Why Visit the San Blas Islands?

Are you looking for somewhere new to explore that’s off the beaten path? Why not the San Blas Islands off the Panama Canal? This archipelago is made up of over 350 separate islands, although only about 50 are actually inhabited. The San Blas Islands are found nearby the Canal and they’re inhabited by the indigenous Kuna people, who are very welcoming to visitors of their ancestral home and make their living by selling their items to tourists.

The area has a rich history and plenty to see and do. Here are some of the best reasons to plan your next vacation for the San Blas Islands of Panama.

1. Meet the Friendly Kuna People

Kuna people of Panama

by kucinski on Flickr

While the Kuna people are rather timid and shy, they are also extremely welcoming of visitors. They’ve maintained governance of the islands since the 1920s and have their own unique language, customs and culture with truly interesting dance, legends and clothing. The men on the islands, for example, still fish from their canoes as they have for generations. Their language, Tulekaya, is also interesting as they don’t have a written form or alphabet. All words are written phonetically. The San Blas Islands offer a unique chance to explore a culture that’s hardly touched by Western customs, even in terms of diet. Stop by some of their villages to observe their festivals and daily life.

2. A Diver’s Paradise

The San Blas Islands are truly a paradise for anyone who enjoys diving and connecting with nature. The ocean surrounding the islands is home to an incredibly diverse collection of mammals and fish, as well as a stunning expanse of coral. Other than the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, this is one of the best places on earth to witness pristine, untouched coral habitats. If you’re thinking about diving in the San Blas Islands, be aware that equipment is not allowed. The best diving spots here are Coco Blanco, Pelicanos and the Achutupu Islands. Be prepared to witness huge walls of marine life and a multitude of color.

3. The Area is Very Safe for Tourists

Unlike many island countries or areas in Central America, the San Blas Islands are a safe retreat for tourists from around the world. There is drug trafficking in the area, although there are actually very, very few incidents that occur. There is very little violence or crime on the islands, which have become a safe haven for International sports fisherman and yachts. There are many safe ways to travel to the islands as well. You can take a flight from Panama City to El Porvenir or charter a helicopter in Panama City to take you directly to either El Porvenir or Corazon de Jesus. Many people also choose to charter a boat trip from Colombia.

4. The Incredible Beauty!

The San Blas Islands are truly incredible to behold. They were formed from an accumulation of coral so they’re a popular snorkeling destination to see the underwater beauty just below the surface. The islands are also covered with tall palm trees and white sand beaches, which are set against the deep turquoise waters of the ocean. After you’ve spent a few minutes taking in the sun on the beach, you may never want to leave!

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