The San Blas islands are a group of islands in the archipelago de San Blas, located in the Northwest of Panama facing the Caribbean Sea. There are 378 islands within the archipelago and they are scattered around in an area of about 100 square miles. If you leave the Golfo de San Blas by boat you will enter the Caribbean Sea. The majority of the 378 islands have no inhabitants, but on the larger ones you will find the gentle native people known as the Kuna’s. These people can be found on the larger inhabited Islands; Aguja Island, Guanidup Island, Chichimei, Yandup Island and El Porvenir. You may ask yourself What is san blas? San Blas is an autonomous territory in Panama formally called Kuna Yala.
What can you find in San Blas?
The San Blas Islands are the number #1 vacation destination in Panama and probably in Central America. This is because the Islands are not yet discovered by the massive tourism industry and fully in control of the native Kuna’s. The Kuna’s protect their lands against massive tourism and keep them healthy and beautiful. This makes the San Blas Islands of Panama unique if you are searching for untouched nature and culture. You will sleep in eco-friendly accommodations made by the Guna’s Indians from natural materials which they found on the Islands and in the jungle.
Where is San Blas Panama? The San Blas Islands are located in the North-East of Panama facing the Caribbean Sea
The most common way to get around in the San Blas archipelago is by sailing from island to island, but you can also book flights from Panama City to the airports located on El Porvenir, Playon Chico, Achutupu, Ogobsucum or Corazon de Jesus in San Blas. Driving to Guna Yala (San Blas) is also possible, you will have to take a 4×4 jeep from Panama City to Carti.
“Imagine a turquoise archipelago with one island for every day of the year. With white sand and waving palms, these Caribbean islands cheat no one’s version of Paradise. San Blas is Home to the Kuna, an autonomous indigenous group who run San Blas with minimal interference from the national government.”
Travel Agency in San Blas
Travelling on your own to San Blas is probably the most common way to get around for travellers. It is easy to find overnight stay in rooms, cabins, tents (camping), hammocks or book various tours and day-trips on different Islands such as Porvenir, Franklin, Nadi, Kikirdub, Asuelo and more. Local operators offer their services in English & Spanish and of course in the Guna language.
The native inhabitants are called the Guna
The native people living on the Islands of San Blas call themselves Kuna’s or Guna’s. The district/region in Panama where you can meet the native inhabitants is officially named after them; Guna Yala or Kuna Yala. The Kuna’s are community of proud people that have their own laws, norms and values that go with their culture, which is by the way totally different than the traditional Panamanian culture. Since the last headcount of all the Kuna Indians an estimated 300.000 live in Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia, only 50.000 live on the San Blas Islands. When you visit the San Blas Islands don’t forget to try some of the traditional Kuna food.
How many San Blas Islands are there? There are 378 islands in the San Blas archipelago, of which 49 inhabited by the native Kuna Indians. The total San Blas area is approximately 100 square miles.