Day 102-104 San Blas Islands
We got into our 4WD at 5:30am packed with keen tourists, including the two young British girls from our hostel going to the same island, ready for what many had described to us as 'paradise'. We drove for about 20 minutes, pulled up into a supermarket car park where we all jumped out, paid our money, got a wrist band for our trip back and then stocked up on supplies for the islands. There was no way of buying food, drink or anything on the island so you had to bring all your water and snacks with you. We then drove for another hour before stopping at a road side shack where if you had not eaten breakfast previously you could feast on deep fried dough, deep fried chicken, deep fried eggs and soft drink. It was amazing how many people took this option. Back on the road and onto the dirt tracks through the jungle. Finally we arrived at the river bank in the thick of the jungle where we waited for our long wooden boat to take us out to sea and to our island.
The mozzies were fierce but we were on the boat in no time and were slowly put- putting away up the river and into the sea. We passed a few closer islands on the way where locals lived in wooden huts hanging out over the water and men sat in little fishing boats waiting for the days catch. Within no time the water had turned a beautiful blue and we could see the shallow reef bellow us. Dotted ahead were many little islands of varying sizes some with just a few palm trees and nothing else, others with small huts and wooden shelters and others with thick vegetation. We were getting excited, which one was ours.
After a 20minute boat ride we pulled up towards a small island that you could see across from one side to the other. This was our home for the next few days, Island Aguja. It consisted of white sand beaches, palm trees, one main eating area that was open on all sides, a few huts for the local family that lived there and then 4 other huts for us, the tourists. We wandered up onto the bank and were greeted by a few ladies dressed in their traditional Kuna dress of colourful embroided material and many beaded bracelets and anklets.
We quickly changes into our bathers and got ready for the first activity of the day...laying on the beach reading a book. Perfect. A few hours later we were called to the eating area for lunch which consisted of seriously tasty fish, rice and salad. This became our staple diet for the next 3 days. You could either have chicken or fish and it came with rice or plantain and salad. You could also get any of the other options on the menu and just pay alittle more than the set included price. One night we thought we would splurge and get some lobster seeing as though we had seen the fishermen bring in many enormous ones. Brendan and I went down to the dock where they kept the days catch in a cage for people to pick and eat. They picked each one up and told us a price. It was ridiculously cheap and so we picked a nice big one, had a few photos and headed back to the eating area. It tasted amazing and came out with rice and salad again!
We spent our time chilling out on the beach, ready books, snorkelling, swimming, listening to coconuts fall, playing beach soccer, eating fish and watching the day trippers come and go. One of the days we took a boat trip over to another island which had a small ship wreck close by that you could snorkel around. It was great snorkelling with fantastic clear water and beautiful fish. This place was seriously like a post card. The water was just so beautiful and warm and the sand was clean and white.
Our hut was at one end of the island and the bathroom was at the other, even though the island was about the size of a football field. One night I woke a little busting so I stepped outside to find a spot behind a palm tree to relieve myself. The sky was so clear and it was a full moon which made it look as though it was the middle of the day. The whole island was lit up and seeing as though there were no lights on, it looked just amazing in the moonlight. I walked around to the back side of my hut and could see the coral through the water that was how light and clear the night was. I had an amazing midnight pee experience in Nepal with clear skies and stars and this night was just as amazing. I almost wanted to wake up busting the next night just to see if it was that beautiful again.
We had a really fun time with the two British girls and felt like we could have really stayed there for a lot longer and just let the world go by for a few more days. On the day we were to leave, we were contemplating staying another night but them the skies opened up and the rain came in. There is not alot to do on a deserted island when its raining. We decided maybe it was a sign and we should go back to Panama City. We all huddled under the eating area and waiting for it to settle long enough for us to get the boat back to the river mouth. Finally it did and we got back into the 4WD and took the journey back to the city.
If anyone gets the chance, you should definitely go to the San Blas Islands!!!