San Blas Island
In researching Panama and things to do in Panama, I came across San Blas Islands and I knew I had to visit there; I am happy I did. San Blas Islands is a collection of small islands that is owned and fully operated by the Indigenous Guna People. We booked a two-day one night stay on the island in an over-water cabin and it was the best money spent!
The tour company we used was VisitSanBlasPanama. Getting to San Blas island is a rough journey and at one point I honestly thought I was not going to make it. Here are some things to expect:
- You will get picked up at 5:00am and they were on time. It will seem a bit sketchy, me and my three friends were a bit weary, but it turned out that they were good people. Depending on how many persons booked the tour you may or may not stop for other people.
- You will drive from Panama City to the interior of Panama. It is a LONG drive, filled with turns and steep hills. It felt like a roller coaster ride that was never ending and if you are prone to motion sickness- prepare yourself!
- You will come upon a checkpoint – this is where you will leave the jurisdiction of Panama and enter the land of the Guna people. From the checkpoint you will drive for another 60-90mins at which point you will be dropped off to a “port”. From there your driver will turn you over to the captain of the boat who will take you to the island you will be staying on. Remember the San Blas island comprises of over 358 islands.
- The island you are staying on will dictate the boat you ride on. They tell you to pack light and take only the necessities. The boat ride over to the island was horrifyin., I genuinely thought I was going to die and this is no exaggeration. I am not sure if it is always like that or it was just a rough day at sea but when I finally got there I vowed to live on the island or have a helicopter come for me. It was that horrible. However, when we did reach the island, I forgot all about the boat ride, the island is that beautiful.
- The package we paid for included an over water cabin, it was pretty basic but comfortable. We received lunch, dinner, breakfast and lunch. There is no electricity in the day but the cabins run on solar energy from 8pm-10pm at nights.
Aside from the journey to get to the island in San Blas, I enjoyed everything else. It is a must do, even as a day trip – you won’t regret it. We paid $215USD per person and that included the 2 days one night stay in the over water cabins, roundtrip transportation, meals and entry tax to the islands we visit on the tour. We were charged an extra $22USD to enter Kuna Ayala.