An immersive journey
The longer you go, the more regenerated you will leave. The Guna are one of the few societies who until now, have lived in harmony with their environment, respecting mother earth - the water and soil that provides us of life. By coming here, you help honor a culture that is actually living a sustainable life and sends the message to them: "don't change your lifestyle."
We need them as teachers, we need them to show us the way back to how it all started. If we are to survive as a species, we must slow down and learn from our indigenous elders.
Day 1 You'll set off from your hotel in Panama City at 5am and will be on a lush mountain road for about 3 hours. At the dock you'll take a water taxi that will take you to the boat at the Lemmon Cays. This first day you'll want to relax on board, get a feel for the boat you'll call home for the next 3 days. You'll want to jump into the water first thing to revel in the Caribbean's warmth, and depending on time you'll be able go go off on a snorkeling on paddle adventure before lunch is served. After lunch you'll sail away to West Holandes and will set anchor between Aguanargana and Waisailadub islands. This spot has one of the best snorkeling spots in all of San Blas, as there's a forest literally underwater with what look like full grown trees you can swim among and discover. Dinner will be served on board and you'll most likely want to go to sleep quite early after a long day of traveling and fun in the water.
Day 2 When you wake up in paradise, you'll want to pinch yourself. Am I really here? Will be your first thought as you look out the window to the swaying palms over turquoise sea. You'll have a delicious coffe/tea/whatever you want and a robust breakfast to get you started for a full day of adventure. You'll get to go on the island to walk around, meet Julio and Laura, our local grandparents, Jose's family and Sandino at the other end of the island. If you swim the short distance from Waisailaub to Aguanargana, you'll meet Enrique and his wife, a very social and charming couple. After lunch you'll set sail to Chichime island. It'll be around 2 hours of sailing so you'll get to feel the wind in your hair and you'll start understanding why it is us sailors cannot live any other way. The anchorage at Chichime is between a small and big island. The Gunayala version of Ibiza's Cafe del Mar is a tiny palm hut run by our friend Rodney. He serves cold beers and rhum. The family next to him can sort you out with fresh coconuts, too! The beach on this side of the island is gorgeous for hanging a hammock for a snooze, and it's the best spot to catch the sunset!
Day 3 Your crew will take you snorkeling in the canal between the islands. You'll be amazed by the interminable coral and the hustle-and-bustle of the fish living there. You can stare for hours and realize there's a whole world underneath the surface with societies unconcerned with politics or social media, ha! Drifting in the deep blue reminds you that we are all interconnected living beings in this planet and it makes you want to do more to preserve all life. Coming out of the water, feeling one with the universe, you'll be hungry for yummy food which will be waiting for you back at your ship. You'll sail to the East Lemmon Cays and anchor in the middle of 4 islands. You'll probably swim over to Nugnudub to meet Igua's family. They speak some English so you'll start to interact more deeply with the locals as they share a bit about the system of beliefs of the guna people - the cosmovision that has shown them that taking care of their territory is the highest act of love and purpose on our Earth.
Day 4 On this day you'll finally be comfortable enough on the boat and the surrounding water to jump into the ocean and get to the reef to snorkel on your own. Early morning is a good time to catch fish having breakfast too! Alterntively you can paddleboard to the beach and do some stretching, yoga or meditation on your accompanied by birdsong and breeze. When you get hungry you can head back to the boat. Say goodbye to these islands and time to head to Salardub. You'll be crossing a big cana so definitely look out for dolphins that love to play with the passing boat. Your best shot at spotting them is to be on deck! Salar is a great place to have dinner on land as there's a nice table to set up all the food, and Jairo, our local friend there, will certainly offer to make a bon fire perfect for storytelling, just like your ancestors have done for over a million years.
Day 5 Yes, you stayed long enough to earn a trip to the nearby waterfall and swim in a fresh water river. This morning, Lisa, an experience mountain guide will pick you up in her boat to take you on a 30 minute ride to the nearby mountains where you'll go up river on a 4 hour hike through lush jungle. This part of the trip is a true gem, as Lisa will tell you stories of how the guna farm their land, and actually show you a real guna cemetery where her family is buried and will explain the guna beliefs about life and death. You'll get to see and hear tons of birds and if you're lucky and quiet enough perhaps a rabbit or a wild boar. You'll arrive at a waterfall with a great pool for enjoying the fresh water. Clean water like this
Day 6 On this day you'll finally be comfortable enough on the boat and the surrounding water to jump into the ocean and get to the reef to snorkel on your own. Early morning is a good time to catch fish having breakfast too! Alterntively you can paddleboard to the beach and do some stretching, yoga or meditation on your accompanied by birdsong and breeze. When you get hungry you can head back to the boat. Say goodbye to these islands and time to head to Salardub. You'll be crossing a big cana so definitely look out for dolphins that love to play with the passing boat. Your best shot at spotting them is to be on deck! Salar is a great place to have dinner on land as there's a nice table to set up all the food, and Jairo, our local friend there, will certainly offer to make a bon fire perfect for storytelling, just like your ancestors have done for over a million years.
Hi I'm Stef,
I've been living in Gunayala since 2011, when a local Guna family welcomed me into their home and handed me a hammock. I lived with them for a year and the experience changed my life forever. To wake up to a brand new log of driftwood for cooking exactly when we were running out, to see the most amazing sunrises and sunsets, to eat the coconut from the trees and the fish straight from the sea. I needed nothing else. Then I started sailing and my mind was blown once again!
Day 7 As with any dream, it can't last forever. Make sure to wake up early to catch the last sunrise. And with that parting ritual say thanks and goodbye to this beautiful land and vessel that hosted you for a week of disconnection from the matrix and reconnection to nature and yourself. Time to say goodbye to your sailor hosts who surely by now are your friends and have taught you much about the beauty of the simplicity of life aboard. Also time to say goodbye to the amazing guna people who provide the setting for a magical experience and whose wisdom for preserving their land and living in community can well be emulated in all societies everywhere else in the world.