I was looking forward to this trip in my holiday, sailing in the San Blas Islands. And I have to admit, it was incredible! Of course as a beach girl I liked it but I can image everybody would love this. Turquoise water, white sand, waving palms and under water it is as even as beautiful as above. I traveled a lot, in total 58 countries, but this sailing trip through the San Blas Island is definitely in my highlight top 3. I call this the real paradise!
The archipelago de San Blas is a group of 378 islands in the Northwest of Panama. Only 49 islands are inhabited by about 30,000 of the native Kuna Indians. The islands and reef stretch about 225 km in front of the Panama coast that are part of the Comarca de Guna Yala province.
Besides the beautiful nature the island inhabits indigenous Kuna or Guna Indians. These Indians live from the seafood and coconuts on the islands, as well from yucca, bananas and rice that grows on the near mainland. You can recognize a Kuna woman on her colorful skirt and blouse that made with molas (textile with geometric figures) and the women wrap their under legs with a long strands of tiny beads, which form the similar geometric patterns. The Kunas sell bracelets and molas to the tourist to get income; I bought a beads bracelet as a souvenir.
Via internet I found the sailing tour operator SanBlastour. The guy Cedric arranged the 4×4 jeep transport from my hotel in Panama City to Carti (50$ return). The journey will take three hours one way but the scenic views are astonishingly beautiful. Halfway you have to show your passport and pay the Kuna Tourist tax of 15$. When you arrive in Carti the local lancha (taxi boat $5 to $20 per trip, depending how far your sailing boat or island is) will bring you to your booked boat or island.
Tip: Bring enough cash money with you, the San Blas Island and Panama in general is not that cheap. There is no ATM in Carti, the driver can stop at an ATM during the trip to the islands.
I booked the sailing boat the “Perle”. The skipper Miro set up his own website now, and I really recommend him. He is very helpful and cooked very good!! I booked the boat for 4 nights. In the beginning another couple was on the boat but they left after one day, so I had my private yacht for three nights!! It was an amazing trip that I will never forget. The islands and reefs are so beautiful that I was so happy and smiling all the time.
We even caught our own tuna fish during sailing!! I visited uninhabited islands, snorkeled and spotted many fish and dived for huge shells. The islands were full of orange sea-stars and of course I drunk fresh coconuts. I felt like surviving and living in a dream. While sailing the dolphins swam with the boat, saw stingrays and other fish. The sunsets where amazing and reading a book in the hammock in front of the boat made it perfect. Waking up and first thing you do is jump in the turquoise clear water. I want this life forever!!!
Miro told me more people that visited his boat do the same now. They bought a boat and guide tourist through the San Blas Island. Airbnb your boat, what a life!
So on my bucket list I added: Learning how to sail, buy a boat and travel the world. Keep on dreaming!!!
Tip: There are tour-operators that sail between Panama and Colombia and vice versa. This could be a good option to see the San Island too, but I think you will see it less intense if you book it like I did.
You want to visit these Islands too? Where are you heading next Panama City?