San Blas, paradise on a boat
San Blas is a group of 365 islands in the Atlantic, part of the Caribbean coast off Panama. In Panama you’ll here it marketed as “An island for every day of the year,” and it’s true! It’s the home of indigenous Kuna Indians, who inhabit the district called Kuna Yala (also called Guna Yala). Only 50 islands are inhabited. To get a clear idea of what it looks like, picture a children’s drawing of a sandy little island with a few palm trees on it – that’s a typical San Blas island. My dad and youngest sister were visiting us in Panama and we decided to discover the islands by boat.
I was kind of nervous prior to our departure how Mila would be reacting to the waves, the limited space on a boat, new foods & more. My mind was all about safety – how can we manage to watch her at all times, that she doesn’t fall off the boat or slip off or fall out of the bed at night – will she accept the swim vest? A 1,000 questions were running through my mind the days leading to our departure.
And I am so happy to report, that once you get there, all worries are forgotten. Mila was the happiest she’s been out in the Caribbean paradise. She slept perfectly, she loved the waves while on the boat (fell asleep on the “lancha” (small boat) ride bringing us to the sailing boat and back). She actually had some serious “sea legs” right off the start. San Blas is the home of millions of coconuts and coconut water is one of her favorite things in the world. So it was a perfect match.
This trip just confirmed to me again, that if your gut tells you something (sometimes only very deep down, covered by plenty of worries), go for it. Keep your mind open, take safety measures for sure, but go for it. Your kids are much more flexible, adaptable than you think. If you give them the opportunity to surprise you with the adaptation, they will.
Some tips: bring your kids favorite snacks (to overcome some hunger till mealtimes (cooking on a boat can take longer than at home, patience is key), kids water bottle to keep refilling (lots of extra fluids needed out in the tropical heat), a few easy & quiet toys which can withstand salt water & sun, something familiar for bed time (favorite blanket or stuffed animal), and in our case a potty. Mila always had the best view while on the potty those days…. And of course a swim vest.