Prairie kids get on a sailboat…

San Blas Islands

San Blas Islands–yep, that’s someone’s houes

When I was down in Panama with my boyfriend, we had to get from Panama to Colombia with his and his buddies motorcycles.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Well, there’s actually no road that connects North and South America, due to an area of land called the Darien Gap.

To quickly sum up, there’s no road, no police, and lots of nasty stuff that is best avoided by most people.  Check out Dark Roasted Blend‘s article about the Darien Gap for more details and pictures of the jungle.

So, we couldn’t ride the bikes through, but we could take a sailboat from Portobello, Panama, through the San Blas Islands and on into Cartagena, Colombia.  Cool, right?

Two of the five motorcycles that were strapped down on the bow of the boat

Two of the five motorcycles that were strapped down on the bow of the boat

I could write a book about my experience on a sailboat–let’s just say, a girl from the prairies isn’t really all that cut out for sailing rough seas for 3 days.  Seasickness is not a good time.

However, we did get a chance to visit the San Blas Islands, to which the only access is by sailboat.  That was an incredible experience unto itself.  The picture at the top of this post shows one of the many islands that make up the living spaces for the Kuna people who live here.  Here’s a shot of one of the larger islands that hosts a number of families:

San Blas Island

San Blas Islands–One of the larger islands

Visiting the islands was a rare opportunity to experience a place where the people live in such a different way than I’ve seen.  It was a stunningly beautiful place, and I’m very glad to have survived the seasickness in order to experience their culture.


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