As I wander through websites searching for a paradise retirement locale, I come across some very interesting places to visit. I prefer the road less travelled; some quiet, beautiful spot with palm trees and turquoise beaches, and not a lot of tourists.
That’s how I found the San Blas Panama Eco-Resort . San Blas is a archipelago of 378 islands laying along the Caribbean coast of Panama, home to the Kuna Indians. Only 50 or so islands are actually inhabited, so it is remarkable for its remoteness and pristine beauty.
The San Blas Panama Eco-Resort is, well, rustic; when you sleep in a hut there, we’re not talking the luxury villas of the Bora Bora’s St. Regis; we’re talking a HUT. Here’s a sweet description from their website:
Our roomy and comfortable cabins are build on piles in the sea. You will enjoy, from a beautifull terrace, a 180 degree escenic view of the Caribbean, where you can enjoy the sun, watch the stars and feel the amazing sea breeze. The cabins have 24 hours electricity thanks to solar panels installed on the roof of each cabin. The cabins have running water, a ceiling fan and a hammock. In a few words: this cabin is built for enjoying all the luxuries of a tropical environment.
I couldn’t find a review of this eco-resort, so, intrigued by the idea of an eco-friendly resort, I kept looking. I found a few more in the same location. Take, for example, the Yandup Island Lodge: 6 cabins over the water and 4 beach-front, all with solar-powered electricity, etc., like the San Blas Panama. The Yandup, however, has customer reviews:
I must admit, as compared to other reviewers here, I was there for 5 nights, so I was exposed to the island a bit more than necessary and this might have influenced my opinion. I took this vacation as an affordable and closer surrogate to Tahiti or other remote island destinations. And if it were not for the horrible weather there is a remote possibility that it might have been…
It wasn’t. But lets get to the facts:The place: a small island, postcard or national Geographic beautiful, about 1 km away from the mainland, covered with coconuts, a few Noni trees and a green carpet of nonnative grass added 11 years ago, when they started. The attempt to introduce non native species to the fragile island ecosystem still continues, they are trying to plant some decorative shrubs on the island as well. Already the native coconut trees produce less fruit than on the other nearby islands and it is a pity there is no undestanding how these small changes can affect the island.The weather: this was the main thing in my decision of giving 2 stars to the property. Yes, I know, they are not directly responsible, but this is part of the equation [sic] and if I knew it in advance I would have never gone there. Throughout the 5 days of our stay, except for 4 hours, there was a thick layer of menacing clouds all over. This, together with a strong wind, made swimming really unpleasant.The stay: As I mentioned before, I stayed for 5 days. Almost everybody that stayed mere than 3 days attempted to leave early. Most positive reviews here are from people that stayed 2 days, which is bearable and one can enjoy the beauty.The cabins: We had a cabin over the water. ….the water arriving is semi-salted, which makes the bedsheets, although clean, be sticky, smelly and unpleasant, more so with time. During powerful rains water comes inside through the walls (somehow to be expected) but some people complained of waves reaching the inside of the cabin from bellow as well (it tdid not happen to us ).Food: barely minimal. I was hungry at all time and others complained as well. It is very fresh but in such low amounts that one wonders if we were one vacation or at a “prepare for bariatric surgery” convention. Also a very small amount of fruit and vegetables, definitely lower than the FDA recommended amounts.
The personnel: these are Kuna indians, extremely kind and nice.
There’s rustic, and there’s primitive. Nothing wrong with either, but I don’t think I’m a primitive kind of gal. And I like to eat.