Tourist Activities

Guna Yula

Someone unfamiliar with Panama may be surprised to learn the unusual history and status of the province known as Guna Yala. It was once known as San Blas and Kuna Yala but was officially renamed Guna Yala to reflect a more accurate pronunciation of the native population’s language.

Set in northeast Panama, south of the already remote Darien Province, and bordered on the east by Colombia, Guna Yala is “…a narrow, 226km-long strip on the Caribbean coast that includes the Archipiélago de San Blás…The islands are home to the Kuna, who run San Blás as a comarca(autonomous region) with minimal interference from the national government.” (Lonely Planet, 2014).

This does not mean that they are independent of the Republic of Panama. Instead, it was in 1925 that they were given permission to operate under their own economic and governmental systems. The indigenous people use their own language, but have full voting rights in Panama’s legislature. This was all done by the Kuna people in order to uphold and protect their heritage, way of life, and even their language.

Guna Yula Tourist Activities:

The Chagres River

is virtually unseen in the trek through the Chagres National Park due to the lack of access roads, protection against settlers, and the previous non-existence of Aventuras Panamá. This part of the river, characterized by currents alternating with still waters, is considered as Class II, although several rapids are considered Class III by the International Classification of River Navigation.

The San Blas Archipelago

with more than 350 islands spreading out along the isthmus, together with the northeast of Panama from Colon to Colombia, and from the Caribbean Ocean up to the continental divide at the isthmus mountain range defines San Blas or Guna Yala, the homeland of Guna Natives. Gunas are well known by their molas, a bright and colorful fabric they manufacture and wear in their female dress.

Yandup is a family owned lodge

with seafront and overwater cabins in a small private island near the Playon Chico community in Kuna Yala. The island is surrounded by coral reefs and a small beach with white sand and crystal clear water. The lodge offers tours to the rainforest, river, mangroves, waterfall, Ukupseni (Playon Chico) community, cemetery and to other uninhabited islands with palm trees and white sand beach. Tours and meals are included in the package.

Ukuptupu

an island near El Porvenir in the Kuna Yala region of Panama, is your ideal base for exploring the Kuna Yala archipelago and enjoying life in the islands. Just a 25-minute flight across the isthmus from Panama City, Ukuptupu is located minutes from the Porvenir airport between the islands of Wichub Wala and Nalunega. Cabañas Ukuptupu, which means Sand Island, is a tourism project that started in the 1990 with a lot of effort from Mr. Juan García and his family.