Keep reading, because of the stunning destination we want to show you is so much more than just a relaxing holiday location. It’s a temple of life, blooming in the stunning colours of the forests, corals and gentle flowers taking shelter there. It’s a sanctuary for culture, tribe lands, and everlasting tradition. It is 378 pieces of paradise scattered in the Caribbean. It’s the San Blas Islands of Panama, and this is the ultimate guide to discover not only their beauty but also their soul.
The San Blas Islands of Panama
First of all, let’s talk about where this beautiful archipelago is situated and the benefits that its unique location offers. The San Blas Islands have an interesting position, being located both off the country of Panama and Columbia. The archipelago that consists of 378 islands, more than 300 of which uninhabited, is facing the Caribbean Sea. Because of this protective geographical position both Panama and the Islands don’t suffer massive hurricanes and storms. This makes the yacht charter and holiday visits possible all year-round, with the main seasons being:
- December to April –This is the trade winds season. And great news for every sailor, because this period is perfect for sailing, because of the regular winds and little to no.
- May to November – In this season there is a bit of wind and rare showers. However, it’s the dream period for snorkeling and scuba diving. In this period the underwater world of the island shows its true beauty and flourishes in front of your eyes thanks to the high visibility under the clear water.
The Guna Yala People
However, it’s not just the breathtaking nature that makes this place unique, it’s the people. The protected land, the community, the heritage, and culture kept alive to this day by the Guna People. Short for Guna Yala, this indigenous tribe is scattered most densely around the San Blas Islands. However, they also live in Panama and Columbia. San Blas is an autonomous territory that even carried the name of the tribe in the past.
The Guna People are not just inhabitants or a suppressed community. They are the ones that run the islands. They are the people who have fiercely protected the land, the unique culture, the stunning nature and their independence from the destruction that mass tourism can bring. That means no big hotels, no chain restaurants or fast food, no foreign-owned establishments and money-making, environment-destructive machines. The way to find a cell phone signal is by hopping up on a dinghy. The way to enjoy life is just to be. On a wild island, among happy people, with no worries, under the sun with a straw hat. However, you decide which way you want to go to.
If no electricity and small roads are not for you, there are also islands like Tupile that can offer most of the everyday life commodities we are used to. On this more developed island, you can see a small school by the dock, a Mormon church, hard-working women hard, wearing eye-catching traditional mola fabrics and washing lines, filled with bright clothing. These lines stretch from one end of the island to the other, which is actually just a 5-minute walk.
The Heavenly Nature of San Blas
We can’t talk about these beautiful islands without discussing one of their most significant treasures – the stunning nature. If you love travelling and sailing you have probably visited many golden sanded beaches, however, we believe the beaches of San Blas will still be able to amaze you. The crystal clear water takes the colour of the bright blue skies, while the white sand is soft, almost as if you are walking on clouds. Dozens of starfish cover the bottom of the sea, and when you have the Guna people fishing with a line around you, as they have for hundreds of years, you feel as if you are in another, more pure and beautiful world.
Furthermore, where the white sand strip ends a beautiful jungle forest begins, the front lines filled with coconut palms and colourful flowers. A true paradise on earth we just can’t describe in words. This is one of these places you just have to see to understand.
Sailing the San Blas Paradise Islands
There are other ways to reach this place, such as renting a car or flying there. However, these methods of transportation will take so much away from the experience. The perfect way to explore the numerous islands is to sail. Rent a sailboat or enjoy the comfort of a catamaran and experience the pure bliss of sailing from island to island, making stops at places that make your heart flutter. With Tubber, the options range from adventure sailing to a luxurious retreat. It all depends on the boat you decide fits your needs. Furthermore, yacht charter offers you the perfect solution in case you are someone that wants to experience nature while still being comfortable and enjoy a bit of luxury.
When it comes to food and drinks, we have a piece of handy advice we want to share with you. No matter if you’re doing a budget stay on an island or you plan to sail there and enjoy the night on the deck of your yacht, the most important thing is to take your own water. It’s essential to stay hydrated when exploring such wild places and experts recommend one gallon per person per day. Of course, you can buy water on some islands; however it costs $5 for a small bottle, and that is just not enough. Therefore, we advise you to bring your own water and drinks. You should definitely bring snacks if you are going on a day visit. However, if you are planning a week of blissful sailing, you should prepare with more food. Seafood and rice aren’t always that filling and as we already said restaurants are rare on these islands.
We also have a complete packing list that will tell you all you need to know about the necessities on a sailing holiday. However, these are some things we can especially add for a trip to San Blas.
- Sarong for the beach
- A light sheet if you are at a place with only hammocks
- Mosquito spray
- Adventurous spirit
- Open mind
- Relaxed attitude and determination to disconnect with the world and connect with nature
We wish we could truly describe the beauty of the San Blas Islands of Panama. We wish we could portray the feeling of being there. However, we can only try and hope to succeed with a grain of doubt that is possible, because such a place has to be seen, touched, felt. That is the only way to discover its magical atmosphere and life-changing powers.
Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook Page if we succeeded to inspire you and show you how amazing these islands are. And remember, the Tubber Experts are always here to assist you and help you find the best sailing destinations and yacht charter service for you!