Guna Yala

Playon Chico

Playon Chico is also known as ‘Ukupseni’ which means small beach. The island is very small but is one of the most populated in Guna Yala region with more than 3,000 people living there. They use traditional materials such as bamboo and cane and palm tree leaves (pencas) to build their houses. But you will also see houses made of concrete, a church and a Health Center.

The Playon Chico airport is located in mainland and you can cross to the island by boat or walking through the connecting bridge. This bridge has contributed to the devolopment of the town as schools, drinking water and food come from mainland. Playon Chico people grow their own food through subsistance agriculture and fishing. They also trade coconuts with Colombian ships that pass by the area. Visitors can buy their handcrafts like the "molas" which are more elaborated here than other parts of the Guna region.

There are several coral islands near Playon Chico including San Ignacio de Tupile, Irgandi and Ukupa. All these islands are over a coral reef. These communities are not for bathing in the water but rather ideal for snorkeling.

Near Playon Chico is Yandup Island Lodge known as the best hotel in the Guna Yala region. It is not inexpensive but offers a first class rustic experience. There is no electricity or air conditioning or hot water, wifi, TV or internet, just solar panels to offer basic services to guests. Cabins are built over the water with traditional materials where they aim to offer such an experience as guests connect to their surroundings.


Achutupo means Isla Perro (Dog Island), but it should not be confused with the famous Isla Perro Chico (Small Dog Island) which is identified by a sunk boat. This Guna community has an estimated population of 1,735 inhabitants and is located in the Eastern part of Guna Yala. The airport is on mainland right next to the island. Mamitupo and Ailigandí are neighbor communities.

This is really not a touristic destination. There is no lodging service. Some tourists are taken here for the day to experience the daily way of living and to buy handcrafts. The women in this zone produce handcrafts of much better quality than those in the Western part of Guna Yala which is extremely touristic.


Ogobsucum airport services the communities of Guna, Ustupu and Ogobsucum. These communities are part of Ailigandi region.

‘Ustupu’ means "Rabbit island" and is the largest in Guna Yala region with an estimate of 6,000 inhabitants. Sus habitantes llegaron de tierra firme a la isla en 1903, casi al mismo tiempo que Panamá conseguía su independencia de Colombia. En 1911, un incendio destruyó casi todas las casas de la comunidad. El Sahila Yaigun decidió mover la comunidad a la isla de Gusebgandub. Pero muchos quisieron quedarse incluyendo un joven llamado Iguaibilikinya, luego conocido como Nele Kantule, que organizó la Revolución Guna en 1925. Luego el Sahila Yaigun volvió a Ustupu ubicando la nueva comunidad en la parte norte de la isla con el nombre ‘Ogobsucum’.

Cabañas Kosnega es la mejor opción de alojamiento en Ustupo. Tienen 9 habitaciones con luz eléctrica proporcionada por paneles solares. Su restaurante moderno se especializa en mariscos y pescado. Debes probar el ‘Dule Masi’ que es una tradicional sopa de plátano con leche de coco acompañada por un pescado frito.


Mulatupo's airport is located on an island about 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) east of the town. Landing is a beautiful experience as the plane practically goes over the entire island with water on both sides. There are always boats waiting for Air Panama arriving flights to take you to Mulatupo Sasardi.

This is not really a touristic destination however some tourists come to appreciate the local way of living. Although streets have no name it is easy to walk around town. There are no banks or ATM's so make sure to bring cash.

There is no lodging service on the island so if you plan to stay overnight you have to ask around if a family will take you in. Mulatupo island is very close to mainland and is connected by a bridge.

Puerto Obaldia

This is the smallest town of the four that comprise Guna Yala. It is located on the border between Panama and Colombia. Even though there are no islands to visit, in contrast to San Blas archipelago located at the other side of Guna Yala, Puerto Obaldia has natural beauty that compensates.

In this border town you can use US dollars as well as Colombian pesos as currency. The local fishermen are always willing to take tourists on their boats and explore the nearby beaches.

This colorful town is so small you can walk around and cover it entirely in 10 minutes. Its location in the middle of the jungle makes it easier to have cultural and commercial exchange with Colombia than with Panama.

We fly to:

  • Playon Chico
  • Achutupo
  • Ogobsucum
  • Mulatupo
  • Puerto Obaldia

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