San Blas Island - Things To Do in San Blas Island - Veneto Panama

The San Blas Islands, often referred to as Panama’s gold, emerald, coral and lapis lazuli necklace, is an archipelago of 365 islands in the Caribbean. The islands are scattered over a belt of 160 kilometers, north of the Isthmus of Panama in the Gulf of San Blas. Host to some of the world’s most picturesque beaches and coral reefs, the most intriguing attraction of the San Blas Islands are its indigenous people – the Kuna Indians.

Much of the San Blas Islands is still untouched by modern civilization, with only 49 of the 365 islands currently inhabited. In some pockets of the islands, life continues with the same traditions and customs from centuries ago. Exploring the deeper ends of the rainforests and experiencing the exotic lifestyle of the locals is an adventure that no other destination in the world can offer.

San Blas Islands – The Beaches

The San Blas Islands are home to some of the finest beaches in Central America and host a variety of exotic marine life. The shallow shores of the islands are also renowned for being one of the world’s largest coral farms. The colorful reef and exotic aquatic life of the Caribbean make it ideal for snorkeling, and the calm waters of the sea are also perfect for swimming and sun bathing. 

Kuna Indians

The Kuna Indians are the earliest inhabitants of Panama and did not migrate to the San Blas group of islands until after Spanish colonization. Despite being a part of the Republic of Panama, the tribe maintains its autonomy on all islands. The tribe is divided into three extended clans and each has a separate political and spiritual leader called the Saila. Additionally, the Kuna have a matriarchal society, with women having a higher stature than men in the family.

Even with the lack of education and a host of superstitious beliefs, the Kuna people have excelled immensely in artistry, wood carving, and textile making. Molas, which are colorful pieces of garment made by the Kuna people using the appliqué technique, are renowned for their texture and color combinations. Despite the great cultural divide, the Kuna Indians are extremely warm and hospitable to outsiders. Both the Kuna administration and the local people are extremely receptive and cordial to visitors.

Reaching San Blas Islands

The major islands of the San Blas Archipelago – El Porvenir, Achutupu, Playon Chico, and Corazon de Jesu – are connected to Panama City by a daily flight service. These flights are the most convenient option to reach the San Blas Islands as most flights from Panama City take less than twenty minutes to reach their destination. For those who are interested in traveling at more leisurely pace, the San Blas Islands can be reached by sea; either on sea-liners connecting Panama and Columbia or with private boats. Travelers also reach the San Blas Islands by road. The San Blas-Kuna Yala roadway has improved significantly over the past few years and is now connected to the main isthmus year around.