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See San Blas Before You Die

San Blas Islands Panama

 

Hop a flight to Panama.

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

Catch a jeep to the coast.

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

Cruise out into the Caribbean.

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

Pass millions of tiny islands

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

decide which to call your own.

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

Step foot on the white powder shore

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

swim in the pristine green sea

 

san blas

 

switch off your cell

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

it won’t work here

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

forget about email, social media, the news

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

simply relax and enjoy life

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

free from digital distraction.

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

Eat freshly caught lobster

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

bathed in butter and coconut

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

wash your dishes with sand in the sea.

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

Gather around a bonfire

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

with the few other island dwellers

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

share stories under a sky littered with stars.

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

Crawl into your hut

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

with sand for a floor

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

sleep deeply

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

away from the sounds of the world.

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

Rise in the morning

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

with nothing to do

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

but throw on a snorkel

 

San blas islands beaches

 

or get lost in a book

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

ever grateful

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

to the native Kuna Yalas

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

who keep San Blas precious

 

San Blas Islands Panama

 

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

 

The islands are small and space is limited. Plan ahead to secure your stay on the island of your choice. Book through Luna’s Castle or Mama Illena in Panama City.

 

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. 

 

Your passport

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.

 

Snacks

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.

 

Beverages

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

 

 

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Comments

  1. On a rainy day in Seattle these pictures are torture! It looks so beautiful!

  2. You seriously need to produce a calendar from these pics!

  3. Wow, not much else to say!

    Forest.
    http://EverydayNomad.com

  4. This looks like the perfect getaway to completely relax! Sign me up!

  5. […] on many deserted patches of isolated sand […]

  6. […] as a five-day sailing excursion, which includes three days in the I’ve Died and Gone to Heaven San Blas Islands, for most backpackers the decision to sail is a no […]

  7. […] Side Trip to San Blas […]

  8. I am going to Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. We have 5 weeks. The trip is very loosely planned other than a 6 day stage race along the pacific coast of Costa Rica. After 230km I will be looking for some R&R. My orignal plan was to head to Bocos del Toro, but these stunning pictures of San Blas are telling me we need to include it in our trip. How easy is it to get to this place from Peurto Veijo? Is it easy to travel along in Panama? :)

    • I figured it out. Flying from San Jose to Panama city, then going to take a jeep to the coast. Thank you so much for all your information. I love your blog, I have been reading it!! Your views on life are fantastic. Yoga, time alone and meditation will do that to you I suppose. :) Happy travels!

      • Camille Willemain Says: January 19, 2014 at 4:31 pm

        Aw thank you Hailey! Glad you figured out how to get to San Blas. It’s definitely in my top five places I’ve been in the world. Pure magic. Good luck and keep me updated on our trip, it sounds amazing!

  9. Your pictures are amazing! Do you think we can use them under your name on our website about San Blas? We already have some nice pictures on our picture page but never enough!

  10. Amazing writeup Camille! Just convinced my friends to go to San Blas instead of Europe almost solely due to this post : )

    Just wondering how can we book Chichaemae like you suggested? Contacted both hostels per your recommendation but no dice : (

    Would appreciate any suggestions! Hope you are enjoying your yoga retreat!

    • Camille Willemain Says: July 22, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Awesome! Thanks Tim you will LOVE it!! Hm, unfortunately I’m not sure of the other ways to book it… In Panama City there will likely be tour desks and it may be easier to handle in person? Sorry I don’t have a better answer :/

      • No worries! Once I find it I’ll post it here for the benefit of your other readers too. Thanks again for the great blog! Hope costa rica is treating you well.

  11. […] “See San Blas before you die” schreibt Camille Willemain, eine junge US-Amerikanerin. Camille hat vor 2,5 Jahren ihr “ordinary American life” über den Haufen geschmissen und bereist seitdem die Welt. Sie sollte es also wissen. […]

  12. i didn’t see the island Chichaemae on luna castle.. how did you find it? and which island(s) are your pictures from?

    • Camille Willemain Says: October 1, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      Hm I’m not sure why it’s not on the website but if you call Luna’s Castle and ask about Chichaemae they can help you book it. The photos are of Dog Island, Chicahemae, and Whysadalup.

      • okay thank you so much! how long would you recommend staying i was thinking 6 days but wasn’t sure if that was too long. And which island is the best for parties and back packers?

        • Just call Luna’s Castle and ask for Kevin. He’ll answer all your questions.

        • Camille Willemain Says: October 4, 2014 at 8:42 am

          I think 6 days is a great amount of time, you can also divide it between different islands. I’m not sure which are the backpacker islands as I wanted to stay on the quieter more remote ones.

  13. […] Side Trip to San Blas […]

  14. […] as a five-day sailing excursion, which includes three days in the I’ve Died and Gone to Heaven San Blas Islands, for most backpackers the decision to sail is a no […]

  15. […] island getaway I’d imagined. You’ve probably heard how amazing the islands are from other blogs, but now it’s time to share the not so perfect experience that might await […]