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  • Writer's picturekelly rochon

San Blas

Live on a desert island

Who doesn't dream of escaping to a desert island in the middle of the ocean with nothing but the people you love? What could be more beautiful than waking up to the sound of the waves?

What could be better than a freshly caught meal for you?

I'll take you with me to my romantic dream getaway.

Have you ever heard of the Guna Yala Islands? Also called the San Blas, this archipelago of islands in the Caribbean lies between Panama and Colombia. There are around 400 islands surrounded by turquoise water and they are protected by the Kuna people. There are only a few islands that are inhabited and these are in danger due to the sea level which has been constantly rising for the past few years. I have read that some tourists have managed to visit these Kuna-inhabited islands, however, this seems rather rare. Trying to protect their islands as much as possible, the community controls mass tourism in their own way. There are still several islands intended for tourist stays and the number of people is regulated.

Among these people, it is the women who lead, they are the ones who manage everything and the men mainly take care of the fishing. It is also thanks to them that you will eat during your stay. Once you arrive on the island, you will see the wealth that lies at the heart of these people. You may feel unwelcome, but that's only because the Kuna people are undemonstrative, however, they will ensure your well-being throughout your stay.

On some islands, you will find a small restaurant, but on most of the islands, there is nothing at all. This is, without a doubt, what makes these islands a very special destination. Surrounded by turquoise water, protected vegetation, and an inexpressible calm, San Blas is a must-see during your trip to Panama. If you stand in the center of the island, you can admire the sea from all angles.

One of the islands was also used for the filming of Casa de Papel (Money Heist), do you remember the moment when Rio and Tokyo escaped to a desert island? There you go, that's San Blas.

Personally, it was with Visit Panama Tour that I booked this trip. This company belongs to a Quebec couple who have lived in Panama for a few years. During my trip to Panama, it is with Stéphanie that I discuss so that everything is in order for our romantic weekend on these dream islands.

It is also on a Facebook group that I was advised of their service. Now it's my turn to recommend them to you. Not only did Stephanie sell me a tour, but throughout my trip she advised me of places to visit, and restaurants to try, and she answered my questions, even when they were unrelated to the trip. Finally, we even decided to book other tours with her.

Isla Iguana

It's 5 am and we are leaving Panama city, we are going to the port of Carti to take our boat (lancha) to get to our island. The road is quite incredible, if you have motion sickness, I strongly recommend an anti-nausea pill, asking the driver to stop can be a bit embarrassing...The road takes about 3 hours by car, 5 hours in our case since the driver decided to make several stops and about thirty minutes by lancha.

It is on Isla Iguana, one of the many islands where I spend two wonderful nights in a hut with two single beds and a light that runs on solar electricity. Nothing more and we needed nothing more.

Sleeping exactly two steps from the sea, waking up to the sound of the waves, I'm living a dream.

Meals are included, we only need to bring our drinks with and without alcohol 😉. On the island, we eat the catch of the day. Honestly, I'm not a fan of fish, but there, I could eat endlessly. The food is excellent: fried fish, plantain, rice, beans… and I haven't mentioned the freshly caught lobster supper for us yet. Eating fresh food makes a big difference.

Upon our arrival, we are advised that after dinner, we have a visit to other islands. To start our journey, we stop on a small island where we can relax in hammocks and a bowl of fruit is served to us, I could spend the entire day over there. We leave for another destination, I am once again amazed, a natural swimming pool, we have water up to our shoulders and observe the many starfish under our feet. I still can't believe how much this place is beautiful.

Finally, we spend the rest of the time on our little island, snorkeling, playing volleyball, and relaxing, we have the choice to do what we please, but sincerely, I can't stop contemplating the view I have. After dark people dance around a fire with music and a drink in hand. Panamanian families come here to camp during their holidays, it is their exodus. What's better than camping in the middle of the ocean?


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