Guna yala

Guna Yala is a comarca, or indigenous territory, in Panama inhabited by the Guna ethnic group. Its capital is El Porvenir. It borders the Caribbean Sea to the north, the province of Darién and the Emberá- Wounnan indigenous territory to the south, Colombia to the east, and the province of Colón to the west.

Guna Yala in the Guna language means "Guna Land" or "Guna Mountain." The area was known as San Blas up until 1982, then later as Kuna Yala. The name was changed again in October 2011 when the Guna people asserted that the letter "K" is not pronounced in their native language and Kuna was switched to Guna. The official name for the region is now Guna Yala.

Location

The Guna Yala Comarca is located on the Caribbean coast of Panama. It covers a strip of land 230 kilometers long and from 10 to 20 kilometers wide. The inland area is approximately 3,220 km2. There is also the offshore marine area, including reefs, keys, islands (more than 360), and fishing areas. All together, the indigenous territory has a total area of over 5,400 km2.

How to arrive

  • Plane: A flight from the Marcos A. Gelabert airport in Albrook to the runway in the region takes about 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Car: A 4x4 vehicle should be used for this trip, taking the Pan-American Highway from Panama City towards the province of Darién. At the village of El Llano, turn left and northwards to ascend the mountain range and then back down on the other side until you reach the Caribbean Sea. Here the Guna will be waiting with their boats to take you to the different islands.

What to bring

  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Swimming suit
  • Water bottle
  • Snorkeling gear

Activities

  • Snorkeling
  • Observation of flora and fauna