Travelers through Central and South America commonly cross this continental boarder one of two ways, they either fly, OR they go by boat via the paradisaical San Blas islands. Departing from Panama City and finishing in Cartagena Colombia and vise versa, this sail boat or catamaran trip (depending on the day) is one of the most popular ways to traverse this path. The San Blas Islands are beautiful and worth every penny of this 5-6 day all inclusive journey. I took my trip for $550 USD from Cartagena, Colombia to Panama City.
Waiting to board our little dingy boat to take us to our sail boat in the Cartagena harbour. After we met out Captain and chef we waited for a police check (which took a long time) and then shuttled 20 people over in groups of 4, needless to say,w e all made it on the boat by darkness.
We spent the next 48 hours sailing through the ocean in open water. This I found quite cool as we never even saw a single thing outside of dolphins for 48 hours. We slept, we ate, we played cards, sun tanned, and drank, Many people get sea sick during this phase, lucky for us this was the light winds season, but we still filled up on sea sick pills and ibuprofen just in case.
I mean, we spent a lot of the day sleeping, but it was ok, we had music atleast.
Then early in the morning on the 3rd day we finally arrived at the San Blas Islands themselves, I woke up to our anchor dropping into the sea.
More than 300 white sand islands on one of the largest reefs in the world, some islands have all but one palm tree in them, the others have single family dwellings of the Kuna Tribe. Unfortunately because this has become such a tourist destination, a lot of litter is left on the islands and so we spent one morning helping out the family living on the island.
That afternoon we headed to another group of islands just down the way from where we were before. We spent the day swimming, playing games on the beach, drinking, and still working on that tan.
That night we partied on the beach with another tour group who was spending a night on the island in hammocks. We also learnt that the waters here had bio luminescent plankton in it and if you move your hand in the water they light up and make the dark water sparkle. We spent a while here swimming in the sparkling water with the accompaniment of a group of eagle rays.
We also did a little bit of shopping with the Kuna people on the island, buying bracelets and handicrafts.
We moved the next day to a new group of islands a short distance away from where we stayed the night before and had another day of sun, swim, drink, and snorkeling (even saw a shark!)
That night we went and visited a new Kuna family who were so excited to have us on their island that they made us drinks and a fire and they even had dinner with us that night.
The next morning we ate some breakfast, packed our things, and swam over to the island which Panama used as their boarder. We hungout on the island until our captain brought us into the office where our passports were stamped and we were officially ready for the Panamanian mainland. After lunch we boarded a smaller boat and were on our way to Panama city via 4×4.