The five important things to take to San Blas islands in Panama

If you have ever visited San Blas, you already know that you don’t need any special reason and you should go as soon as you can. But for those, who still ponder if to go see it or not, here is five reasons why you definitely should:

1. Water is your best friend

There are no drinkable sources of water in most of the islands, so you need to buy a bottled water to drink. And to be honest, it is much cheaper in Panama city compared to islands (1 gallon or ~4 liters = 5 USD). We ourselves consumed about 1,5 liter of water every day per person and we are quite average drinkers, hope this will help you to calculate how much you need.

big bottle of water

2. Light torch to navigate during nights

light torch

Even though the common spaces used by all are well lit in the evening, there is no light inside of your cabins. Which means it is an good idea to have a light torch. Of course, if you come for 1-3 days, you will survive even without it, since you can use your mobile phone as your light source. But those who come for longer stays might really appreciate bring their own torch.

3. Take a nature friendly soaps and shampoos

Or don’t take any at all. We mean, if you go there for 1-3 days, you will most likely survive without them. And if you come for a longer period, it would be a good idea to find some natural solution to washing. Guna Yala people are trying to find some ways to lower the damage these chemicals can cause, but to be honest, they will sooner or later get into the ocean and damage the sea life and corals around those islands. The locals didn’t really figure this out yet, so it is a good idea to use as little chemicals as you can. If you need some shampoo inspiration, here is an example.

coral friendly shampoo

4. Buy a coral friendly sunscreen with zinc oxide or titan dioxide

coral friendly sunscreen

Similar to previous point, but very important to emphasize. Did you ever notice those disgusting colorful oil stains on top of basically any water surface where you see people entering the water? No? Take a better look.

Since we try to protect us from sun, we use many different methods to be safe. Most of us buy sunscreen creams, but do not pay that much attention to how exactly they protect us. In general, most of the sunscreens sold are protecting your skin by a chemical cocktail film, which goes off once you enter the water. That means as well that this chemical cocktail enters the coral reef waters around islands and creates an oil film on top of the beach water, causing problems to many of the sea life.

How to fix that? Buy a mineral-based sunscreen – they work on a different principle and will cover your skin by minerals that are not hurtful to corals and will just return back to the nature. Having trouble finding some? There are many manufacturers, here is some example.

5. Enough cash to enjoy your stay

There are no ATMs and you won’t be able to pay by a card, which means that US dollars will be your only way to pay. If you need some beer or coke to be happy, you will need them.

Of course, unless you own a lot of coconuts, since coconuts are still used in Guna Yala as a form of payment :-)

dollar bills

Excited to try all this? We will make it happen for you!