Kuna Yala, Panama -Paradise Islands


Miya – You know those tropical island pictures you see in magazines? Those pictures you drool over when working in your office cubicle? San Blas was that!  We embarked upon a tiny 10-seater airplane (Panama to Playon Chico), where we were practically sitting next to the pilot.  The landing pad was right next to the school so as we exited the plane you could hear the screaming children in the playground.  Tons of women in their Kuna Indian traditional attire were hugging the concrete wall watching as the next set of tourists arrived into their town.  We were the spectacle.  Then we jumped into a wooden canoe, luggage and all, and rode 10 minutes pulling up to an island.  The Yandup Lodge occupied the entire island –  over the water bungalows plus restaurant.  Our bungalow was “super roots” – cold water showers, thatched roof made of palms with a deck and hammock to accompany.  All meals were served to us which was nice because we didn’t have to think about anything.  They love patacones in Panama (fried banana).  Each day we’d wake up to a different itinerary – hiking to a waterfall, snorkeling at these deserted atolls in green water or visiting the Kuna Indian tribe’s community.  Their culture is still very much intact and the older women maintain their indigenous costume.  Walking through their community was worlds away from what we know.  Their huts had nothing more than a small fire for cooking and hammocks for sleeping.  They would even sun dry some of their laundry on the roof of their bungalow.  They would use bamboo to help elevate their TV or Radio antennas.  I felt privileged to see first hand an indigenous community still intact and be able to enjoy the beauty of these unique atolls.

My Favorite Foods

1 – Panama City – Rice, Beans, Salad (Meat for Paulo) accompanied by 2 drinks all for $4.30 – some of the tastiest, flavorful beans I’ve had since Brasil


Paulo – Nossa segunda e ultima parada no Panamá foi num lugar chamado San Blas, ou Kuna Yala, uma região independente do país que tem seus próprios governantes e leis, território dos índios Kuna. O nosso hotel não só ficava numa ilha, mas era a própria ilha (foto acima)! O quarto era uma versão mais roots daquelas cabanas em cima do mar que a gente vê nos resorts luxuosos nas ilhas do Sul do Pacifico, só que muito mais autêntico… Era todo feito de bambu e bem básico, sem TV, sem chuveiro quente e internet então nem pensar – tinha só o barulho do mar pra dormir e tela de mosquitos para se esconder… Um dos passeios incluídos era conhecer o povoado indígena a cerca de 10 minutos da nossa ilha. Foi muito bom finalmente visitar uma população que ainda preserva seus costumes e tradições e que apesar de viverem em tempos mais “modernos” não perderam o orgulho de seu passado e não caíram na marginalização em grandes cidades, como vimos em muitos outros lugares.  Eu poderia passar horas descrevendo as belezas do lugar, mas não vou… As fotos mostram tudo, afinal, o Tahiti é aqui, ou melhor, é no Panamá!


Kuna Yala – One of the most beautiful places in the world


Traditional costumes and over the water bungalows


Having fun in the sun


Two images, one feeling

Palm Trees

It ain’t tropical if there are no palm trees

Miya Kuna

Evelyse, Kuna Miya and Malvita


The man and the river


~ by The Local Way on July 9, 2010.

One Response to “Kuna Yala, Panama -Paradise Islands”

  1. Adorei a foto da Kuna Myia e aquela sua debaixo de um coqueiro, está linda, você parece um modelo ou ator hollywoodiano.Gostei também da Man and a river.

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