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San Blas Holidays

San Blas holidays

The San Blas archipelago is an unspoiled paradise consisting of nearly 400 beautiful, palm-fringed islands, of which only 51 are inhabited. Extending 200 miles along the Caribbean coast, from Colón Province to the Colombian border, it has a population of approximately 50,000 Kuna Indians.

The Kuna - a fiercely independent, indigenous community - has resisted change to its culture ever since the Spanish invasion over 500 years ago. Today this is an autonomous province with its own laws, language, customs and culture, governed by the Kuna General Congress. Each of the 49 communities is led by a political and spiritual leader who, with his counsellors, makes political decisions and manages social affairs. The Kuna women take great pride in their appearance, decorating themselves with gold nose rings and bands of beads on their arms and legs and wearing colourful, individually-designed blouses called Molas.

San Blas, Panama

Holidays In San Blas

Today, the Kuna still live and work in much the same way as they did in pre-Columbian times, relying heavily on plantains, coconuts and fish both for their diet and main source of income.  Naturally tourism, albeit very controlled, is starting to play an increasingly significant role, giving visitors a fascinating and unique cultural experience.  Daily excursions include snorkelling, visits to local communities, river trips, jungle walks, etc. Note that scuba diving is prohibited and that you will be charged for taking photographs of the Kuna Indians ($1 per photograph).
Accommodation in San Blas is basic yet comfortable. The lodges are generally small - a handful of wooden, thatched cabins each simply furnished with bed, bathroom and porch with hammock. Electricity is available for a few hours each evening although gas lamps and torches are also provided. Cabins are cooled by sea breezes. Meals are served at set times of the day signalled by the sound of a conch shell. Fresh fish is the main ingredient and there is no choice – just a set meal. The region is reached by early morning daily flight from Panama City. The flight takes about 50-70 minutes (depending on the number of islands on which the plane touches down en route).

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