Forgotten paradise

Trip Start Sep 06, 2010
Trip End Sep 04, 2011

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Where I stayed
Senidup Island - Cabanas Toni

Flag of Panama  , Kuna Yala,
Thursday, October 7, 2010

I have quite firmly stuck to my original itinerary up until now, so it was just a time to break this habit, and to go for a destination recommended by many backpackers met along the way. I have to admit that before my trip I have never heart about San Blas islands, but its reputation is very sound within backpackers. I have not met a single one going to Panama, but skipping San Blas archipelago. Just try to imagine around 260 small picturesque islands with sky-blue Caribbean see waters, fine white sand beaches, staying in bamboo huts without any modern equipment or electricity, highly addictive no-hassle life, and not to forget, some great and fun loving backpackers. All that you can find and see on San Blas. Without any exaggeration, it feels like to be in a paradise where each day is filled with swimming in the sea, swinging in a hammock, drinking rum, and flirting with girls - no more, no less.  San Blas is literally out of this world. To make this place even more attractive, costs of staying there are just a fraction of Maldives or Seychelles holiday packages. I hear most of you asking how is that possible, how come we have never heart about these islands. What makes the trick are by Kuna Yala indians. This part of Panama, including these islands, is substantially autonomous on the rest of the country due to presence of Kuna Yala who administrates this province. They also have their own parliament. All that to preserve their cultural heritage. As such, each island is owned by  a Kuna Yala indian, or family. As these islands are their homes, and the only land they own, they would never allow big hotels or developers to exploit natural beauties of this part of the world. As a result, only backpackers, or people living in Panama City,  not minding to spend a few days in a bamboo hut with no door or floor, having no electricity, no real showers, actually nothing you are used to from your daily lives, come here. If you one of them, then you can have a blast there for just $20 a day, which includes 3 meals a day. Is not it amazing!? Speaking of food, I have never eaten so testy and fresh fish, or lobsters, as here. They were so fresh that we saw them alive in hands of fishermen, and 3 hours later, they were already on our plates.

From all San Blas islands, I decided to spend 4 days on Sanidup island owned by 28-year-old party loving Kuna guy called Toni. Right after the arrival, I was wondering how can I possibly spend 4 or 5 days on 100 m long and 70 m wide island. For illustration, after unpacking my small bag (the rest of my belongings was left behing in Panama City), I walked around the islands in 3 minutes. Thinking about being trapped in this tiny place was ruining my first impression of this paradise. If you are alone, and not having the right people around,  then you can get very bored, but otherwise absolutely not.  In this respect I was very lucky with people being here with me. As I arrived on Saturday morning there was a group of American expats living in Panama City celebrating 30 th birthday of one of their girls. Besides that,  two Swedish girls arrived on the same day as me. To make it complete,  a German-Swiss male duo showed up on Sunday morning. It was us five who made our stay there unforgettable.

On the day of my arrival, the US group organized a boat trip to one of the nearby islands, called Perro islands. As the island is know for its azure sea, and a wreckage of the WW II boat laying close to its shore, I and those 2 Swedish girls did not hesitate a second and joined the trip as well (the more people, the cheaper it is to hire a boat). And indeed, the island was amazing. Evening was a party time. What am I going to tell you..... the party started right after dinner (approx 5.30 pm), and lasted till midnight, and it was crazily good. Drinking on the beach, an Argentinian guy walking around with a half of gallon bottle of Smirnoff vodka and pouring its content directly to your mouth. One wasted English guy also went for highly not recommended night swim, and unfortunately stepped and touched sea-urchins. He was in  a big pain the next day, but what counted the most, he was also ready for the second round of partying and drinking. By losing the US guys, but gaining German speaking guys,  there were only 6 of us left in the village to get the party started. Regardless of our group size we once again had a lot of fun. German speaking guys put on the table 1.75 l bottle of a rum, Swedish girls brought a pack of cards to play drinking games.  When the light was finally off (they use gasoline-propelled electric generator), we moved on the beach to further enjoy the easiness of living, and to capture those precious moments of being absolutely concern-free.

The next night was similar (night No. 3) with only difference of reinforcing our squad by a few Israeli backpackers staying in the second part of the island (the island is split into two different villages). Earlier that day we met these Israelis while swimming, along with their amazingly beautiful female friends. Let me now diverge from the main topic now. You all know that talking about girls is very intensive subject for me :-). Until a few days ago, I was firmly claiming that Swedish females are No 1. Yes, they are out of this world, but Israeli girls are then out of this galaxy. I have never seen so many hot girls in one place. Imagine  beautiful curvaceous figures, dark shining hair, chocolate complexion, and azure eyes.............just totally insane!!! Simply, Israeli girls do not have competition. I wish you were here to see and experience it. Due to having more people aboard, the 3rd night turned to be the best one : lot of fun, drinking games, laying on the beach in a darkness, etc. Just a superb party night ended in arms of Swedish girl. Life can not be sweeter.

On Tuesday morning,  it was a time to wave goodbye to our Swedish friends who were flying to Colombia on Wednesday. Losing nice people is a painful moment, and this was one of them.  To be a bit proactive, we decided to visit Kuna Yala community that day on one of the bigger islands. Unfortunately I do not have many pictures form this trip, as Kuna Yala indians do no want to be photographed still believing that a picture takes away part of their soul. It was a very nice trip though. It reminded us that even now in the 21 century people want to live the way their ancestors did. What is interesting about the Kuna Yala is that men already wear western clothes, but women still dress themselves into typical Kuna Yala clothes. Tuesday night was our last one on the island, me heading back to Panama City, and German/Swiss guys getting on a speed boat to Colombia. The night went in the same direction as the previous three, only this time we were kept the company by two Israeli girls. I got a Hebrew course, and then danced on the beach underneath a starry sky with one blue-eyed Israeli angel. 

All moments, even the most cherished ones, must end one day, so did this one. On Wednesday morning we all exchange facebook contacts, said a final goodbye, and promised to re-unite back in Europe. Probably no-one from you will be now surprised, if I say that I was having the best time of my life in San Blas. I can not find more words to express how I loved the place, and how much I am missing it right now.

As I am taking a plane to Ecuador tomorrow, I would like to take an opportunity and thank the whole central america, and its people, for being an awesome place to travel through. It is hard to believe that I already started the second month of my traveling, and that I am about to close the centralamerican leg of my RTW trip. Lastly, let me give Panama 85% (San Blas gets 100%).

Greetings from Panama City, Panama



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G trud on

I would also vote for Israelis ....

Hope you enjoyed everything ... oh my god ... I think I will resign and join you
somewhere in Peru... :)

luxguy on

You should, you definitely should!!!

Ben on

Ouh yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaah, I haven't finished, but my thoughts went wild at the very beginning description of the Israeli girls... what I remember is the sentence started with imagine, and the last thing I read was 'shiny hair' and already I can't go on anymore cause my imaginatino is going wiiiiild... uh baby, uh baby... somebody's grooving right now. right now... Uh baby, uuh baby...

Benjamin on


I think this is a place I'd go with you the next time you visit it. And nice to see that you are really happy, at least this is what I felt. Goodbye Centralamerica, and hey, there's a hell of a lot of places still to be visited. Let the next chapter begin.

And I want Frau Walter to resign and join you on your travels... or at least try, cause I think somebody's gonna get his mind right just at the moment he will try to express this thought!!!

luxguy on

Oh yeah, you probably saw the attached pictures of them. And dude, there were others!! Those girls are awesome. But either very reserved, or greatly easigoing. The bottom line, you always find some amazing Israeli girls to party with...and I am talking about some wild parties LoL. Pitty you were not there. I will be more than happy to come to that place with you!

Freu Walther has just a big mouth. She (he) should pul out the balls he carries, and start such trip as well.

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