L’Eclectik: The San Blas Islands

Create a notification for "Caribbean"

Spending hurricane season in the San Blas has been a pleasant surprise for the whole family.  The archipelago provides a paradise-like backdrop, bordered by coral reefs, white sandy beaches, and the whole bathed by turquoise waters which are home to very rich flora and fauna, protected by the native people, the “Kuna Yala”.  The San Blas story is one of an Amerindian culture spread over 360 islands, of which only around sixty are inhabited.  But it’s also a place where navigating requires particular vigilance, given the numerous coral reefs which do not appear on the charts, whether you’re using CM93 or Navionics.  Fortunately there is a cruising guide, written by Eric Bauhaus, with charts and routes showing access to the anchorages.  During our stay we had the chance to interact with the Kuna population and learn a bit about their culture and their know-how, notably the famous Molas, handmade fabric designs, plaids and also the incredible construction of dugout canoes or pirogues, handcrafted from wood with machetes.  While some parts of the population live self-sufficiently and are somewhat reticent to contact with outsiders, others have a different approach, and welcome you with open arms, offering you lobster or fish, accompanied by succulent coconut rice.  The capital of the archipelago is the island of Porvenir, where the territory’s council, “El Congresso” is found.  Note that even though the war of independence was lost in 1920, the Kunas enjoy a high level of autonomy within the state of Panama, which doesn’t seem to object to this internal management of the area.  So yachtsmen are required to obtain a permit and hand over a tax amounting to $20 for the crew and $40 for the boat.

Who:              Maryline, Jean-Philippe, Chloé, Célia and our new companion, Rocky

Where:                      San Blas, Panama, Caribbean Sea

Boat:              Fountaine Pajot Lavezzi 40


Share this article