TheSan BlasIslandslie along the Caribbean coast of Panama. The whole archipelago comprising around 370 islands. It’s like having more than one island for each day of a year
People live only on 49 of the San Blas islands. The tropical pieces of land are home Indians from the Kuna Yala tribe. The indigenous used to wear few clothes and decorate their bodies with colorful designs. They are official citizens of Panama, but they claim their own Kuna Yala identity and believe that their god came and died just for the Kuna Yala people.
The San Blas Islands is one the most incredible place I have ever seen and heard of. We sailed there with a few other backpackers on a small catamaran, starting in Porto Bello, Panama. Before I went there, whenever I have seen pictures of places like this I was thinking: ‘it cannot be real…Places like this doesn’t exist. It must be photoshop!’ But it’s truth- barely inhabited paradise islands exist! Turquoise water, sunshine all over the year, palm trees, pristine beaches with perfectly white sand, dolphins, starfishes, hummingbirds and colorful butterflies… The view is so perfect that it seems fake…
On San Blas there is sweet nothing. No hotels, no shops, no Coca Cola being sold. The only thing you can buy is a craft from local people, some fresh sea food, coconut milk or…accses to a private toilet. Most of the islands are just sand and tropical trees. I hope that it will stay so unspoiled and not turisty as long as it possible.
The most inhabited parts count few families sharing one small island. I had one of the most interesting conversation in my life with one Kuba Yala who was selling lobsters. I asked him in Spanish , what he would do if he had 100$. He seemed kind of offended because of my question and said -‘ I have 300$ saved!’ He told me that he saved the money to move to another island in the future with his family, because he cannot stand anymore people from his island.
Apparently they are gossiping about his tendency to alcohol. He also mentioned that now he has a huge pile of coconuts next to his house and suddenly everybody wants to borrow his coconuts. But when he had less coconuts nobody gave him any!
I understood 2 important things on San Blas islands:
1. People all over the world has exactly the same problems. No matter if it’s New York, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro or 10-people island – gossips and jealousy exists everywhere.
2. Even a ‘paradise’ can become boring after few days..
It was the most wonderful place I ever seen. I am not sure if after four years it stayed the same. I hope so!
Berliner, originally from Cracow. Nature lover, tea and travel passionate. Writer, photographer, painter and aspiring philosopher. Most of the pictures and texts on OMJ are made by me, so I'm happy if you enjoy them!