San Blas Islands Panama


San Blas Islands Panama

San Blas Islands: The San Blas peninsulas are a group of islands in the archipelago de San Blas, located in the Northwest of Panama confronting the Caribbean Sea. There are 378 peninsulas within the archipelago and they are scattered around in an area of about 100 square squares. If you leave the Golfo de San Blas by boat you will begin the Caribbean Sea. The majority of the 378 peninsulas have no inhabitants, but on the larger ones you will find the compassionate native people known as the Kuna’s. These people can be found on the larger inhabited peninsulas ; Aguja Island, Guanidup peninsulas , Chichimei, Yandup peninsulas and El Porvenir. You may ask yourself What is san blas? San Blas is an autonomous territory in Panama formally called Kuna Yala.

The Guna worship a god named Erragon, whom they believe came and died just for the Guna people. Driven off Panama during the Spanish infringement, the Guna fled to the surrounding 378 peninsulas . Today their chief lives on an peninsulas called Acuadup, which means “rock peninsulas “. Many Guna are hunters and fishermen. On some of the peninsulas , children can attend school. Most of the men now speak Spanish, although the women carry on older traditions.

 San Blas peninsulas Panama

San Blas Islands Panama

When Rachel and I first started planning our two weeks in Panama we pretty much only had two places on our itinerary: the Panama Canal and the San Blas peninsulas . The canal was easy to visit, but arranging a trip to San Blas proved a little more tricky.

Seriously, it was so difficult to find any update information about visiting San Blas Panama, which seemed so bizarre. Like I kept reading through different San Blas guides that made it sounds so confusing and difficult to get there, and I wasn’t even sure if Rachel and I would be able to visit San Blas while in Panama.

Except the funny thing is, in the end getting to San Blas was such a breeze, and if only we could have found accurate and up to date information about planning a trip to San Blas we wouldn’t have had any problems. Note to self: don’t trust any San Blas guide written by someone who only took a day trip to San Blas and spent about two hours there.

Panama San Blas Islands

There are 365 pieces of paradise scattered in the Caribbean, just off the coast of Panama: the San Blas Islands. More than 300 of them are uninhabited, all are coated in coconut palms, and most are too small for Google maps to bother with. The Kuna, a tribe indigenous to Panama, run the islands and have fiercely protected the land, their culture, and their independence. That means no hotels, no chain restaurants, no foreign-owned anything. The best way to find a cell phone signal is by hunting for it on a dinghy.

You can arrive on these islands by speedboat from Panama, or, for even more of an adventure, sail with a crew from Cartagena. A five-day trip, stopping over in some of the most gorgeous and remote islands in the Caribbean for about $500? Yes, please.

There’s no one around me, except for a star fish lying just a few feet away and my sail boat in the far distance. I sit on the fine sand, dipping my feet into the warm crystal water, enjoying the tiny island all to myself.

I am sailing in the San Blas Islands, Panama. And this is the closest place to paradise.

The 375 islands that make up San Blas Panama are pristine and well-protected — some of them are inhabited by the indigenous Kuna people, but most are deserted. The islands are still relatively undiscovered by mass tourism. Getting here is not easy, but that’s exactly its appeal.

There are a ton of sailing companies that organize this trip, but one stands out above the rest: a French-owned boat called the Velero Amande. The site promises charcoal barbecues, abundant lobster, and a personal cook. A culinary adventure by sea, it seems. There’s a boat leaving from Cartagena just before Christmas. I sign up, pay the deposit, and hold my breath.

San Blas Islands Map

San Blas Islands Map

As you may have guessed, the San Blas Islands do not offer wifi. If you purchase a chip in Panama, then you’ll be connected, but to enjoy the islands to their fullest, turn off your phone and tune into nature. This is a perfect destination for the ultimate technology detox, as days are spent resting on the beach and drinking out of coconuts. You can still take a lifetime’s worth of beautiful beach pictures, perfect to share on social media once you return to the mainland.

To stay true to the technology detox, resting is essential. And in the San Blas Islands, naps are best taken under the shade of the palms. Local families that own the islands sell anything from fruits to beach towels, which you can purchase for a picnic lunch in the shade. The temperature averages at 90 degrees year round, so sunblock and shade will be essential to a relaxing time in the islands.

With 365 islands in total, island hopping is a must during a visit to the San Blas Islands. Companies like Cacique Cruiser specialize in adventures through the archipelago. You can opt to stay as long as you would like in the islands, as most of them have family-run casitas, which are open to travelers to the area.

The Guna Yala (also known as Kuna Indians) are the indigenous people of the San Blas Islands. Originally occupying the border of Panama and Colombia, (when Panama was part of Colombia), the Kuna Indians began settling in the San Blas Archipelago around 1800. No tourists were allowed to the region until the 1940s, as the Kuna Indians operated an autonomous state separate from Panama. The Kuna have kept many of their cultural traditions intact, which are still thriving today. They originally wore few clothes and decorated their bodies with bright, colorful designs, but after Europeans arrived, the Kuna began making and wearing intricately woven molas, which are still present today. Travelers are now allowed to visit, and each island family works with local operators and each other to ensure guests have the best experience on a visit to the islands.

Which San Blas Island is the best?

We will sum up the top 5 best beaches in San Blas reachable for tourist by day-trips local transportations by the native Kuna.
  1. Isla Perro beach. Isla Perro or in English Dog Island is a famous and well-visited spot by travel guides in the San Blas area. …
  2. Island Banedub beach. …
  3. Chichimei beach. …
  4. Isla Robeson beach. …
  5. El Porvenir.

Can you stay on San Blas Islands?

Tourists are only allowed on a couple of islands of San Blas and on these islands the Kuna provide food and lodging for them all year around. On one of the major islands, Chichime, the Kuna run a hostel for tourist.

How do you get to San Blas Islands?

To get to San Blas you’ve got four options. You can fly from Panama straight into the San Blas Islands, take a sailing boat from Cartagena, take a speedboat from Capurganá, or take the bus from Panama City. Most backpackers travelling between Colombia and Panama choose one of these options.