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a sailors paradise

A Sailors Bliss in San Blas

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!

Thank you for tuning in!  We’re able to share these adventures because of viewers like you. If you like what you see, check out our Say Thanks page to learn about different ways you can help keep the videos and posts flowing. You’ll notice most ways don’t cost you a penny but make a big difference to us…and for that, we thank you!

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

Famous for my "how-not-to" videos, and typically the man behind the camera, sometimes I’m forced to be here in the “spotlight”. When you see my face you’re probably reading something more technical than adventurous, but either way I do my best to tell it like it is and infuse my opinions into the commentary…after all this is a blog and not MSN.

Comments (44)

  • cindy

    Hello my loves
    I miss you guys so much. Looks like places are just getting prettier!!! I know we will catch up at some point, hopefully this year…In the meantime-be safe Love you both

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  • We are getting ready to jump in to the sailboat life and have learned so much already just watching you two ( and you tube in general )….from a women’s perspective , I have enjoyed watching how you are so “put together ” all the time and wonder how she pulls that off ??? I am assuming I will be a hot sweaty mess with naturally curly hair becoming more curly —-so the big question is …..could you do a video and highlight some of your expert tips and tricks on managing the day in day out life of a women live aboard -hair tips ,make up ,laundry ,cooking ,cleaning tips…..we are all wondering how you keep it all so seemingly easy but k ow there are many things going on behind the scenes to make yourself and your boat look beautiful ……

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  • Have been following your adventures since you started in rv & transitioned to a catamaran. Love following you, watching the videos and meeting your guest crew. Only one negative comment here.
    Having visited the San Blass Islands night merous times, having stepped onto their inhabited islands, meeting the “Cuna Indians” as they call themselves and learning from them about their colorful and rich life and their customs.
    You Missed The Greatest Opportunity For Interaction with them in their setting. The women are the rulers and oh so many fascinating tjings to learn about their lifestyle and yes they are happy to take pictures to show their lifestyle, familues and colorful villages on these islands.
    How sad that you took your dingy out to snorkel and were so close to immersing yourselves in their culture but even after a week, you never took the time to step foot on any of the San Blas Islands.
    It didn’t even pay for you to stop in their waters or even to mention San Blas at all.
    How very sad to have had no interaction on their islands, learned nothing about these awesome people or their lifestyle. You could have been snorkeling anywhere in the world.
    Shame On You!

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    • Thanks for following along. As for the disappointment and shame… Its fantastic you have had the opportunity to fall in love with their culture. We really enjoyed interacting with them and enjoyed our time in San Blas. To say we learned nothing about the people is a gross assumption. We had interaction with the locals and with the women. We chose to enjoy them in those moments. We choose not to run for a camera and simply enjoy the moment. Sure, we would have loved to stick around for a month and hang out with them. But the truth is we cant see, experience and do everything, everywhere. We have been diving into the different cultures and people of Panama since we arrived. We’ve had so many incredible experiences and shared many of them. But sometimes we have a boat load of work, projects and research to do. Our time in San Blas was a much needed decompression. We honestly weren’t in the mind set to be a tribal documentary crew. Just because we didn’t create, show or experience it the way you think we should, doesn’t make it a pointless experience. Certainly not one worth shaming.

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      • Don’t feed the trolls, Nikki. Great video and post! You can’t do everything. You’ll have your own amazing experiences without having to visit the “San Blass Islands night merous times.” Spread the love and ignore the hate. <3

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  • Doug Carsey

    Love to watch every week, have been watching since you bought the Breeze MH a few years ago. We are full timers in our RV and enjoying our stile but really enjoy your way of life. How long can you stay under water without air tanks? It looks exciting. Keep up the good work. From the Raisin Capital of the world FRESNO COUNTY. LOVE YOU GUYS???⛵️⛵️⛵️?????????

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  • Louis Jay Miller

    Look’s like your living the life I’d like to live , oh well maybe someday I’ll get back on the water . when do you plan on going through the canal ?

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  • Woody

    FYI, https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/sailors-bliss-san-blas defaults to showing page 3 of comments (with 35 comments right now), but the links to comment pages 1 and 2 generate 404s.

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    • Curious Minion

      Working on it now – thanks!

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  • Patrick Burneson

    I ENJOY YOUR PHOTOS AND HISTORY OF THOSE YOU MEET AND PLACES YOU’VE BEEN. THANK YOU FOR SHARING. BE SAFE.

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  • We just love watching you guys’ adventure!!! You are absolutely adorable, adventurous and so wonderfully wise, too, with some of the realities of sailing into these places that are not as well-known or visited as others. And love the shark – wonder if the sailors are feeding it so that it got used to that? (Rather like feeding the gators where we live). Thanks for sharing all – it’s glorious!!!!

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  • Gerald Buckley

    Hey guys. By now you’ve transited the canal (yea!) and will have another chapter of the adventure to share. Before you leave for the open sea… how are you set on coffee? I’d like to send you some beans. Would that be ok? If so, where can I send them and when should they arrive by. Private email if that’s easier/better for you.

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  • Rich Knauss

    Thank you so much for taking me along on your adventures. It is so cool. I saw you first on House Hunters and then I ended up somehow seeing your Motor Home adventures and now this sailing. I will find a way to give back. Thank you for letting me understand how with your comments.
    Question – I an sure I am not the only one to ask., how are you protecting yourself from the sun? You both look great and yet the sun will really take a toll on you as you age. So again what are you doing?
    Take care and thank you.

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  • Joe

    Hey Guys. Curiosity is looking great. Curious about this video. Did you guys use a color correction at the beginning of the video. It has a different feel that your previous ones. Take care and be safe!!

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  • Jason Klein

    Hi Nikki,
    Just wondering if you could post where you got your sarong (is that what it’s called?) from the beginning of the video. Based on how much my girlfriend liked it, it could be her next birthday present.
    Love you videos.
    Thanks,

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  • Diana

    Love your videos! I got hooked on the Wynns when you guys were still in the RV and even though I don’t have any desire to sail, I LOVE watching you guys do it. You make it look easy, though I’m sure it’s a ton of work. Nikki, if you ever get the chance to do a post about how you “provision” your wardrobe for sailing around the world, I’d love to know more. You always look great and seem to have a great variety of clothing, but I know space is tight on board. How do you make good choices? (How often) Do you shop for new stuff?

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  • Gary Coover

    Hi guys, I’ve been a big fan since the RV days and just wanted to say Thank you for all you do in sharing your life.
    Let me know if your ever near San Diego, although the coldest it gets is around 57 with the wind chill ? we have our own year round paradise. Take care and again Thanks.

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  • Alan Solomon

    That is a great place. Thank you for the tip. I hope to make it there next when I am jones’n for a cool vacation spot to go.

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  • Mary

    Nikki, I’d like to know how many somersaults you can turn before coming up or getting dizzy.

    Beautiful water again! Wish I was there!!

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  • Thanks ! I really enjoy your vids

    Larry
    Www?. HisRoadTrip.com

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  • Donald Pellmann

    It is great to watch what you two are doing. Thank you, be safe.

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  • Wow! What a cool looking place!!

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  • Jamie Dillon

    Hey Guys! Greetings from Ontario , Canada. Fantastic footage. The clarity and editing of your adventure continues to progress and the drone footage is IMMENSE! Way cool. Thanks for the wonderful adventure this week as I sit here in a blizzard at -10. Keep up the great work and be safe, happy ans well! Jamie

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  • Sarah

    Great video! I kind of feel bad for your crew who already left since they missed San Blas. Anxious to see y’all in Ecuador.

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  • Pete Naylor

    I am so happy to see that are back to clean clear beautiful waters and colorful reefs. Your photographs and videos are spectacular as always and the 50 cent synopsis of the San Blas inhabitants was great. They seenm very friendly……but so am I when offered a cold beer. !!!!! I would bet my beer that your “shark” sighting was really a Cobia !!! As fresh fish go they are delicious fare. Happy sails …thanks for sharing

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  • Deborah Kerr

    Wow what a beautiful rest area! Nikki, I like your head scarf and shirt look, you have a lot of stylish clothes for being out in the middle of nowhere!! lol I love all the drone footage – I’m thinking about getting a drone for my better half so he can practice before we go on our RV trips this summer. Looking forward to your videos of more beautiful water and beaches and warm weather as I sit her drinking hot coffee by the wood burner in cold, snowy Ohio!! Thank you for the escape 🙂

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  • Richard

    Great views this week end. I am looking at 8 in of white stuff on the ground and 5 degrees of cold weather here in Michigan. got a condo in dania fl waiting for me. see you next week end.

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  • Again, wonderful video. Just got done binge watching your RVing blog/vlog for the second time. I noticed you have some Curiosity “swag” now. Jason’s ball cap and the tote bag that you put your vegies in. You ever think about having a little shop to sell your Curiosity brand? I’d buy it for sure. My best to you all. Be safe.

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  • DAVID STEWART

    Hello Nikki,& Jason, really enjoy the videos. I am rv traveler but have two small kids so traveling by water could be challenging. I love updates you give.
    Dave S.

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  • steve edison

    Love your travels. We’re following distantly in your footsteps, as we’re headed to Canada and Alaska in our Sprinter 4WD RV in about a month, starting from CA. I’ve been watching your videos religiously since then, and am contemplating a shift 4-5 years to the sailing journey. Be safe. You guys look really happy now. What a paradise. thank you.

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  • Brent Bartholomew

    Absolutely stunning pictures! You are once again forcing me to change my background screen to another one of your beautiful sunsets. I have been eagerly anticipating your trip through the canal. My grandfather moved to Gamboa Panama in the 1920s and my dad grew up there. I, embarrassingly, have never been there. So I’ve been waiting for you all to take me through the canal! I just found you all one month ago but I came at just the right time for me. Thank you for living your life the way you do!

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  • Jeff Cheesman

    This place looks like paradise! I enjoy all your video’s and look forward to your trip thru the canal.

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  • CC

    I can’t believe you didn’t buy a mola! Even just one. Such a rich history. The women depend on this for their livelihood. Excellent for pillows.

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  • Steve

    So enjoy the videos- makes me want to go explore other parts of the world! Safe travels to both of you!

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  • Mike

    HI I really enjoy your zest for life and how you research in depth before you jump in. And particularly, how you are willing to share said research. This comment is one video behind. On AMPED UP, glad you shared why you do not use hydro generator. Have You looked into Fuel Cells { ex. https://www.wattfuelcell.com/ }
    Love you two, fair winds and following seas.

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  • John Norton

    Jason & Niki:
    Hi! I subscribed to in Feb. last year, but I have been following you before you got Curiosity and I think you are an amazing couple.
    Your adventures are fun to watch, and they are informative and well written.
    I love your videos, and also the music you play in the background.
    I look forward to seeing next video, you awesome!!!!

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  • Ron. The weekly video really enjoy it. Thank you for sharing.

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  • Another wonderful video; very grateful for viewing it and thanks a million for sharing it. I found the last few minutes mesmerizing as you guys were setting the sails, etc, the boat leaping forward. Merci beaucoup !

    You don’t have to post the rest of my comments (of course); you don’t even have to answer if you don’t have the time or the inclination… I’m just curious: how do you make a living? I really appreciate the fact that there is no adds, publicity, marketing etc. in your videos but understand the need to put food on the table and repair the boat… Have a wonderful day!

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  • Love your videos, wish I was as tech savvy as to, to create our video of living the dream.
    We calk ourselves “[email protected]$+&kAreWeTribe”, 20 months RVing still newbies

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  • Oh Good Lord! If someone wrote your life into a screenplay, people would say, “Nah, it’s not believable! No one could live in such beauty every single day!” Yet you two have found the way. I am so happy for both of you!

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