Caledonia and San Blas Islands

The archipelago of San Blas in Panama, also called archipelago of Mulatas, is a set of 365 small islands, out of which only 80 are inhabited. This is the territory of the Indians Guna Yala, as well as the whole coast opposite the islands. Those people are fishermen and hunters, they tend to live in harmony with nature in a healthy way (there are exceptions). Also they are generally educated as they have schools. All the men can speak Spanish. Women are more protective of their traditions (weaving, crafts with pearls…). They believe in one God called Ibe Orgun.

The archipelago became one of the most exuberant destinations for tourists in Panama, especially because of its superb white beaches, its crystalline waters rich in biodiversity, and the Indian Guna people living there. Without anything like it around, those islands are so much more beautiful than San Andres, Providencia, the islands of San Bernardo (next to Rincon del Mar) and the islands of Rosaire next to Cartagena. Because access is still complex and comfort is not a priority, this destination remains “off the beaten track…”. Even if there are more and more people visiting them every year, especially international tourists.

From Colombia, there are 2 ways to get to the San Blas: – return trip from Capurgana, going only to the first islands; especially Caledonia, which is the 1st island about 1h30 away by boat from Puerto Obaldia, where you will have to stop anyway to fill in immigration paperwork. Compulsory, 30min away from Capurgana! You can choose to spend only 1 night in Caledonia, but considering the paperwork you had to fill in, the cost of travelling by boat, and the time spent…we advise you to spend 2 nights there. It is well worth it anyway! – go from Capurgana to Carti, then Panama City via the islands. It can be done in 4 days and 3 nights on the islands. It is a lot of time spent on boats (8/9hr in total and it can be really agitated in dry season between December and April; + 4hrs of uncomfortable 4WD from Carti to Panama City). But it allows you to enjoy the whole archipelago, and fly back to your country directly from Panama City, without having to come back to Medellin. Most of the time flights are cheaper from Panama City than from Medellin…, so it is the best option for those who don’t mind taking off from a different city than the one where they landed.

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