Today (21/01/2019) volunteers had a “free day” so we visited San Blas Islands — an archipelago of islands in the Caribbean off the northern coast of the Panama isthmus. The entire territory is controlled by the local Guna Yala tribe — such that there’s a border and passport checks (and taxation!) — and as part of ensuring the tribe’s sustainability, international hotel chains are entirely banned, and the islanders maintain a tribal way of life with eco-tourism helping to sustain their incomes.
The journey involved a two hour journey in a SUV out of Panamá City eastwards and down the Pan American Highway before a left turn into the most potholed road ever in Guna Yala territory — before ending up at a rustic port (really, just a car park and landing point) on the Atlantic Ocean / Caribbean Sea where we boarded boats to the islands. Having googled the islands and seeing that they were a good 25 kilometres in the open sea I was thinking hmmm maybe we’d get a yacht. Fat chance. It was, instead, a speedboat with room for around 12, and a bumpy and wet thrilling rollercoaster of a ride in the open sea, passing by some islands inhabited full of villagers, and others looking like islands that children would draw — pristine sandy beaches, palm trees, and the occasional thatched roof beach hut.
#jmj2019 #wyd2019 #sanblasislands #sanblas #sanblaspanama #panama