The San Blas or Kuna Yala Islands, in the aboriginal language, are a place in the Caribbean where time seems to have stopped. If someone has in mind to visit a primitive paradise, then they must travel to this place on the east coast of Panama.
The white sand beaches, coconut palms and the Guna Indians that inhabit them make the visitor feel that he has not only traveled in space, but also in time.
The San Blas Islands, the most authentic Caribbean
The islands have an airport for domestic flights. In 20 minutes you land from the capital of Panama, a short time for such a long trip, since it is practically a trip to another civilization.
In fact, The San Blas Islands are managed by the Guna Indians, the first settlers of this archipelago. They continue to live on coconuts, fishing and now tourism in their territory, since they do not allow foreign companies to be established here.Beach on San Blas Island - Hugo Brizard
That is the great charm of these islands. In practice they are an autonomous province of Panama, so that the Guna impose their rules, speak their language, wear their traditional clothes, live in their typical houses and even make tourists pay a toll for staying on their islands. However, including that toll, a holiday in the San Blas Islands is a relatively cheap luxury.
"Nature is often hidden, sometimes dominated, rarely extinguished."
What to do on the island of San Blas
Obviously you can tour the islands of the archipelago. There are 365, so if a lucky person wants to enjoy a sabbatical year, he can visit one every day. Not all are inhabited, in fact only between 60 and 80 have inhabitants. Possibly the most interesting are those of Achuputu, Yandup, Kagantapu and Coco Blanco.San Blas Islands - DC_Aperture
In all those that offer accommodation, the lodging is in the traditional houses of the guna. That is, cabins with thatched roofs, sandy soil and bamboo walls.
That is one of the cultural expressions that are discovered during this trip, since everything in the San Blas Islands is imbued with the ancestral traditions of the Guna Indians. From its cuisine based on fish, seafood and rice to its handicrafts.Guna Indian dress - Rita Willaert / Flicr.com
The guna are famous for their typical clothes. Of many colors and with decorations of tropical animals that are a good memory of the trip. As they are also memorable to attend their dances on the beach or watch them fish in rudimentary but effective canoes, as they have done for centuries.
Snorkeling in the San Blas Islands
Another attraction of this trip is snorkeling to discover the seabed near the islands. Some of the underwater areas that are contemplated are among the oldest coral reefs in the world. It is advisable to take the snorkeling equipment there, because there are not many things on the islands.
You can snorkel but instead diving is prohibited. Something that is not an impediment to discover beautiful and unique coral formations, since the cleanliness of these waters is absolute.San Blas Islands - Michel Piccaya
In addition to your snorkeling equipment It is interesting to take a flashlight, matches, candles, well-charged electronic device batteries and cash. Even a food reserve, because in the uninhabited islands it is impossible to find it.
Life on the beaches of the San Blas Islands
All the time spent in this Panama archipelago will be either by the sea or submerged in its waters. Life unfolds on the beach. The accommodations are there, the small restaurants where meals are served too, the night parties are held around a campfire on the sand.Hut in San Blas Islands - rj lerich
The hours pass very quiet sunbathing, taking a dip in the most primitive Caribbean, taking pictures of paradisiacal landscapes and seascapes, paddling in local cayucos or making small dives between corals.
In short, knowing the San Blas Islands, or Kuna Yala as they like to say to its inhabitants, is an unforgettable and unique trip. You will enjoy a natural Eden and a rich ancestral culture and proud of its traditions.