Discover the San Blas Islands

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The San Blas Islands are among the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean and perhaps even in the world. These tropical pearls are located in the north of Panama. There are more than 357 small islands in a turquoise blue sea with white sandy beaches and waving palm trees. 49 of these islands are inhabited by the Kuna Yala Indian tribes. What makes visiting the San Blas Islands so special is the fact that are taken care by these Indian tribes as a tourist. Many people who go to San Blas eat and sleep with them.

Being on the islands is a wonderful experience where you can swim, but also relax and enjoy the food that mainly consists of fish and seafood. It is a unique archipelago that you cannot find anywhere else on earth. It is one of the few places that is largely untouched by humans. The Kuna Yala Indian tribe have their own rules and laws that are separate from the laws in Panama. For that reason you will find no resorts or five star hotels on the islands. The only thing you will find are some basic wooden huts.

How to get there

Visiting the San Blas Islands is not cheap but it is worth every dollar. Sailing through the San Blas is normally very pricey. There are multiple ways to get there. From Panama City you can be picked up with a jeep to drive to the San Blas. Along the way you normally stop at the supermarket and do your shopping for the coming days. This will help in the budget. El Povenir is the place where most boat trips from Colombia arrive. You have to go through customs here. It is also a good entry. You can also sail from Panama City to the archipelago. Depending on the duration of your sailing trip, you will visit various islands of the San Blas island group. You are usually on the boat for at least a week.

What to do

Isla Perro Beach
This is the most famous beach of the San Blas islands and is known for its white sandy beach and clear water. They call the island Isla Gunboat. That's because most travelers come here to snorkel near a shipwreck around 50 meters off the coast. You can even spend the night here in a tent!

Chichimei beach
The backpackers beach of the San Blas islands. There is no electricity or running water here, but this does not diminish the beauty of the island. It has long white sandy beaches with crystal clear water.

Best time to visit

The San Blas Islands can be visited all year round and it has two distinct seasons. The dry season lasts from December to April, when the days are warm and ideal for enjoying the sun and swimming. The wet season is from May to November, when there is a strong shower almost every day. This is the season that the temperature is ideal for activities such as kayaking, hiking, fishing, snorkeling and more. For more information click here to see climate information from El Porvenir in San Blas.

Where to stay?

We recommend staying on a boat and we found one which can be booked online in advance on booking.com. The sailboat is great and the hosts (Aki and Lorena) are extremely welcoming. You can book it here.

This article was last updated on July 12, 2021.