The San Blas Islands are a collection of 378 tropical islands off the coast of Panama, most of which are tiny and can be circumnavigated in only a few minutes. They belong to the indigenous Kuna people and are a paradise for beach lovers and anthropologists alike. The islands are an autonomous region and the Kuna still fiercely adhere to their ancestral traditions. Far off the backpacker trails, they are a place where visitors can play Robinson Crusoe for a while and delve into a pre-colonial culture among swaying palm trees, white sandy beaches and azure waters. Only 49 islands are inhabited and there is no electricity, no traffic, no big hotel complexes and most importantly, no stress. Accommodations are very basic and you likely won’t find anything more fancy than little bamboo bungalows with sand floors.
Since life on the San Blas Islands is simple and happens more slowly, travelers come here to mostly do nothing for a few days. In fact, activities consist of relaxing in hammocks, going for refreshing dips in the ocean and maybe heading out on a sailing or snorkeling trip around the islands. Cooking is often done over open fires and once the meal is ready, you will be called to dinner by one of the Kuna blowing into a big seashell and invited to dine under the stars.
The San Blas Islands are an archipelago about 10 kilometers off the coast of Panama. You can get there from Panama City by taking a flight to Playon Chico, El Provenir, Achutupu or Corazon de Jesus. Alternatively, there is the option of a bumpy three hour ride to the coast in a Jeep followed by the boat ride to your chosen island.