Puerto Obaldia

Guna Yala

This is the smallest town of the four that comprises Guna Yala indigenous region.  It is located at the Panamanian-Colombian border.  There are no islands to visit as opposed to the rest of San Blas archipelago however there is plenty of natural beauty. 

In this border zone, you can pay in US dollars or Colombian pesos.  Many of its inhabitants migrated over 20 years ago from rural Colombian towns.  Fishermen offer their boats to take tourists to tour the beaches nearby.

The town is so small you can cross it by foot in 10 minutes.  Its location in the middle of the jungle allows a more natural exchange in daily life with the Colombian side than with the Panamanian side, even with Guna Yala region.

La Miel and Playa Blanca

Only about 110 people live in La Miel.  This village has a beautiful white sand beach ‘Playa Blanca’ which is a paradise for the few that visit.  This beach is located next to Tiburon cape, a milestone at the border with Colombia and the beginning of the Darien mountain range.  This cape was discovered by Christopher Columbus in his fourth trip to our continent.  This village is located at the heart of the Darien plug so it is an excellent destination for ecologic tourism.

Food is delicious as they always have fresh sea food to offer.  It is also one of the safest places at the border because there is a military facility of the National Border Service (Senafront).  Even though La Miel is part of Guna Yala region, its inhabitants are not of indigenous origin but afro-descendants.


Armila is the last Guna community before reaching the Colombian border.   To get here you need to take a 20 minute boat ride or a 1 hour walk from Puerto Obaldia.  Their houses are very colorful and you will see the House of Congress where they take their important decisions from their hammocks.  The community has its own chief (Sahila).  Tourists can enjoy their traditional dances.

Every year in the month of May there is the Sea Turtle Festival in Armila.  This date was chosen as the Guna Calendar shows this is the month of the turtle.  In Guna culture, turtles are sacred creatures.  In the case of the leatherback sea turtles, which are in serious danger of extinction, are the largest species of all turtles reaching up to 800 kilos in weight (1,763 pounds).  They come to Armila beaches to lay their eggs over 100 kilometers of shore (62 miles).  This is the fourth site with more turtle nests in the world.  Last century about 90% of their population was eliminated and that is why is so important all conservation efforts. 

Capurgana and Sapzurro

This town in the Colombian border has better infrastructure and offer a night life.  The locals call it "Puerto" and many years ago was a crossing point for smuggling products from the Colon Free Zone.

Crossing the border can get complicated as there are many undocumented people trying to reach the United States.  You will see guards with dogs looking for drugs and the border closes at 6 p.m. every day.  There is regular transportation from Puerto Obaldia to Sapzurro and Capurgana.  You can hike for one hour from one town to the other.  You may also want to visit El Cielo waterfall where you will see local fauna. 

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