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The Honeymoon

Photos

**Post-wedding note:  Check out honeymoon photos here!

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And the final decision for honeymoon destination goes to…. (drum roll)… The San Blas Islands in Panama!

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The San Blas Islands of Panama are a remote archipelago of 365 islands located off Panama’s Caribbean coast, east of the Panama Canal. The San Blas Islands are part of Kuna Yala, an autonomous territory inhabited by the Kuna indigenous people.

According to About.com: Central America Travel:

While many of Panama’s islands are scenic, the San Blas Islands just might take the prize as some of Latin America’s most beautiful. Because they’re so hard to get to, they remain visited only by the most intrepid travelers, who stay in island huts and dine on sea-based meals. And because the Kuna people primarily practice traditional lifestyles, the islands prove an escape straight out of a castaway novel.

The islands are so remote in fact, that they are hardly even visible on Google Maps (try it!), so I grouped together some other maps to show where exactly they are:

Maps of the San Blas Islands in Panama

The Kuna indigenous people used to wear few clothes and decorated their bodies with colorful designs. When encouraged to wear clothes by the missionaries, they followed their body painting designs in their Molas, which they still wear as clothing.

Kuna Bird Mola

The Kuna Indians worship a god named Erragon. They believe that this god came and died just for the Kuna people. The Kuna Indians were driven off Panama during the Spanish invasion and they fled in their boats to the 365 islands around. The chief of all the islands lives on an island called Acuadup, which means rock island. The Kuna are hunters and fishers, they are a very clean people and on some of the islands have opportunities to attend school. Most of the men now speak Spanish, though the women carry on older traditions.  Up until the 1990’s, coconuts served as the main currency among the Kuna on the islands

In these small islands, William Dampier started and ended his first journey with privateers and pirates 1679-1681. He called them “The Samballoes”, a rendevous-place for pirates, convenient for hiding and careening.

To really experience the pirate history of the area, the two of us are planning to start off the trip with a 4 day/3 night live-aboard sailing trip around the islands on the mighty Andiamo.

The Andiamo (in background)

The Amiando

After that, we are thinking of staying a few nights at the Coral Lodge, a self-proclaimed “eco-adventure lodge set in a pristine natural habitat” and complete with a handful of over-water bungalows, which are the only habitation on the island.

Coral Lodge Arial View

Coral Lodge Over-water Bungalows

In addition, since the Coral Lodge falls just barely outside of the self-governed Kuna’s jurisdiction, it is also one of the very few places among the islands where scuba diving is permitted (Kuna laws prohibit scuba diving).  According to dive operators in Panama, in the San Blas Islands we can…

…dive a new destination with no crowds, no schedules and nothing set, except the amazing outer reefs and marine life of the San Blas Archipelago.  The extensive unexplored pristine reef known as “Baja Escribano” is under water wilderness of un-touched corals, sponges and a variety of marine life.  Chances are you will be the first to explore a given area on most dives.  In this rich, vibrant venue you can see different rays, moray eels, parrotfish, nurse sharks, mantas, barracuda, the occasional porpoise and many other colourful fish.  With twice the diversity of hard corals (68) as Costa Rica and over sixty different species of marine sponges alone, San Blas was designated as one of the ten best preserved reef areas in the world.

So far, this trip looks like it will easily be satisfying just about every one of our wildest honeymoon fantasies.  Here is the checklist:

  • Great deal on airfare (sorry, Thailand)
  • Off the beaten path (not even Google Maps can find them!)
  • Fascinating local culture (whip out the Kuna phrase book)
  • GREAT scuba diving and snorkeling (hello, coral)
  • Over-water bungalows (take that, Bora Bora)
  • Living on a boat (pirate practice)

What else could a newly married “mr. & mrs.” ask for?

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Join Us!

Sound like fun?  Wish you could come?  Well you can!

Since we love to travel, we gave a lot of thought to having a destination wedding, but instead we came up with what we thought might be a fun compromise: a non-destination wedding (in Riverside), but with a party-honeymoon afterward for anyone who would be willing/available to travel with us!

So, though we realize that it’s pretty short notice at this point, we would love to share the first half of our trip with friends and family.  We arrive in Panama City on Tuesday evening (7/20), and on the 23rd we start the 3 night/4day group sailing trip through the San Blas Archipelago.  There should still be a few spots lets on the Andiamo (the sailboat), plus the flights and the sailing trip are both very reasonably priced.

If you’re considering joining us, here are the important details and steps you should take…

1) See if there is space on the boat (there should be at this point – but you never know).  Go to this website, http://theandiamo.com/logwp/sail-andiamo/sail-the-san-blas-islands/ for more details on the sail and to make a reservation (you’ll need a 1/4 of the total fare to reserve your spot).  The boat trip is $300 which is a really good price.

2) Book your flight.  Mexicana has roundtrip for $375 (at least they did last I checked) from LAX (more expensive from other places).  We’re leaving out of LAX (12:05am on Tuesday the 20th) and flying into PTY (Panama City). We are staying until the 9th of August, but would be separating from anyone else for some solo time on August 1st.  You could stay as long as you wanted though.

3) Make sure you have a valid passport either now or in time for the flight.

4) Check on immunization your need/already have and get malaria pills.

5) Everything else is just small talk and we can discuss it later.  Also, if you want help with step 4, we’d be happy to help!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to send us an e-mail or give us a call, spots on the boat won’t stay open for long!

Again, we hope some of you can join us!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Olivia permalink
    August 29, 2015 5:56 am

    How did you arrange transportation from Tocumen to San Blas?

  2. Thomas N permalink
    October 20, 2015 4:53 am

    Hey! I stumbled upon your blog while researching my own honeymoon. Did you guys end up staying at the Coral Lodge? If so I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. I’m between a couple places at the moment.

    Thanks,
    Thomas

    • Katie R permalink*
      October 20, 2015 5:14 pm

      Hi Thomas,
      We loved it! Beautiful and secluded setting, great food and excellent service. Enjoy

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