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Austin (Texas)

San Blas Islands, Panama

Is it safe to take children to the San Blas Islands, Panama?

We are going to Panama next November and I'm a little concerned about taking the kids to such a remote area. The local people I talked to say it's fine, the American websites are full of scary information about malaria, yellow fever and such. I'm Brazilian so I take the medical information with a grain of salt, but I haven't encountered many travelers who have visited the islands who can tell me first-hand what's reasonable and what's an exaggeration.

4 Answers

top answer by
Peter from Munich

I have been to San Blas Islands for a long weekend. I was there with two Panamanian friends. I haven't seen very young kids but there was a couple with maybe a 14 year old boy.

In my opinion San Blas is very safe. At least not worse than the rest of Panama. The locals are super friendly and supply you with food fresh made by them. But if you want you can also bring your own food. Some people even brought there own BBQ grill and everything. I speak very like Spanish but there are some locals who actually speak English. Also San Blas is treated like a separate country in Panama. There will be a little fee for crossing the "border". In my case it was 2$ per person. You also can bring your own tents if you stay overnight or rent it from locals, but set it up before you go there.

I personally felt safer in San Blas as in Panama itself. The water is very clear and gorgeous beaches.

I have some pictures of it on my Flickr page.

Hope this helps...

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answered by
Alix from Panama City

San Blas is a must-see in Panama; you and your family will surely enjoy it! I have also not met anyone concerned about malaria on the islands. It is a picturesque, tranquil location, with friendly locals...(as long as you don't take pictures of them without permission or take their coconuts without paying).  Also, enjoy all the fresh lobster you can imagine!

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answered by
Anna from New York City

I think it's very safe - especially the island you are staying at! We tried to get a reservation at Yandup, but it was fully booked our week... ended up at Kuanidup, which is more rustic but perfectly beautiful (tiny). 

The only safety caution I would give is not related to illness at all -- beware not to take photos when crossing the "border" into San Blas Islands. They are very serious about not wanting to be photographed, and beyond being respectful of their beliefs and customs, it just feels unwise to have an argument in such a remote location. The couple we were with were photographing, and were forced to delete all photos. 

One more tip: Dog Island is not worth your time -- guarantee your island is nicer, less crowded, and not as dirty. 

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answered by
Jennifer from Panama City, Panama

Hi Luciana. It is. We went there while our boys were three and four. They had tons of fun.  The only thing is that one of my boys got a really bad rash, but his skin is hypersensitive. You might want to take a little first aid kit, with some hydro-cortisone cream on it just in case.  

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