A paradise island is good, but let’s agree that a complex with four is even better, right? Well, the small islands of Coco Bandero, in Kuna Yala (San Blas), are mandatory stops during the trip. This is because in a small space you can get to know several islands and, as much as they are close and similar, each one has its specificities.
Two islands are inhabited and the other two are not. One is completely deserted and of course we started our day by strolling through it, right? But make no mistake: it is not because it is empty that it is cleaned – quite the contrary. As it is the kunas that clean the garbage that comes from the currents of the Pacific, the islands without inhabitants are much dirtier.
Even before the sun went down, we left for one of the inhabited islands. There we met a wonderful couple: Cristobalina and Patrício. Both are kunas but have lived life in Panama City. Cristobalina, for example, left Kuna Yala at the age of 15 and returned only now, at 60.
As tourism has grown a lot in recent years and she was entitled to two islands in Coco Bandero, she decided to return. Aah, and remember that I spoke of the group of 32 women who are in the region to evangelize the kunas? So, Cristobalina is one of them!
But look, she is one of the most open-minded women we know there. The daughters do not wear typical costumes and she did not force any of them to wear the winis after menarche or cut their hair after the wedding. She is also against the family choosing the husband for the women and so she left her daughters free to make their own choices.
By the way, Patrício is your second husband, okay? They have been together for 37 years and are now starting to build a new cabin on one of the still deserted islands of Coco Bandero. For now, they continue to live on one of the already populated islands.
Patrício was a chef in Panama and invited us to dinner at the cabin. Of course we accept, after all, it is not every day that you have a chef at your disposal. As they are “new” in the region and not all sailboats know them, I think it’s worth the tip to look for the couple. In addition to being very friendly, Paulo simply loved dinner. I, unfortunately, didn’t taste it because I didn’t have a vegetarian option: /
They usually have dinner at 6 pm and, even with our delay of almost 2 hours, everyone was very dear. The full moon night was beautiful and the company even better.
The house was very simple, so much so that dinner was served on a wooden table full of things (birthday candle, aerosol, cleaning products …) and everyone was sitting on the same log. The menu was a huge snapper fish with onions and peppers that Paulo loved: ultra crispy shell on the outside and very moist and soft on the inside. To accompany, it could not be different: a very light coconut rice.
It was at that dinner that we were able to talk even more with the couple and even met their grandchildren. As I had commented in the post about Kuna culture, traditions are being lost and, for you to have an idea of this impact, the grandchildren do not speak even more Kuna, only Spanish: /
The night was great and it is clear that the next day we took the opportunity to visit the island not yet populated by Cristobalina. The place is very clean and still deserted, that is, a true paradise.
As if all the amazing things we discovered in the conversation with the family were not enough, Cristobalina still makes beautiful springs!
The post was great, but I couldn’t summarize it! There were so many beautiful places, so many stories and so many curiosities that it was difficult to cut information. I hope you enjoyed it and when you go to Kuna Yala, don’t miss this couple 😉