Travelling to the desolate San Blas Islands
Before I had kids I also travelled a lot. One of my top ten destinations is the San Blas Islands in Panama.
The San Blas islands are a group of islands in the archipelago de San Blas, located in the Northwest of Panama facing the Caribbean Sea. There are 378 islands within the archipelago and they are scattered around in an area of about 100 square miles.
The islands are not yet discovered by the tourism industry and are fully in control of the native Kuna’s. The islands are therefore unspoiled and truly amazing. There is a single hotel of modern standard, but don’t go there. Go for some of the eco-cabanas or lodges to get close to the Kuna’s.
The Kuna’s are a community of proud people that have their own laws, norms and values that go with their culture, which is by the way totally different than the traditional Panamanian culture. Since the last headcount of all the Kuna Indians an estimated 300.000 live in Panama
The islands are not easy to reach. You can catch a tiny plane from Panama City to El Porvenir, Playon Chico, Achutupu, Ogobsucum or Corazon de Jesus in San Blas, but from there you will have to sail in a handmade canoe.
We stayed in a eco-friendly homestay on a tiny island on the size of a football field. The room was very basic. The walls made out of bamboo, no bathroom, no running water. There was a single toilet for 5 rooms and it flushed
directly into the sea. Bathing was done in the ocean or using rainwater.
The family on our tiny island cooked us all meals. The food consisted of rice and fish in all possible variations. There are no convenience stores in the San Blas, so if you don’t like to food you will go to bed hungry.
I have never felt so far from home. It was a completely different world, no TV, no internet, no nothing besides beautiful sorroundings. The islands are prestine beyond anything that I have ever experienced. Most of the islands are desolate and you can only visit on a daytrip in a canoe. The snorkling was amazing. I have never seen brighter and more clear water with so many coloured fish. We also visited the local village of one of the bigger islands. The people there lived in simple cabanas, they were poor, but friendly and welcoming and best of all they seemed happy.
If you should choose to bring your kids to the San Blas, then bring all you need for the kids. You are far away from everything including hospitals, so you might want to bring basic medicine as well. The islands are sandy so it does not make any sense to bring a stroller if you are headed for the smaller islands. On the bigger islands there are paths. Bring a carrier instead.
I hope you will go visit the islands while they are still undiscovered.Share on Facebook