AÂ friend is spending two months down in Panama in various areas.Â He just got back from visiting the San Blas Islands off Panama a couple of weeks ago.Â While there he had a wonderful time and wanted me to include the place he stayed in my Ecotourism Lodge Directlory.Â The only problem is that the man who runs it doesn’t have a website for his eco homestay, so I thought I’d add it to my blog.Â Following is my friends description:
Elias Perez Martinez is a Kuna Indian who was educated in Panama City and the United States. He is the principal of the elementary school on Isla Corbiski, Kuna Yala, Panama; the San Blas Islands. He has opened a different type of hostel in a Kuna village. His idea is to provide an experience for tourists by living in a Kuna Village and seeing the day to day life of the Kuna.Accomodations are basic, for example the ‘shower’ is a barrel of rain water and a bucket, but his wife Soby and her family keep the place neat and tidy and provide food and will do you laundry if you are there for more than a week.
His rates are US$25-US$35/day, which includes three meals and daily excursions to other islands for swimming, or to Carti to visit a larger villiage and see the Kuna museum. You can also take, for a small fee for the gasoline, trips to the main land to visit the rain forest. Elias is also a Kayak guide and hopes to provide camping in the future.
If you want to experience life in a Kuna Village I highly recommend this. I stayed for two weeks and enjoyed it all.
You can contact Elias by phone (507) 6708-5254 in Panama, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or you can book through (and pay by credit card) Ancon Expeditions http://www.anconexpeditions.com/ in Panama City. Elias also guides for Ancon.
I’d really like to see Elias make a go of this as he is a wonderful person and really wants to protect Kuna culture and at the same time provide more services for tourists. Most people who go to the San Blas Islands stay at places where the Kuna are only curiosities.
I contacted Ancon Expeditions and you have to mention this place specifically if you want to book here.Â Your best bet will probably be to email Elias for further information.