See San Blas Before You Die
Hop a flight to Panama.
Catch a jeep to the coast.
Cruise out into the Caribbean.
Pass millions of tiny islands
decide which to call your own.
Step foot on the white powder shore
swim in the pristine green sea
switch off your cell
it won’t work here
forget about email, social media, the news
simply relax and enjoy life
free from digital distraction.
Eat freshly caught lobster
bathed in butter and coconut
wash your dishes with sand in the sea.
Gather around a bonfire
with the few other island dwellers
share stories under a sky littered with stars.
Crawl into your hut
with sand for a floor
away from the sounds of the world.
Rise in the morning
with nothing to do
but throw on a snorkel
or get lost in a book
to the native Kuna Yalas
who keep San Blas precious
who keep San Blas pure.
How to Arrive
Air Panama flights leave daily from Panama City and cost $45-60 each way. From the airport you take a panga to the island where you plan to stay.
Jeeps leave Panama City every morning, cost $60 round trip, and take 2.5 hours to reach the coast. From there you take a 1-2 hour panga, $20-30 round trip, to the island of your choice.
How to Book
Where to Stay
My favorite island in San Blas is Chichaemae. It is tiny, gorgeous, and everything San Blas represents. Accomodations are very modest and inexpensive, development is nonexistent. Other islands range from backpacker party havens to pricey couples getaways to completely desolate.
Read more about the different islands here.
What to Bring
A few changes of comfortable clothes and bathing suits
Washing laundry is not an option so bring enough to feel comfortable, but pack light.
You will be required to show your passport when entering the islands.
All natural shampoo, conditioner, and soap
Most of the islands do not have showers. If you’d still like to wash with soap bring all natural products so that you can bathe in the ocean without having an environmental impact.
Meals are included but tend to be very simple: fish, coconut rice, and salad. If you’d like to add flavor bring your own hot sauce or other condiments. There is no food for purchase on the island, so if you are a big eater or a picky eater bring your own snacks. Crackers, peanut butter, bread, granola bars, anything that does not require refrigeration, which is not available on the islands.
You may purchase bottled water on the island, but it is expensive and some of it tastes like dirt. Coconut water, beer, and rum are also available, but expensive as well.
The Cost Breakdown
$60-120 for transportation to the islands (jeep vs flight)
$20-30 for boat transport to your island, round trip
$13 for entrance fees and taxes
$25-45/day includes accommodation and food
$0-20 per day on drinks and alcohol
Cost to Arrive: $93-$163 round trip
Cost to Stay: $25-65 per day