Last year while backpacking I learned a valuable lesson- don’t make plans, you’ll have waaaaay more fun. After my best friend unexpectedly abandoned me in Nicaragua a week into our six week adventure I hadn’t a clue as to what to do. Luckily we had met two loco yet friendly Argentino’s back in El Salvador who invited me to join them on their south bound travels. After weeks in Costa Rica we decided to continue into Panama, unknown territory for this gringa.
After partying it up in Panama City at Luna’s Castle we decided to listen to our fellow travelers and head to San Blas. Wise wise decision, Liza. We headed to the super and stocked up on water, peanut butter, crackers, and Flor de Cana. We intended to stay for 5 days and wound up staying 8, a different island each night, first night was full moon. WOW.
San Blas 411 ::
- Rumor has it that originally there were 900+ islands until a tsunami came in the 1300s and wiped half of them out, now there is 365, some say 378.
- San Blas houses Kuna Indians, a tribe that controls the Caribbean water ways from Colombia to Panama. They also have their own powerful government that isn’t affiliated with the Panamanian government. They speak tule and the women wear lots of colorful clothes with beaded bracelets up to their elbows and ankles and have a gold ball placed against their septum with a line drawn down their nose. I have no clue how they get the ball to stay, it’s rather large. Needless to say, very interesting people.
- San Blas is accessible by boat, plane or a treacherous 2 hour 4 x 4 drive from Panama City followed by a boat ride to your island of choice.
- Each island is owned by a Kuna, or family of. Most islands consist of huts made from jungle debris with a hammock or foam mattress & sheet. Some islands have only 2 huts, and others range from 3-10. None of them have electricity or plumbing.
- The “tourist” islands range from $20-$75 a night. This also includes a cabana aka hut & 3 meals- breakfast, lunch & dinner. Meals generally consist of- coffee/tea/juice, plantains (yes, please!!!) white rice, cucumber/tomato salad, seafood or chicken. Sometimes huge portions, sometimes wimpy. But who wants to stuff their face when their in a bikini and there’s no plumbing?? Not this girl…
I highly suggest going here as soon as possible before it’s too late and stocked with annoying tourist.