San Blas is known as Panama's gold, emerald, coral and lapis lazuli necklace, the quintessential tropical paradise. A chain of 365 islands and keys is extending over 160 km along the Caribbean Coast from the Gulf of San Blas to the Colombian border.
The cultural integrity and heritage of the Kuna people and the spectacular San Blas Islands present a distinctive biosphere of amazing human and natural beauty. A cobalt and turquoise sea speckled with coral gardens, palm islands with white sandy lapels and thatched-roof Kuna villages. One of the world's most magnificent archipelagos and barrier reefs.
The realm of the Kuna, Kuna Yala, an autonomous territory, is clearly one of the last unexplored outer limits of the Caribbean. 80% of the islands are uninhabited. The self-governing Kunas are zealously protective of their environment and way of life, one of the few pure races existing in the world. A people of great simplicity, pride and charm, they still conserve their traditions and beliefs foremost of which is "Gran Madre Tierra" or Mother Earth who guards, provides and keeps all in balance.
The Kuna women stand out in this beautiful landscape, with their colorful dresses and beautiful blouses, handmade from the world famous Molas. Considered a unique craft and one of the most beautiful indigenous garments in the world, Kuna women spend countless hours stitching the colorful reverse-appliqué cotton "molas" which are the basis for their dress. In many ways the women are the guardians of Kuna culture. They also wear colorful beaded ornaments on their wrists and ankles, while chains, pectorals and gold nose rings complete their everyday dress.
When visiting the Coral Lodge Resort you can experience unique cultural interaction with the Kunas' rich language, beliefs in myths, and the value they place on tradition, all of which are communicated through their beautiful dance ceremonies. Drinking fresh "pipas" and dining on coconut rice as well as the superb, abundant seafood help integrate the guests into this wonderful world. Meet the "Sahila", or community leader, who will explain their values and why life for them has changed little over time.
*Source: Content and pictures with friendly permission of the Coral Lodge Resort.