Paradise is such a broad term. It can be found almost anywhere. It might be a cocktail at sunset, ice cream on a hot day or even a quiet park in the heart of a bustling city. It’s all relative.

When I think of a beach side paradise, I see white sand, crystal clear water and a coconut tree covered island. And, that is exactly what we found when we dropped the anchor in San Blas. This Panamanian archipelago is a sailors bliss.

Spectacular place isn’t it! When I was editing this video I kept thinking to myself “Now that’s the cruising life I signed up for!” Sunsets, Snorkeling, Swimsuits and Sailing…LIFE IS GOOD!

san blas sunset, panama

exploring san blas islands

cruising san blas panama

sailing and exploring san blas

Snorkeling in San Blas

The water is crystal clear from above but it isn’t Bahamas clear once you’re in. It’s still fantastic, I just don’t want to set your expectations too high. We’ve read the Guna Yala people don’t allow SCUBA diving. So, we stuck to snorkeling. Which is no biggie because most of the reefs are shallow enough to free-dive.

Nikki free diving san blas islands

The underwater life wasn’t as spectacular as I’d read online. We snorkeled 5 different spots within 10 miles of our anchorage. Some of the coral was healthy while other large chunks were dying. We didn’t see any large schools of fish and only spotted a handful of lobsters (most were tiny little guys). I’ve no business speculating why. But, considering how far this archipelago is from the mainland, I expected it to be exploding with vibrant sea life.

tiny fish hiding in coral

exploring san blas underwater

jason inspecting the coral in san blas

Shopping From Our Sugar Scoops

Seriously, this might be our favorite part of the San Blas islands. These veggie guys come twice per week.  They even take requests! You need some milk, eggs or cheese? All you have to do is message them on WhatsApp (everybody in Panama has this app) and let them know. They’ll deliver it all, to your sugar scoops. What was even better, the prices were excellent! Veggie prices were on par with the grocery stores we visited in Portobelo.

shopping in san blas

We had visitors of all kinds paddling or sailing up in their dug out canoes offering goods and services. “Come to my island, I have Coca-Cola and Ice” or “Spend the day on my beach, for $5 you can lie in the sun, play volleyball and swim.”

guna yala people san blas

sailing san blas islands

sailing san blas islands

The Guna Yala people don’t allow visitors to spear or fish without a special permit. The best way to get fresh seafood is to buy it off one of the many locals peddling their catch du jour.

We also had three women visit selling their molas. A mola is native artwork handmade from cloth and thread. It’s an artform that’s as old as the Guna’s themselves. We didn’t buy any since our space aboard Curiosity is sparse for souvenirs and art work. But, it was an experience to see them and speak with the artists that paddled up to our boat. The Guna prefer not to have their photographs taken. You’ll have to google mola if you want to see this intricate art.

Why leave paradise after a week?

Like I said in the video, it’s hard to leave after one short week. But as a full-time traveler, we’re on a mission to sail about the world. Our next goal is to transit the Panama Canal and we have a boatload of research and paperwork to fill out.
Plus, if I am completely honest, creating and sharing our adventures is a full time job. We need access to internet which is often non-existent in the remote paradises of the world. That means we move on from some destinations sooner than we’d like.
In the end we only touched the tip of the San Blas archipelago. There are more than 365 islands and cays scattered over 100 square miles of ocean. My guess is we saw less than 30 and didn’t even get to set foot on one! Feels shameful.
If you’re planning a visit the Caribbean side of Panama, I can without a doubt say: A week in the sailors bliss of San Blas is not enough, not even close.
cruising life in san blas panama
sailing and exploring san blas
sunset in san blas panama

Thanks A Million!

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Sailing Report

To see our full map with interactive pins, click here: gonewiththewynns.com/mapsailing san blas map

  • Dates: 10/25 – 11/1/2017
  • Anchorage:  Yansaladup.  You can find it on Active Captain near the Lemon Cays and just east of Cayos Chichime.
  • Check Out The Panama Cruising Guide (Eric Bauhaus): http://amzn.to/2rvOIdT
  • Cell & WiFi:  Until recent years there was zero cell reception in San Blas.  We found a 3g signal near Isla Porvenir while our anchorage (5+ miles away) had very intermittent reception.  A Cell Booster is a must here if you want a chance at catching a few bars, but there’s no connection guarantees in paradise.

Gear Used In This Video

Freedive / Snorkel Gear

Underwater Cameras

Nikki

Jason

Sailing Specific Gear

Cameras Used to Capture This Video

Full Review Of All Our Camera Gear: gonewiththewynns.com/camera-gear-review-2017

Drone