THE SAN BLAS ISLANDS
AND THE KUNA INDIANS

The San Blas Islands are located off the Caribbean Coast of Panama. There are over 350 islands and islets, only 60 of which are inhabited. The San Blas Islands are known for the beauty of the white sand beaches, the crystal clear turquoise waters and the friendly inhabitants who live on the tiny islands dotted with palm trees and thatched-roof Kuna villages.

The Kuna Indians are one of the few pure races existing in the world, a people of great simplicity and charm, who conserve their traditions, beliefs, their myths and their Gods. More than 20,000 indians live in these idyllic islands, in small palm tree leaf huts (bohios) forming villages on the seashore. Essentially, the Kuna are fishermen; however, they also cultivate coconut, corn, rice, cocoa and yucca. Mother nature has provided generously for the Kuna Indians and during your stay you will feast on delicious fresh seafood.

They are determined to protect their heritage and the environment and are virtually self-governing. The Panamanian Government gave the Kuna the authority to form a "comarca" (Autonomous Territory) of San Blas, where an indigenous, independent congress still rules. They have sovereinty over their territory and the exclusive right to control tourism and agriculture.

The Kuna women stand out in the beautiful landscape, due to their picturesque dresses with beautiful blouses, handmade from the world famous "Mola" of different colours.

Considered as a unique craft which makes it one of the most beautiful indian garments in the world, Kuna women spend countless hours stitching the colorful reverse-appliqué cotton "molas" which are the basis for their dress.

The Kuna woman also highlights her native beauty with large earrings, rings in her nose and a significant amout of pure gold ornaments. .

DOLPHIN ISLAND LODGE.

Owned and operated by a Kuna family, Dolphin Island Lodge is on Uaguitupo Island, about five minutes from the Achutupo airstrip via dugout canoe. The lodge has fresh water showers (no hot water) and toilets in a separate building. Beach front, thatched roof cabins have 3 comfortable beds and a hammock suspended on the front porch. Meals are served in the Bohio dining room overlooking the Caribbean.

An excursion to the neighboring island settlement of Achutupo provides an excellent opportunity to learn more about the Kuna culture and traditional ceremonies.

Visit the communal house of sahilas (Kuna chiefs) to meet the chiefs responsible for enforcing the law of the community as well as offering advice on other aspects of life - including marital problems.

Learn more about the construction of the typical Kuna house, Kuna economy, traditional "mola", and the processing of sugar cane into the local drink.

Snorkeling equipment is available for use around the reef on Dolphin Island or around the nearby deserted island of Islandia, although you may want to bring your own mask for the best fit. Women travelers to the San Blas Islands should wear one -piece swimsuits.


Please contact us for further information:
Global Travel Club
Tel: +44 (0)1268 541732 Fax: +44 (0)1268 541363
E-mail: info@global-travel.co.uk http://www.global-travel.co.uk


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