I have just recently discovered the magic world of photography that fascinates me and that I enjoy, but that on the other hand had done me good in realizing how, at times, a picture can capture images that in reality are not exactly as they are represented by the final result.
There are only few places whose real beauty is greater than that seen in photos. But there are.
San Blas, an archipelago of 365 islands belonging to Panama, is one of those. Her beauty far exceeds those of the pictures viewed online and found by chance, so much so that it was the reason I decided to fly from Jamaica to Panama and not to skip this country of which I knew little of.
Panama is in fact one of those countries in Central America from which I did not know what to expect. Or rather to be quite honest, whoever had been there had not told me much, but as you know how things work, when you approach something, and I mean anything, with low expectations the surprise level will rise conspicuously.
Panama was for me a big surprise, thanks also to the beaches and islands of the Caribbean it offer, and a particular Aricipelago, probably the nicest I’ve ever been to: San Blas or Kuna Yala as the locals, the second smallest population of the world (the highest is a meter and a half), call it.
From travel diary in Panama ( February 2011 )
We are in the Caribbean Sea , between Panama and Colombia , sailing between 365 islets , just like the days of the year , and plowing the bluest waters ever. They call them islands , but these small atolls seem more of ” spittings” of white sand with palm trees whose circumference is at the most a few hundred meters.
I do not have a watch , not even a cell-phone and so the time measure of the circumference of a small island I calculated with a cigarette , it took 3 minutes, or so, to return to the starting point and to be able to throw ourselves back into the water among dolphins , lobsters and tropical fish and to be baked by one of the most scorching suns I have ever feared.
The sun burns, the protection 50 carefully spread over my entire body does not block the rapid darkening of my skin, in 48 hours I do not recognize myself anymore and the white bikini enhances even more the now pitch black skin.
The boat sways, and the days pass between snorkeling and fishing, reading books surrounded by a world that I thought existed on the other side of the globe, because that was how I imagined Polynesia. With the only difference that here for a few days of pure relax I did not have to dig deep in my pockets.
I discovered the archipelago of San Blas by chance on the internet, when, undecided if it was worthy or not to stop when flying from Giamaica to Central America. An intuition, which over the years has become the norm in the choice of destinations, made me enter Panama on google images. And scrolling a while, I found photos of this place to me, and I think to many, unknown. “I have to go to there, whatever the cost!” I say.
10 days later I was in Panama City, or rather, at a Panama City supermarket to buy a number of sunscreen creams to this place where it never rains and the sun beats down resolutely.
And there, right in the supermarket where for the first time in my life I bought a cream with protection 50, began my adventure in a corner of the world so pure and amazing, where indigenous traditions are still intact and I, intruder eager not to do anything but to swim, read and sleep, I’m giving myself time to study and understand them, despite the reluctant ways they use with external agents like I believe I am at the moment.
But if swimming in the day and savoring every idle moment where the main activity is spreading the famous cream that never seems enough to me , instead in the evening I like staying outdoors , with the wind picking up always at the same hour . And I have learned to be punctual for the appointment, with this volatile lover.
In the darkness of this place, a place where there is no electricity and when there is, is provided by a generator , I like to fall asleep at the mercy of the wind that, together with the sound of the waves seems to want to remind me that I am in a special place . For all the nights spent in the archipelago the same things have been repeated night after night . Today I believe to have understood the message . And although it is repeating I like to listen to it.
When to go to San Blas
The seasons in Central America can be divided into dry and rainy .
The rainy season runs from May to December and the dry season from January to April .
The archipelago of San Blas enjoys a strategic position, in fact this archipelago even during the rainy season enjoys good weather and little rain , the wind is usually calm.
This season with the calm wind and the peaceful waters with good visibility is a good enough time for a visit , the only problem may be the slightly overcast sky that might compromise the beauty of the color of the waters and beaches.
The dry season , instead, offers blue skies and shining sun , only problem could be the strong wind but with a good skipper , the problem is solved . February is a great month!
San Blas Sailing
There is no better way to visit this splendid archipelago than by sailing boat . The itineraries can cover from 4 to 10 days , the prices depend on the length of duration but also on the class of boat that you prefer .
The cheapest solutions start at € 650 to get to those of first class of the series ” served and revered ,” of which cost is hundreds of Euros a day.
If you are interested to know some travel options of trips to San Blas send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will be happy to organize your stay in the magic archipelago.
I travel independently taking mainly public transport. A world trip began in 2011 is not yet finished, my mission is to explore the world and write about it. Travel consultant Galapagos, Argentina, Morocco, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Namibia.