The San Blas archipelago is a group of 365 islands located in the Panamanian region of Guna Yala or Kuna Yala. This land is inhabited by the Guna people, a indigenous group which is responsible for the management of tourism and administration of these islands.

The beaches of San Blas are ideal to enjoy the Caribbean and all that it has to offer. In this article, we will talk about everything you can find in this area, as well as the different alternatives.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

How to arrive

The San Blas archipelago is located in the Guna Yala region, east of the Panama Canal. There are different transport options to get there, some cheap and some more expensive.



In the following map, you can see the San Blas islands to the east, next to the San Blas mountain range:

By road there are several options. The most comfortable is to hire a car with a private driver that arrives at the port of Cartí, from where the boats leave for the islands. You can also drive your own car, but this must be a 4 × 4.

Another alternative is to go by bus from the Albrook Terminal, in Panama City, towards Cañitas. The bus does not go to the port, so the driver must be told that he has to stop at the San Blas junction. From there to the port, the only option is to hitchhike.

Once in the port of Cartí, you take a boat to the island of your choice, which is between 10 and 18 km away. It must be taken into account that different fees are paid along the route: one of 10 dollars to enter the area, another port (2 dollars) and a last one for the round trip transport by boat, which varies depending on the island.

You can also get there by air, taking a flight of the Air Panama company. Their planes depart from Albrook Airport. The destination varies, although they usually reach the island of El Porvenir, the capital of the region.

A different alternative is to arrive from Cartagena, Colombia, by sailboat. This offer is considerably more expensive than the rest, but it provides a unique experience. You can also go by boat from Capurgana.

Best islands

The San Blas archipelago is made up of a total of 365 islands. However, there are some that stand out from the rest:

Dog Island

It is one of the most famous, since next to it there is a sunken ship in which it can be done snorkel. In addition, there is a coral reef that reaches Isla Diablo, where you can go swimming. It belongs to the Limones Cays.

Aguja Island

It is larger than most, although like the rest of the islands, it can be easily explored on foot. It has some cabins where you can stay to sleep.

Pelican Island

It is located near El Porvenir. It is quite lonely and has no infrastructure, so it is perfect to isolate yourself from the world and relax. Another small island is Kuanidup.

Dutch Keys

It is the furthest zone from the mainland of Panama. It consists of a set of around 10 islands perfect to taste the fish that the Guna fish or enjoy diving.

Nargana

What is striking about Narganá is that you can cross to the next island, Corazón de Jesús, through a bridge. It is one of the ones with the most infrastructures, as it has a hospital and school.

Accommodation

Although in many islands there are cabins and camping areas, there are some that are formed practically entirely by a resort run by a guna family. To get to them you have to travel by boat or plane to a more main island and the family itself is in charge of picking you up.



You must bear in mind that they are not luxury hotels, since the resources of these islands are scarce. However, they have everything you need to spend several nights in them. Here are some of the most prominent:

Narasgandup Bipi

Narasgandup Bipi It has five cabins: three are on the beach, while two have been built on the sea. Each of them has its own bathroom. This complex is also known as small orange tree.

Sapibenega The Kuna Lodge

En Sapibenega The Kuna Lodge you will sleep in cabins with private bathrooms. In addition, it has two restaurants and a bar. The word sapibenega means in Guna language nature.

Kuanidup

Kuanidup It is a small island of white sand in which there are twelve cabins to spend the night. In it the gunas organize excursions.

Akwadup Lodge

The bungalows Akwadup Lodge's are also located on the sea. It also has a restaurant and gardens. It is located five minutes from the island of Achutupu. In this video you have aerial images of the island:

Yandup Island Lodge

Yandup Island Lodge It is located near Playón Chico, where there is a small airport. It is made up of six cabins, two of them on the water. It has electricity throughout the day, as well as a restaurant and private bathrooms. It is an island surrounded by coral reefs.

What to do

If you plan to spend your holidays on these islands, you will see that you will not have time to get bored, as there are a range of activities that you can enjoy. Some of them you can do on your own, while most of the tours or excursions are organized by companies. The prices of these vary a lot. In addition, there are one or several days.

An interesting activity that you can do is to know the culture of the gunas and their traditions. One of the most outstanding is the call grindstone: the traditional clothing for women, made up of colorful embroidery.

In relation to the sea, you can sail on a sailboat or catamaran, as well as practice for yourself snorkel, windsurf o kitesurf. If you want to have a backpacking experience, you can camp on one of the islands, fish and have a bonfire on the beach.

You cannot leave the archipelago without trying the gastronomy typical, which is made up of fish and shellfish such as red snapper, lobster and crab. Another star product is coconut, which they take directly from the palm trees and with which they can make some drinks.

Weather

The climate of the San Blas islands is tropical maritime, so throughout the year there are high temperatures and notable humidity. The average temperature is 27 ºC and does not usually drop below 20 ºC. The time when it rains the least is between January and May.

The sea can be somewhat more rough between May and January, as rainfall is more common. However, there are usually no major storms and there is no danger of hurricanes.

Therefore, here we find a perfect time to bathe and enjoy the sea. So, you do not have to forget to take bathing clothes and sunscreen, as well as the necessary objects to practice some activities such as snorkel.

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