Journey to the Enchanting San Blas Islands of Panama

Angelo Martinez

By Angelo Martinez

The San Blas Islands, a pristine archipelago along Panama’s Caribbean coast, offer a unique and authentic experience. Located in the north coast of Panama, the islands are east of the panama canal. There are about 378 islands scattered over 100 square miles, each boasting unspoiled beauty and rich indigenous culture.

Map of Panama's provinces with Kuna Yala highlighted.

Why San Blas?

Regarded by many as a top vacation spot in Panama and Central America, San Blas stands out for its untouched nature and traditional Kuna culture. The Kuna people, who govern the islands, have preserved their lands from mass tourism, ensuring the islands remain pristine and beautiful.

Island in sanblas

How to Get There:

By 4x4 Jeep and Water Taxi:

Embark on a unique journey from Panama City to the San Blas Islands by 4x4 jeep and water taxi. This route takes you across a portion of the Pan American Highway, followed by an exciting drive through the jungle to Golfo de San Blas. Here, local Kuna-operated water taxis will ferry you to the major islands of San Blas. This authentic travel experience encapsulates the adventure and culture of the region and typically takes about a day.

native boat in san blas

By Boat:

For a more adventurous approach, consider chartering a sailboat to traverse the Caribbean Sea. This method is not just a mode of transport but an integral part of the San Blas experience. Boating allows you the freedom to hop from one island to another, offering a fun and immersive way to explore the archipelago’s beauty at your own pace.

By Plane:

Alternatively, you can fly from Panama City to various islands in San Blas, such as El Porvenir, Playon Chico, Achutupu, Ogobsucum or Corazon de Jesus. These islands have small airstrips suitable for small aircraft, and booking in advance is advised due to the limited number of seats available. Upon arrival, you’ll need to use a water taxi or boat for further exploration of the islands.

Distance and Travel Time:

The distance from Panama City to San Blas is about 150 miles. By 4x4 jeep-taxi, the journey takes up to four hours, and by flight, approximately one hour.

Visiting the San Blas Islands is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty and vibrant culture of Panama and the Kuna People. Whether by land, sea, or air, the journey to San Blas is an adventure in itself, offering visitors a glimpse into a world that is both enchanting and culturally rich.