The Island El Porvenir offers one of the main ports in the San Blas. It is often referred as the capital of autonomous region Kuna Yala of Panama. The island has multiple luxurious facilities such as a hotel, Panamanian customs and airfield with direct flights to Panama City. For most people travelling to San Blas the island El Porvenir is their first stop because of its central position and its connections with the rest of the region. The island is located on the west side of San Blas not far from mainland Panama and the islands Ukuptupu, Wichubwala, Sindup, Nalunega and the Cayos Los Grullos.
Did you know the Kuna name of El Porvenir is Gaigorguidup
Entering Panama via El Porvenir island
When you enter Panama via the Caribbean Sea or Colombian Territorial waters you need a visa (except nationals of course). This is probably the main reason why people visit El Porvenir since you can find the naval customs service on the island. So if you want to explore San Blas legally you will have to buy a special visa allowing you to sail in the Panamanian waters (also San Blas). You can buy the visa at the Panamanian customs on El Porvenir for around $100 per person per boat. This can be done between 09:00-18:00 every day of the week except on Sunday. If you arrive after 18:00 you can stay the night around El Porvenir without any problems but the first thing you should do in the morning is set sail to claim your visa. Else you’re trespassing the country and that can result in high fines or even jail time. The Panamanian government is monitoring the ships that enter the San Blas waters day and night, so don’t think you can get away with not buying a visa to save money.
Beautiful El Provenir
While El Provenir isn’t the most beautiful island of San Blas is does offer some special facilities exclusive to it such as electricity and running water, these luxuries aren’t available on many other islands. There are multiple beaches to be found around the island but most people just trespass the island to get their visa. You can however stay in hotel El Porvenir and use this as your base to explore San Blas from. Since all the water taxis (lanchas) are passing by it is easy to hop from island to island from El Porvenir. Hotel El Porvenir offers basic facilities such as proper beds and shelter against the elements of Mother Nature. But we can recommend the Catamaran Adventures or Lyckaribe boat that depart from El Porvenir. They are much more fun and a great way to explore San Blas!
Kuna culture around El Porvenir
El Porvenir is located in the heart of San Blas and is used frequently by the local Kuna natives as dock for their journeys. There are multiple small docks on the mainland nearby such as Carti (best place to enter San Blas by land) and other small ones connecting mainland villages to the islands. You can reach local Kuna communities within 30 minutes from El Porvenir. So if you’re going to experience and discover the cultural legacy of the Kuna’s El Porvenir is the perfect spot to start. When you enjoy snorkeling or beaching we can recommend you Dog Island, which is about one hour by boat from El Porvenir.
Getting to El Porvenir
You can travel to El Porvenir in Panama by boat or plane. By boat is by far the most common option with multiple water taxis passing by each day at random hours. But you’ll also find many sailboats anchoring before the shore to get their visa. Nevertheless, the fastest way to get to San Blas from Panama City is via a direct flight to El Povenir Airport. On the island you will find a large airstrip that is suitable for small planes such as Cessna’s to land on. Within an hour can travel from Panama City to El Porvenir. All in all it’s a great place to start your journey through Kuna Yala! Find out more on how to get to San Blas here.