We ended up staying here, after we got to The Dad Ibe Lodge and they were not expecting us (bad reservation through www.latindestinations.com). We were the only guests at Akwadup Lodge (aka Dolphin Lodge), so they really took good care of us. There were 4 women & 3 men working/living on this island. They are VERY NICE people. Unfortunately, we only speak English - so it was like playing charades trying to communicate. In hindsight, we would recommend knowing Spanish before traveling to Panama. The Kuna people are very small. I think they thought we needed to eat A LOT because we're so much larger.
There are 7 huts for guests to stay in. They include beds, mosquito netting, chairs, luggage area, bathroom (flush toilet, sink, shower), deck, ceiling fan, lights, other fan and bug light. The electricity was not dependable, so a good flashlight is a must. We brought a couple of games to entertain ourselves in the daylight hours.
We visited the community "dog island" with Xavier. It was interesting to see their living conditions, school, medical building, store, government building, etc. We tried to interpret what we could. A couple of little girls asked if they could get their picture taken with me, because they wanted to get $1. It is not appropriate to take pictures of the adult people. So, I kept having to ask Xavier what was OK to take pictures of, or not. Some homes had some appliances (stoves, refrigerators) connected to propane tanks.
We went back with Xavier on Sunday night for church. He ended up being the church leader. The people were very engaged in church - lots of different people were involved, lots of singing, and different activities. It was a celebration. We think that they were Christian. Everyone that came into church personally came up to us to welcome us.
Back at the lodge island, I ended up covered with bug bites. I don't know if they were bed bugs or sand fleas - but they itched like crazy. Use bug spray, even though it is extremely humid. Chameleons ran around in our hut - they didn't bother us.
Need to fly in & out of Achutupu not Playon Chico. This caused some confusion on our trip as well.
Very interesting trip. We have experienced different travel - but this was very unique. Different traditions. Trust throughout an entire community (no locks on doors, raising each others kids, hard lives but simple lives).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- If you want the ocean breeze in a welcoming place, far away from your city and life’s stress, let me help,I would like to tell you about a special place in central America, off the Caribbean coast of Panama.we belong to the Kuna indigenous people and are the owners of two palm fringed eco-tourist lodges on islands in Kuna Yala, meaning Kuna territory (also known as the san Blas Islands). The names of these highly regarded resorts are UAGUINEGA (winner of an International Business award) and AKWADUP, they are on small coral reefs close to the island of Achutupu which has one of the most traditional Kuna cultures, little changed over the centuries. Our guided tours will take you to watch the native women making their world renowned molas; at your selection you may wish to take a trip up river into the rainforest. Enjoy the snorkelling, swimming, or just relax in a palm shaded hammock. At night under the moon and shining stars.We are waiting to greet you. The Kuna dance, culture, stories and enjoyable,unique experience are sure to stay in your memory. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Akwadup Hotel San Blas Islands