Saturday, December 31, 2011

How To Get Out of the San Blas – guest blog

My brother John and sister-in-law Lisa came down for a windy, rainy visit to Kuna Yala land. They had a confirmed reservation on Air Panama out of Curazon de Jesus. It turns out that unless the ticket is prepaid, the reservation meant nothing. If it was paid, then there’d be a better than 66% chance that they would get on the plane. With some last minute VHF and phone calling, we set up them to be picked up by launcha and taken to Carti on the mainland. Here they would get a 4-wheel drive vehicle for the ride over the mountains on the road that is only open to Kunas. Their description:
We're back to the land of - well, shall we say other stuff than Kuna Yala.  We had a great time in Panama with you guys.  Thanks for all that you did to make us feel welcomed on Jeorgia.
The trip back was a bit of an experience.  The guy that took us to the landing seemed to know what he was doing - he only hit bottom once.  Also, the motor almost died - but a short rest and it was as good as it was.  The river entrance was a little hairy - lots of driftwood grounded on reefs.  Not where I'd like to go without local knowledge.  The landing was pretty basic - a muddy embankment with a hut and an outhouse.  More people than I thought would be there.  Most were backpacker types on the islands for a 2 night guided stay.  I think the dive group we saw at Dog Island were the same type.  There were lots of 4x4s coming and going.  The guy that drove us in got us in the right one.  The drive started on a mud road - fording a stream or two before we got to the paved road.  Then about 1.5 hrs of a very steep, up and down windy road to the highway.  Total time to Panama city from the landing about three hours.  We did hitch up with the folks on Trixie - their mail is safely under way.

John and Lisa

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