San Blas Islands
The San Blas Islands of Panama comprise approximately 365 islands and cays, of which only 49 are inhabited. They lie off the north coast of the Isthmus of Panama, east of the Panama Canal. I sailed from Colombia, through the San Blas Islands to Panama.
The San Blas Islands themselves are incredible, as you can clearly see from these photos. The sail from Colombia itself, a bit rough. We spent a total of 4 days in the open ocean and 2 days staying on our boat within the islands. From around 12 hours into the trip, I was seasick, until we hit the islands. Being stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean when all you want to do is get off can be a struggle, but that’s all a part of the backpacking experience, right? At one point I actually made the captain stop the boat in the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight so I could jump out, which was super cool and scary at the same time. Some may be thinking of a cruise ship type boat! NO. This was a sailing boat that fit around 10 people on board (below).
What an experience.
I quite liked Panama City, although it is very Americanised and modern, very different to other cities in Central America. The highlights of Panama City include the Panama Canal, the waterfront walk and Ancon Hill. See my Backpackers Guide to Panama City.
Boquete is a tiny town in the centre of Panama, hosting an abundance of activities that attract adventure and nature lovers. From volcano hikes to coffee plantation tours, waterfalls, hot springs, zip lining, horse riding, white water rafting. You name it, you will find it here. Check out my Backpackers Guide to Boquete.
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Disclosure: This post on Panama and the San Blas Islands contains affiliate links.