San Blas Islands: 3 days in Guna Yala Paradise
The San Blas Islands are an archipelago of over 350 islands stretching from El Porvenir, Panama all the way to the border with Colombia. The colorful local Kuna indians have their own autonomous region in Panama called “Guna Yala” (or Kuna Yala), in which the San Blas Islands are located.
Although I heard it’s possible to go on your own to San Blas, there is no public transportation going to the harbor from where boats to San Blas Islands leave. Most people (including myself) book an organized package including transportation, food, and accommodation. I booked my package via El Machico Hostel in Panama City, which seemed to the best deals at the time.
Around 5:30AM a four-wheel drive picked me up at the hostel. After a quick stop at the supermarket (tip: at least bring enough drinking water), we continued our way to San Blas. The drive was around 2.5 hour. About half of the way was on the Pan-American Highway, the other half on a very narrow curvy road crossing the San Blas mountains. Unfortunately we did not make a photo stop as it was raining, but the view in the mountains was spectacular. By the time we reached the harbour the sky cleared and it was all sunny.
Every island / cabanas have their own boat. I stayed at Cabañas Eneida and was amazed by the beauty from the moment I arrived the island. Note: Cabañas Eneida is also known as Eneida Island, which is the same island as Ina’s Island. I suppose there are two main families hosting guests on the island, Eneida and Ina’s.
As I was traveling alone I choose to stay at the dorm, which was located right on the beach.
Not to mention the view from the dorm:
After arrival I decided to walk around the island, which can be done in less than 15 minutes. A slideshow would not do enough justice to the beauty of San Blas Islands, thus I am inserting all photos separately below.
The beach on the other side of the island isn’t as nice as the one that Cabañas Eneida is located on. There is more (dead) coral and thus it is harder to get in to the water. Nevertheless the views are still stunning.
During the boat ride I made friends with the other people that I arrived together with on the island.
Island hopping tour
After lunch we were taken on a tour that was included with the package.
The first stop was called “Piscina Natural“, was a very shallow (almost) sandbar in the middle of the ocean with lots of sea stars.
The next stop was another bounty island where we bought fresh coconuts.
After getting back to the island of Cabañas Eneida we watched the beautiful sunrise.
At night dinner was served: fresh lobster! Could it get ant better?
After dinner our hosts made a campfire, all of us sat around the campfire chatting with each other while loud music was playing on the background (they did have a massive bluetooth speaker!). We came up with the idea of making Coco Locos (fresh coconuts with rum) but unfortunately the very basic minimart on the island already ran out of rum.
The next day I just spent enjoying the beach and snorkeling. I spotted a stingray swimming above the coral reef at the corner of the island! Our hosts got the rum for us from another island today, and that night we were able to make Coco Locos. Before going to sleep I tried to make photo of the clear sky and stars, but it goes without saying that the photo turned out as blurry as my eyesight after a all those Coco Locos.
The last morning I got up early to make a short timelapse of the sunrise:
Decide on which tour company to use for your San Blas tour
I highly recommend going to San Blas Islands and did not regret choosing Cabañas Eneida. Note that the tours from El Machico hostel returns to Panama City in the morning after breakfast. However there are more expensive tours from other companies that go back in the after lunch. I paid $150 + $22 tax for three days / 2 nights in the dorm, I believe every additional night costed $25. The package included the tour and all meals. Drinks are for sale on the island between $1.50 and $2.50.
Check out below one minute video of my San Blas adventure:
Liking my photos of Panama? Be sure to follow me on Instagram and have a look at my print shop for prints of the San Blas Islands on canvas and other materials!
Visited: December 2016
Hi! good post and really helpfull, do you have any contact for the Eneida Cabanas? thx
Hi Tom, I’m afraid I don’t. I think most people that go to San Blas go by tour, but I’d be very interested in hearing your experience if you went by yourself!