Sunday, May 10, 2015

Welcome to Paradise - Guna Yala (San Blas) Islands

Welcome to Paradise - Guna Yala (San Blas) Islands.

I may be partial to exaggerating every now and then some, but in all seriousness, I have found paradise.

And it can be found in the form of the Guna Yala, or the San Blas, Islands on the South Caribbean coast of Panamá.

I'm a big advocate of superlatives anyway, but all throughout the four days we had the luxury, pleasure and fortune of spending there, I could not stop using them.

The beautiful Kuna Yala Islands in Panama.
The beautiful San Bals Islands in Panamá | Todd's Travels Travel Blog - Amateur Traveller, Professional at Getting Lost.

Your eyes aren't deceiving you, the sea really is that blue, you think someone has quickly added an extra pot of paint to the batch, or someone has photoshopped the colour and is messing around, maybe had a cheeky fiddle with their Instagram filter, but oh no, every single shade of blue you can think of - aquamarine, turquoise, royal blue, baby blue, somehow manages to naturally feature in the sea all around the San Blas islands.

Beautiful beaches and clear blue sea can be found at the Kuna Yala Islands in Panama.
The Kuna Yala Islands in Panama have you feeling like you're a pirate especially when X marks the spot.
Look at these beautiful, unspoilt coves at the San Blas Islands in Panama.

Then there's the beaches and islands - you're practically an extra on Lost, without any of the freaky goings-on.

Or if you prefer, you can act like Captain Jack Sparrow - especially when you take into consideration the amount of rum you may or may not be consuming - on a sidenote, I was 100% responsible mam, just may have slightly overindulged in campfire marshmallows instead (fo' realz).

You're free to fully explore the island, leave no nook or cranny unturned, heck, if there's one nearby, you can even swim to another.

I have been well and truly spoilt.

But the biggest joy of island life is being able to fully take advantage of slowing down, going back to basics, maybe read a book, play a game of cards and cut off all ties with the internet. It's sad, it's a sign of our times and I know it's ironic and hypocritical considering my line of work and the fact that I'm writing this blog right now, but being away from social media and the like for a good 5 days, left me feeling refreshed.

Kuna kids in the Kuna Yala Islands in Panama.
Indigenous hut in the Kuna Yala Islands, Panamá
A Kuna hut in the Kuna Yala Islands, Panamá | Todd's Travels Travel Blog - Amateur traveller, Professional at Getting lost.
Arte Kuna, Islas Guna Yala, Panamá

Let's not forget the fact we were in someone else's stomping ground. The Guna Yala Islands is a semi-autonomous and home to the Kuna, an indigenous tribe. Whilst we very much had an outsider's and slightly superficial perspective, it was fascinating to have an insight into the culture. It did sometimes have me wondering if we were intruding, although many told us they supported the tourism.

We were particularly surprised to find out that it's the la-la-ladies who have the say on who they marry and they were accepting of transgender members of the community - to say the least, it appears the Kuna are more progressive on certain issues than supposed, dare I say it and sound super-duper patronising, 'developed' countries.

Coconuts are also a huge part of their income, so much so that when trade ships come into the region, they can pay with coconut credit, using them as a currency in their own right. So if you innocently chance upon a coconut on one of the islands and want to take a sip out of it - you're going to have to pay for it.

I have a penchant for a good ol' cliché so I'm going to say it, I still pinch myself now when I look over the photos of the San Blas islands. They really don't do the place, the region, the sea, the beaches nor the Kuna culture any justice and you just have to see if with your very own eyes.

I don't like dictating where people should go, but if you really are on the lookout for paradise - the Kuna Yala Islands in Panamá may be exactly what you're looking for.

It definitely was for me.

I went on a 4 day tour with San Blas Adventures. I highly, highly recommend it as it's A: less journey time (read: little to no sea-sick time) B. more island time C. it's a great itinerary. You either leave from Panamá City or Capurganá (Colombia) and it is worth every single dollar (saved up all my hard-earned cash for this trip and I'm so glad I did), check it ouuuut.


  1. These islands sound incredible. And it really is amazing how progressive tribes can be in comparison to the ridiculous "developed" "First" world countries. I'll keep these islands in mind for my little adventure around Latin America.

  2. Ahh seriously Ceri, you should definitely make sure you allocate some time to do because they are just so beautiful, words and pictures simply aren't enough. Where you going in Latin America?