As you may have guessed, we are a family of beach lovers. We were bit by the beach bug when we first visited Anguilla in 2002.
Since then, our curiosity for finding more "bluuuetiful" seas has grown. Few spots compare to Anguilla, but every now and then we find a gem that comes close.
One such gem? The beaches of Panama's San Blas! Let's sea why...
Beauty For as Far as The Eye Can Sea
When you think of Panama beaches, what comes to mind?
No buildings, no hustle, no bustle? Pristine white sand? Infinite blue waters? The lapping of gentle waves?
That is Panama's San Blas Islands!
San Blas is an archipelago of 365 picture-perfect islands set in Panama's Caribbean Sea.
Welcome to San Blas
These islands are home to the Guna Yala people. They have protected their Caribbean islands, preserving their natural beauty.
You won't find any hotel chains here! Undeveloped and undisturbed, there are no roads and not much electricity.
The only sound other than the ocean is the murmuring of the boats as they make their way to and from the mainland. This is paradise at its most pristine.
The area is home to the best beaches in Panama. Straight out of a postcard, there's no denying the absolute beauty of these shores. The clarity and color of the water is a world best.
How you get here is another reason why these Panama beaches are so protected. By land, it is no easy feat!
Note: All trips to San Blas need to be booked in advance with a licensed tour operator. You will need to show your national ID when entering the territory that surrounds San Blas. See TripAdvisor for a full list of tour companies.
From Panama City it is a 2.5 hour drive through winding jungle mountains. A true journey, it's worth ever pot-hole bump in the road when you see these sparkling waters...
San Blas Bliss
Once you are on the water, tours typically include one stop at a main and populated island. The one shown in the photos below is Dog Island.
Dog Island, San Blas
While no doubt beautiful, these islands get busy come Panama's "summer months" of December-February. Although Panama is north of the equator, December-February marks their summer. This is when weather is best in Panama.
Beach Days at Dog Island
Folks book a hostel (no "hotels" in San Blas) or bring their tents and set up camp. Indeed, San Blas is a popular beach spot with Panamanian families when school is out.
If you want to escape the crowds on the popular islands?...
Ask your tour operator for a private boat trip. Speak with your captain ahead of time to plan to visit a number of islands. And when I say number, I mean number!
As you cruise through the vast blue sea, you will spot more islands than you can count.
Each one is more picturesque than the next.
The beauty doesn't end at these Panama beaches...
A trip to San Blas isn't complete without visiting the sand bars. Parts of San Blas are replete with shallow sand bars. They make for a wonderful snorkeling excursion.
There's no better feeling, too, than popping onto a sandbar and having a 360 degree view of blue washing around you!
After a day at sea, hunger calls...
Lunch at Dog Island begins with fresh pineapple and slices of juicy watermelon. Just a little ways off the equator, there's no topping the freshness of Panama's fruits.
Fresh Fruit Appetizer
The same goes for its "fruits of the sea!"
Plucked right from the ocean just yards away, this is seaside dining at its freshest.
The typical San Blas meal is a seafood dish served with salad and your choice of tostones or rice.
Fried Fish & Tostones
After a tasty oceanfront lunch, what's better than snoozing by the sea?...
Press play below for a dose of tranquility, Panama-style.