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San Blas or Contadora

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San Blas or Contadora

Hello to all,

My wife and I will be visiting Panama in February and are trying to figure out which islands to visit. San blas or Contadora? We enjoy the beachlife and nature. We like adventure and dont mind if there is no electricity. Any insight is greatly appreciated. Thank you to all and have a Great New Year!!!!!!

Panama City, Panama
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1. Re: San Blas or Contadora

They are so totally different...

The San Blas Islands (Kuna Yala) are a self governing area populated by the Kuna indians and most of the 360+ islands are nothing more than a bit of sand and a few coconut trees. On some of the larger islands you can now find rustic lodges - some are a bit less rustic with wooden floors, private bathrooms etc. Dad Ibe, Dolphin Island and Sapibenega are the more upscale lodges with Yanidup, Kuanidup and others offering less "comfort". Family style meals are served at all the lodges with some offering better quality and quantity than others but most of it based around seafood that is locally collected. There are no other options for meals when out at one of these lodges. Activities include snorkeling, visiting the Kuna Villages and depending on the lodge they may offer mainland nature tours.

Contadora is a developed island in the Pacific, there are a few resorts/hotels with the largest being an all-inclusive resort at about the 2-star level and not recommended but there are some nice B&B style hotels there. Other restaurants to choose from and just way more infrastructure. Activities include snorkeling and diving, fishing, visiting the beaches (including one nude beach) perhaps taking a boat to the other nearby islands.

Hope this helps,


Panama City, Panama
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2. Re: San Blas or Contadora

San Blas has clear blue water, but very rustic and electricity for short periods ususally enough. The Kuna Indians are very peaceful and wonderful people. If you are into snorkeling, you will love it. They take you to a different desert island each day to swim, etc. No more than a few days is recommended as there is really nothing else except the little islands occupied by the Kuna tribes. You would fly out of the small private airport in PC to get there and back.

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3. Re: San Blas or Contadora

Coral Lodge is fabulous, though not on the beach; it's built over the water next to mangroves. It is located just outside the Kuna Yala province and the Coral Lodge folks can take you to small islands there to snorkel and picnic - very private.

There is also a sail boat option throughout the San Blas Archipeligo - I've heard it's Fantastic.


4. Re: San Blas or Contadora

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