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Panama: Portobelo and San Blas Islands

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Peaceful little Portobelo on Panama’s Caribbean coast with its unrivalled sea views, secluded white-sand beaches and backdrop of lush, tropical jungle should be a busy tourist spot. It remains, however, a tranquil town with an African art and music scene whose roots lie in Congo. It’s hard to imagine that this was once one of the busiest ports in the Americas, a major trading hub, and the embarkation point for gold and silver, which was brought by mules from Peru and Bolivia and was destined for the Spanish Main. Vestiges of cannoned fortresses endure and watch over the spot where Sir Francis Drake came to rest in 1596.

In contrast to the West-Indian influenced Bocas del Toro islands, the archipelago of San Blas hosts the indigenous culture of the Kuna Yala indians, who have enjoyed autonomy since the 1920s. The string of 400 islands includes tiny islets with a just few coconut palms to over forty which are inhabited. The Kuna Yala maintain a deeply traditional, communal lifestyle based at their bamboo, palm-thatched residences, surviving from fishing and agriculture. These conservative people welcome sensitive visitors to their gorgeous palm-dotted beaches; a few days here is a unique experience.

Our holidays to Portobelo and San Blas Islands

View all holidays
Trinidad de Cuba

Cuba and the treasured Caribbean expedition cruise - 5 Oct 2017

Private journey

15 days from £6,130pp

Things to do in Portobelo and San Blas Islands

Caribbean Kayaking Adventure

Panamanian Caribbean kayaking adventure

Explore Spanish Fortresses and Pirate History

Explore Spanish fortresses and pirate history


Meet the Kuna Indians of San Blas

Meet the Kuna indians of San Blas

Go Snorkelling

Go snorkelling in the Panamanian Caribbean

What our experts say

But because it’s so remote and beautiful, providing an experience of what it must be like to be marooned on a desert island, a visit to San Blas is  well worth it. San Blas is only suitable for adventurous visitors but for the right person it should be a winner.

David

David Nichols

Product and Marketing

What our clients say

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96% of our clients rated their experience with us as Good or Excellent.

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Tailor-made holiday

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for over 36 years.
We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.

96% of our clients rated their experience with us as Good or Excellent.

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