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Kuna Yala Region / San Blas

The eastern Caribbean coast of Panamaand the garland of nearby islands, the ancient archipelago of the mules, or San Blas, is what is called the Kuna Yala, which in the Guna language means “Guna Land” or “Guna Mountain”.

The Kuna region covers approximately 200 miles of the Caribbean coastline of panama, where there are 360 islands; desert islands with white sands, crystal-clear waters and tropical palm trees, full of coconuts. Of these 360 islands, which as the islanders say, represent one for each day of the year, only 80 are inhabited.

One of the most paradigmatic cultures of the Americas, they have managed to maintain their identity, independently of the creation of modern states, including Panama, modern interests and globalisation, preserving their incredible purity.

The women, with their eye-catching mola dresses and art, have become a touristic symbol of Panama’s image abroad.

Most of the Kuna live dispersed in small communities situated on the paradisiacal coral islands on the Caribbean coast.

Travelling to this territory is to travel to an Amerindian country, to learn about the Kuna culture, buy their crafts or enjoy excursions to the paradisiacal white beaches, of this coral territory with crystal-clear waters, enjoying its tropical climate.

The economy of the community is subsistence and ecotourism is increasing. Coconut collection and artisan fishing (lobster) are the pillars of the Kuna economy.

As the waters are not very deep, it is an ideal place to go snorkelling and to enjoy the rich and uncontaminated sea beds.


This will be the expression you hear the most during the visit to the Kuna.

The Kuna don’t like being photographed; you must ask them for permission first, and they will ask for 1 Dollar in exchange.

“Around 2007, the first time we arrived in San Blas, we were very impressed by the islands full of coconut trees, the beaches with white sand and transparent water, the beautiful beds and coral reefs with their breakers protecting the interior of the whole archipelago with the islands, the starry nights, the Kuna People offering fish and lobster onboard their small wooden canoes. In that time, we would exchange their lobster for rice, pastries, biscuits, sugar and sweets for the children. Today, they continue with their traditions and customs, but it is now much easier for them to get the products. And after sailing through many different places and seeing lots of different things, San Blas continues to amaze us, with the 360 islands, sailing areas between those islands, the beautiful mooring points protected from the winds, swimming in the waters, walking on the beaches… It is so lovely, you never want to leave.”