Blogs from Kuna Yala, Panama, Central America Caribbean


Central America Caribbean » Panama » Kuna Yala October 19th 2018

The San Blas islands are a group of 378 islands located in the Northwest of Panama facing the Caribbean Sea. Only 49 of the islands are inhibited by indigenous Kuna people. The Kuna tribes got their independence from Panama in 1925 and now is an autonomous region of Panama. We took a 12 seater single prop airplane and flew 45 minutes from Panama City to the small Playon Chico Airport. Our guide Thomas was there waiting for us. A short boat ride dropped us at the Yandup (boar) Island. This ‘quaint resort’ constituted of 12 bungalows, one large dinning hut, a small sand beach and a boat dock. All the meals and two activities a day are included in the package. We got our bungalow with beautiful Mola pillows and hand quilted bed cover. Two hammocks ... read more
The small prop plane took us to San Blas Island
Thomas met us at the airport at Playon Chico
Yandup (Boar) Island

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Kuna Yala August 7th 2017

“Ach wie schön ist Panama” (Uh, Panama is nice!) said once the tiger and the bear in a German children’s story. Due to many wrong directions these two never arrived but after 5 month I found it – and I can agree, they would not have said anything different. I stopped for two nights in the coffee region - Boquete. After spending many weeks in a hot climate, the refreshing temperatures of the coffee region felt very good. Loooots of rain, no power and I had the perfect excuse to get many hours of deeeep sleep (without waking up covered in sweat). The hills around were lush, the air was fresh and the coffee really tasty – a fantastic place to breath in before staying a week in the concrete jungle of Panama City. On the ... read more
Panama City with Mitch's family
two big ships passing the Miraflores Locks
crystal clear waters

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Kuna Yala March 10th 2017

We ended up at Isla Tigre, one of the more or less 400 islands of San Blas. The island is a community island, which means there is a Kuna Yale village. The village is beautiful and because we are still very far from civilization the people live extremely basic, all houses are made of bamboo with thatched palm leave roofs. Although the men wear western clothes, all women wear their traditional clothes and jewellery and not because of the tourists (there were not other foreigners except us) but just because this is the way they live and wear their clothes with pride.At one end of the island (which you can cross in about ten minutes) the ... read more

No cars. Electricity only in the evening. A small military outpost and border village turned into …. well …. a small military outpost and border village. The weather had not really changed enough and after the sniffer dogs had checked our luggage, and after we got an entry stamp into the country, we were told there were no boats travelling in this area.So we got to explore the village which took us 5 minutes, checked in at a nice hotel, found a great bakery and one restaurant, all around the field in the center of the village which was used as the central square, the kids playground, the sporting grounds for the military and as the ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Kuna Yala October 12th 2016

Le 12 octobre 2016, Aujourd'hui, on se paie une petite folie, un tour aux îles San Blas, dans la Comarca de Guna Yala, un territoire indigène faisant parti du Panama mais indépendant et autogéré par la communauté. La communauté guna compte environ 300 000 personnes réparties dans la région. Il s'agit d'un véritable modèle de préservation de la culture indigène ancestrale, l'une des mieux préservée en Amérique. Dans la Comarca, aucun étranger ne peut posséder de terre ni exploiter une entreprise. Les gunas sont rois et maitres de leur région et il faut montrer patte blanche, son passeport et un billet de 20$ US pour obtenir l'autorisation de pénétrer dans leur territoire. Ici, ce sont les touristes qui s'adaptent à leur mode de vie et à leurs normes, et non eux qui s'adaptent aux attentes du ... read more
Faut imaginer le tout avec du soleil...
Une femme guna, croquée à Panama City

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Kuna Yala November 2nd 2014

After a fond farewell to Cuba we embarked upon our next adventure in Panama. The taxi from Panama City airport provided an overview of just how different the culture and industry are between the two countries: Cuba cut off from the superpower of America and all that comes with it, while Panama thrives with international banking and cargo. Our stay at Mamallena Hostelwas comfortable and we celebrated adding another country to our hit list by adding another beer to our hit list! With hundreds of photos and brief contact with family from throughout the first weeks of our trip, we relished the free wifi and uploaded to our hearts’ content! Our plan of a few days in Panama City to explore before setting sail across the Caribbean for the Colombian north coast didn’t last long as ... read more
Pier to paradise?
Lobster anyone?
San Blas sunrise

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Kuna Yala October 19th 2014

We had to travel from Colombia to Panama, which meant we had a decision to make, (and I'm not very good at making decisions). It's not as easy as just getting on a bus as there is an area known as the Darien Gap which is dangerous and almost impossible to navigate. So it left us with the options of either flying or taking a sail boat that included three days in the San Blas islands. We decided on taking a boat but the next problem was choosing which one as we had heard some horror stories of drunk captains and awful trips. Eventually we settled on the Perla del Caribe a 43 foot sailboat with Captain Jules. I was feeling pretty nervous when we arrived at the boat in the dark around 8pm unsure of ... read more

The San Blas islands are an archipelago located in the Kuna Yala district in the Caribbean sea off Panama, however they do stretch all the way down to Colombia. Only around 15% are inhabited, with the rest comprising of a small piece of sand and some coconut trees, just above sea level. They represent to me the typical picture post card snapshot that you have in your head of the Caribbean, with aquamarine water, eye-burning bright white sand and the green of coconut palms. Underneath the water lies the world's third largest reef. On our first stay in Panama City a few months back, we had found a good company to do a trip with out to the islands, and it made it easy for us to arrange as we burnt our way down south from ... read more
Isla Achutupo
Mojo enjoying the sun at Isla Achutupo
One of the many small islands

Due to not wanting to further increase my risk of something horrible happening to me while travelling I decided to book myself onto a sailboat and cross the ocean from Colombia to Panamá rather than taking on a border crossing through a jungle (see mum - responsible travel decisions). Although choosing a boat is usually something that would involve a lot of research and reading of reviews (especially considering the $550 price commitment for such a venture), a Canadian guy that I had met in Tryona National Park called Jeff happened to be heading the same way and I opted for the guarantee of at least one amusing person on my boat and booked my trip over in a matter of minuets. The name of the agency was Bluesailing and they organised getting stamped out of ... read more

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! We were sailing to Panama, albeit a day late due to a cockup by the captain of the boat we were supposed to be going on. But the Almande was a fairly large boat with two French seadogs, Loic and Franck, to keep her on the right path to the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama. There were 9 of us on the boat; Vicky and Ed were a couple from Essex doing a similar trip to ourselves (always a wonderful thing to meet likeminded people); Jo and Jade an Anglo-Australian couple who were both big characters (if you are an 18 stone, tattooed, ginger beared, Australian bloke with a girls name you are going to be an awesome person, you don't really have a say ... read more
If I could come back as anything....
Sailing is a hard life.
This occurred every morning.

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