached.
How to get there
BY AIR: a taxi will pick you up at the hotel and take you to the Albrook airport. This journey takes about 20 minutes and a plane of about 6 passengers will be waiting for you to take you to the landing strip of the Corazon de Jesus Kuna Yala territory, this flight takes about 45 minutes.
Taxi: 10 usd
Airplane: 300/400 usd round trip (depending on availability)
EARTH: a 4 × 4 taxi will pick you up at the hotel in Panama City at 5:45 am, these taxis have a capacity for 7 people as you will be directed to Carti Sugdup port of embarkation of the territory of Kuna Yala, this tour will last about 2:30 min, half way the driver will stop at a supermarket where you can buy something to drink or eat and if you have any food requirement that is not on the boat, you can buy it there. (remember that our tour is all included).
(The journey may seem very long and exhausting, but I assure you that the landscapes that Panama offers you, its flora and fauna will leave you spellbound, when you get on the boat you can start enjoying the islands, you will fall in love with these turquoise waters and white of its beaches.)
Car: 30 usd per person
50 usd boat for perosna
Total to be paid round trip 160 usd per person.
THEN WELCOME TO PARADISE!
It is important that when you arrive in Panama, withdraw enough money to pay the expenses of the tuor since San Blas does not have ATMs, when you make your reservation, you must pay 15% via pay pal, the remaining money must be paid on board the boat at the time of arrival.
On the islands you can buy souvenirs such as “molas” which are very colorful handmade fabrics, or “winny” which are always very colorful bracelets, traditional of the Indians.
Carry little luggage: in San Blas we are fortunate not to need many dresses or shoes to make our adventure something unforgettable, so, if you are making a very long trip you can leave some suitcases in the hotel you booked, they will keep it in a vault until the time of your return. GOOD TRIPS