A group of 378 islands just 20 minutes by plane from Panama City, the San Blas Archipelago is home to the Kuna Indians and represent one of the most unique and beautiful regions for travel in Panama today. Famous for their beauty, culture and legends, they have avoided traditional tourism and represent a unique opportunity to enjoy the past in the present. Though few facilities exist, they are ideal for those who enjoy the wilderness with only some conveniences. Located just east of the Panama Canal, the islands are along the Caribbean coast and are not only beautiful but known for their fairly stable weather year round as well. Learn more about this rustic and beautiful destination for travel with Island Trader Vacations reviews.
Long before the arrival of Europeans, the Kuna Indians, the islands long time inhabitants arrived to the region. A proud and fiercely independent nation of people found on 49 of the the around 370 islands, this residents continue to operate their own economic system and remain relatively uninfluenced by the outside world still dressing the same, fishing and harvesting local products, preparing crafts and foods which are distinctly Kuna and continuing to pass on legends of their ancestors.
While visitors to these islands should not expect to find many star accommodations or chauffeured limousines, what they should expect is an experience like no other. White sand beaches, waving palm trees and a peace and tranquility rarely experienced in the modern world. Accommodations on the islands range from hotels and motels on the larger islands to hostels and more traditional lodge accommodations as well as real estate.
Fairly new to tourism, it wasn’t until the 1940’s that tourists or even scientists were allowed on the islands. Despite this access, the island remains strong and holds tight to controls and it is important that tourists understand these rules including not visiting some islands and not taking any local produce off the island including coconuts which can result in high fines. While you can visit any uninhabited island, there are certain inhabited islands which are off limits to tourists, check with a local authority in the region before visiting.
Most famous for its traditional arts and crafts, Kuna women still produce many impressive rainbow colored fabrics which you will see all Kuna’s wearing today.
Aside from the art, sports and local food are also reasons to explore this region. As the native Kuna continue to cook in a traditional way, visitors should take time to enjoy the flavors of the islands including fresh red snapper, lobsters and crabs and some Coco Loco.
Scuba diving is not allowed in this area however, snorkeling is and it is one of the most popular activities here thanks to abundant fish and an unspoiled environment. Sustainability is key in these islands, respect the culture and their desire to keep in as beautiful in 100 years as it is today.
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