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San Blas Islands

The San Blas Islands are a Panamanian archipelago comprising approximately 378 islands and atolls of which only 49 are inhabited. They are located off the north coast of the Isthmus of Panama and east of the Panama Canal.

Indians cuna reside there and are part of the comarca (province) of Guna Yala located along the Caribbean coast of Panama. Famous sailing area, they are renowned for their beauty and the absence of hurricanes.

Before the arrival of the Europeans, the cunas wore few clothes and painted their bodies with colorful designs. Encouraged by the missionaries to dress, they copied the body designs onto the molas they wore as dresses. They worship a god called Erragon who they believe came and died for the cuna people. Hunted from Panama during the Spanish invasions, the cunas took refuge in the surrounding 378 islands. Today their leader lives on the island of Acuadup, which means “island of the rock”. Many cunas are hunters and fishermen and on some of the islands children can attend school. Many men speak Spanish although women retain old traditions.

From 1679 to 1681 William Dampier began and ended his first journey in the company of privateers and pirates on these islands which he called “The Samballoes”, which became a place for gathering pirates thanks to the possibility of both hiding and living in privacy. The Kuna Yala Indians are very hospitable and helpful.

Access : Coordinates:9.57, -78.82 / By Plane : San Blas is accessible by plane (around 40 minutes from Panama City, for around $ 85). There are several airstrips that are sometimes hardly more than a widened cycle path, which often have a daily connection to Panama City.
By Car :
If everything goes well, it is about a 5-hour drive from Panama City, by 4×4 jeep and than the water taxi, However, this is largely on an unpaved road through the jungle, which crosses halfway through a river. A very nice ride, but keep in mind that you might not be able to reach your destination.

Sailboats :  For those who wish to enjoy San Blas in a more unusual, almost immersive way, a great alternative is the sailboat ride. There are options from three days and the chance to live with intensity the wonderful sea of the archipelago is great. Travelers who opt for this means of transportation will be staying on their own boats and will visit several islands. A very common route is to get from Cartagena, Colombia, to San Blas. A beautiful trip, no doubt!

Highlights :

  • Archipelago of San Blas , The San Blas Archipelago is located on the Atlantic coast of the Caribbean Sea in northern Panama and belongs to the Kuna Yala Indigenous tribe, an autonomous Indian region comprised of 365 islands and an immensity of preserved forest.
  • Dog Island , One of the most famous islands in San Blas is Isla Perro also known as Dog Island , one of the top snorkeling places in Guna Yala.
  • Assudub Dummad , also known as Perro Grande , features a spacious beach
  • Isla Perro Chico (Achudub) Isla Perro is 16 km from the coast and is one of the most popular , The natural pool formed in the middle of the sea is famous for offering the visitors the opportunity to find several stars of the sea, even without diving.
  • Isla Aguja (Icodub) Isla Aguja is very popular because it is a beautiful island and the closest to the mainland, only 6 km away, with a good restaurant, cabins for overnight stay, restrooms and camping areas.
  • Isla Fragata (Banedub) 18 km from the coast.
  • Piscina natural de Las Estrellas , Las Estrellas Natural Pool , It is a natural pool formed in the middle of the sea, about 17 km from the coast, where boats always give a stop the tourists enjoy the shallow water and super transparent.
  • Isla de Los Buracos , visit and interact with a Kuna Yala Indian of the older generation, clothed in character with their typical costume.

Activities : Swimming, snorkeling, sailing, sunbathing, enjoying the beautiful surroundings …/ Tours in the San Blas archipelago

Note: The Kuna Yala periodically make their assemblies and make their decisions, altering the norms of visitation. In the last carnival, for example, the entrance of sailboats in the archipelago was prohibited, also, they can close some island for visitation for some reason.

Go next : Puerto Obaldia / Capurgana / Turbo / Cartagena

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