365 islands with History, Culture and Natural Treasures that the World Must Discover.
The best kept secret of the Panama in the Atlantic, is the region of Guna Yala or Tierra Guna (Guna land) according to the meaning it represents for the natives. In this 365 islands archipelago visitors will find crystal clear waters, white sand and coral reefs, among the best preserved according to Unesco.
The Guna Region exists since 1938. Its inhabitants exercise their indigenous autonomy since 1953, the year in which the Kuna General Congress (CGK) was established as the political authority and administrative issues.
Given the great territorial beauty, its inhabitants are very aware of their tourist potential. That is why they developed their own regulations in order to create a sustainable tourism model. Also to not take the risk of losing their identity (excess marketing), protect natural resources, customs and the rights as authors of their crafts, especially molas which enjoy international recognition.
Approximately 100,000 tourists arrive in the Guna Yala Region each year. Gunas admits cruise ships and eco-lodges or sailboats, but need a permission provided by the their congress in advance.
The Guna Yala Region is one of the most important tourist spots in the country. Considering its platform as tourism promoters, it is one of the destinations that has more experience in this field.
With the increase in visitors, mainly local tourists, the Ministry of Tourism Affairs was opened. The department in the Congress responsible for addressing this reality in an orderly, healthy and balance way.
For cruise ship tourism, each boat company must first reach an economic agreement with those of the Guna congress, in order to anchor in their territory. This way visitors can get down to tour the community, bathe on their beaches and buy handicrafts.
As in Panama, the entry requirements in Guna Yala are: present the valid passport and tourist visa.
How to get there?
Taking a plane from Albrook Airport only at daytime. If you opt for the land route, there are several tourist operators that will transport you in an all terrain vehicle, through the 40 km Llano Gardi road, which are fully certified by the Panama Land Transportation Authority and the Guna Congress. Upon arrival in Nusagandi, each visitor pays a fee for the protected area of Nargana. There are three ports on the coast: Barsuggun, Niga Kantule and Dibin, in each there are parking spaces if coming by car. From the ports you must take a boat to go to islands you want to visit or stay.
Where to stay?
There are a number of rustic hotels, hostels and cabins authorized to provide lodging or rental of camping space. All are properties of the Gunas, and will attend visitors according to the package purchased on the selected island. The Guna Yala Archipelago formerly known as San Blas, is a group of 365 small islands off the north coast of the Isthmus, of which about 80 are inhabited. You can buy a day-pass package (Day Tour), a package for camping for one night or more, or lodgings in the cabins. All include a tour to nearby islands, food (amount according to the time of stay) and access to facilities (shower and bathrooms).
Among the most popular islands are:
A group of islands mostly uninhabited located in the northwest corner of the archipelago (the farthest), some of them are considered among the most impressive in natural beauty. There are no hotels, but you can camp. Among the recommended activities is a boat tour, especially to the Natural Pool, where you can snorkel and see its impressive corals.
At 40 minutes from the port. This small island is ideal for young people because of its festive atmosphere. It has cozy cabins and bedrooms for groups of friends. It also has electricity, showers, shared bathrooms, a restaurant and a volleyball court. They offer trips to Isla Perro. You can do camping and snorkeling.
—Needle Island (Iggodub)—
Located just 15 minutes from the port of Cartí. It is one of the most visited islands with facilities such as private cabins with its bathroom, an area to play volleyball, but it also has its sacred places for the Guna community such as the cemetery, the chicha house, the house of the general congress and others where they perform religious and cultural activities.
It is the location of one of the most exclusive hotels in the Guna Yala region. Here you can enjoy stunning cabins built on the sea. A paradise where the Guna take care of every detail in order for each visitor to have an unforgettable experience.
One of the most popular typical dishes is the Tulemasi (soup with coconut milk, tubers and bananas), accompanied with fish. There are about a dozen restaurants, where they also offer dishes with seafood and lobsters, fried fish with patacones (fried green plantain) or the more conventional ones such as chicken or meat with rice, or the always delicious sancocho.
—Things to do—
- Take a sailboat tour, You can opt for a package to ride a sailboat for 3 or 4 days and return to the port of Cartí. More information at www.sanblasadventure.com
- Buy handicrafts, here you will find Guna women making molas with extraordinary exclusive designs.
- Remember that the best time to visit Guna Yala is from May to November. You can go the other months, but sometimes there is bad weather and you can’t cross to the islands.
- Exclusivity: Visiting Guna Yala is a privileged. It has been selected between the two “best destinations for cruises in the world”, by magazines like Cruising World and Le Monde Voyage.
- Venture to participate in “tours” to the rainforest, rivers, mangroves, waterfalls and the community of Ukupseni (Playon Chico), visiting the Yandup family shelter. Visit the page www.gunayala.com
- Join a Cultural and Beach Tour, where you will have permission to learn more about their customs, dances, hoy to make molas and other cultural expressions. More information at www.triptable.com
- Go to Diablo Island, surrounded by small islands such as Isla Perro – Sunken Ship, where you can snorkel and see in person a sunken vessel 10 meters from the shore. More information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 独特性：古纳亚拉是一个特别的地方，它曾被《巡航世界》（Cruising World）和《世界报》（Le Monde Voyage）等杂志选为“世界上两个最佳游轮目的地”之一。
- 参加探险之旅，旅程覆盖雨林，河流，红树林，瀑布和Ukupseni小岛（也叫Playon Chico），还可以参观Yandup海岛小屋。更多信息请访问页面www.gunayala.com
- 如果您想了解一个独一无二的地方，您就必须去暗黑破坏岛（Isla Diablo）。它被小岛四周环绕，例如Isla Perro岛和Barco Hundido岛 (perro Chico)。暗黑破坏岛附近一个沉船，距离海岸10米，您可以在那里浮潜。更多信息请登录：email@example.com。