On her honeymoon, Golden-based adventure and travel writer Emily A. Palm Mulica explores indigenous cultures and tropical islands. Please scroll down for the slide show.
Story and photos by Emily A. Palm Mulica
Despite the fame of the canal, the fact the U.S. dollar serves as the national currency, and the allure of beaches and jungle, not too many Americans visit Panama. I’ve met far more folks who have ventured to Costa Rica (Panama’s northern neighbor), and this was a contributing factor to why my husband and I honeymooned last fall in Central America’s southernmost country.
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Since it was our honeymoon (luna de miel), we designed the trip in more detail than I generally like to before an international adventure, but we were glad for it. Unless you’re taking a short visit to a mainland beach hamlet, buying airline tickets ahead of time is a good idea.
Scoring a seat on a sold-out plane (and it was still the off-season) to the Kuna Yala quelled my plan-ahead travel bugaboo. Most islands in the archipelago are privately owned, so it’s just plain polite to reserve ahead of time to stay at the various island eco-lodges. The exception to this is the hopping beach town of Bocas Del Toro (a Panamanian version of Cabo San Lucas, except with far more character).
We began our trip in the San Blas Islands of the Kuna Yala (“Kuna land”). Culturally rich, the region is governed by the native Kuna population (in 1925 they overthrew the Panamanian government and have been officially recognized as sovereign since 1930). We spent four nights at the Sapibenega Kuna Lodge near Playon Chico, then traveled two hours by boat to Isle Tigre to kayak for three days in rivers through mangrove forests and through kilometers of open ocean to island beaches.
Emily A. Palm Mulica is a freelance adventure and travel writer based in Golden, Colo. She writes a ski and outdoors column for the Ft. Collins Coloradoan and is available for freelance travel writing assignments, Web and press release writing, and more. Reach her at www.EmilyPalm.com.