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Featured Panama San Blas Travels

Guanidup, San Blas, Panama

Growing up in Panama City, it was uncommon for locals to venture to the San Blas Islands, an archipelago of approximately 368 islands owned by the indigenous Kuna. Well, the area was called Kuna Yala when I was growing up, but recently the Congreso Guna General decided to clarify their alphabet, and as a result concluded their native language has no ‘K’ equivalent. The region is now officially called Guna Yala.

Until recently, there were no roads across the cordillera — no easy way of going from Panama City’s Pacific shore to the San Blas Archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. It still remains a rather isolated part of the country, with one winding road that has been washed away in some parts. Only 4×4 SUVs are allowed to go beyond a certain point. Another option was flying into El Porvenir, but I heard conflicting stories about the airport being closed, and the airline flying the route going bankrupt.

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Panama Photography Travels

The view from the terrace

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The house of my childhood has this view from its back terrace. Growing up, only two or three buildings dotted the landscape. When my grandmother first moved into the house, the back terrace faced unspoiled rainforest. It’s as if she has had front row seats to the passing of time.

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Panama Photography Travels

Visiting the Embera Community along Río Chagres

On my last Monday in Panama, I wanted to get out of the city. Originally, I had planned to go to the San Blas Archipielago, but this plan didn’t developed outside of my mind till the last minute, so I called a few tour operators to see if anything was available. My uncle remembered he had a coworker who ran his own tour agency. So I contacted Manolo, but unfortunately, the one-day San Blas tours were all full. He gave me some other interesting options, and I chose to check out the Embera indigenous community along the Río Chagres. It was fairly close to the city, but even so, it would take us on a hike deep into the rainforest.

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Panama Travels

Batidos Naturales

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Panama Travels

Panama — Part 1: Like a Tourist

For years I neglected my people because when vacation time would roll around, trekking all the way to Panama from either North Carolina or Phoenix, required stops in random places. Those stops ate away at my precious days off. Also, if I was going to drop big bucks on a plane ticket, I wanted to go somewhere new, places I hadn’t visited. Finally, now that I’m in Los Angeles, I can do a non-stop flight to Panama City, and I can find some great deals on plane tickets.


Iglesia del Carmen: I remember going there to church as a kid, and their sound system was so awful you could not understand what the priest was saying. I had the perfect excuse to not pay attention during the sermon. Paty=1, Hell= zero.

Pizzeria Italia: a favorite of my parents. But damn, it’s gotten expensive. Everything has gotten expensive in Panama. I was shocked at the amount of money I was dropping on eating out — $20, $30 at some places. That’s expensive here in Los Angeles!

Tio Andres: doing what he (and everyone else) does best. That and be shirtless in the Cosway. He likes that too.