Is Scuba Diving In The San Blas Islands Possible And Are There Any Restrictions On Water Sports?
Caribbean scuba diving vacations in the San Blas islands have for long been banned. Other sports such as kitesurfing in San Blas are also banned by the Kuna Congreso, which, along with the local chiefs, administers the Kuna Yala region of San Blas, Panama.
In recent years, scuba diving has become a very common Caribbean and a very often requested activity. A huge and steadily growing business for those operators that offer their diving services in islands such as Grand Cayman, Belize, Mexico, Bonaire, etc. Dedicated diving resorts have sprouted all around the Caribbean and today, enjoying a Caribbean scuba diving holiday is pretty much a straightforward choice.
Scuba diving in the San Blas Islands has been banned for years for both personal and professional scuba divers. Main reason for such ban is the reluctancy of the Kuna Indigenous to share their lobsters and other fish with the outsiders. Yes, the kunas associate scuba diving with poaching. We understand this is by far a very simplistic approach to the issue, however, we as outsiders must fully respect their decisions and comply as much as possible with the rulings by the Congreso General Kuna.
Scuba diving is often associated with a problems derived from poorly maintained equipment (specially in remote areas), sickness such as pulmonary embolism and nitrogen narcosis can have devastating effects on scuba divers. No scuba diving resorts in the San Blas Islands, no scuba diving shops to be seen means that when/if venturing on a scuba diving expedition in San Blas, you are totally on your own and any mishap can very fast result in a serious crisis, one that you do not want to be in, trust us...not here, not in the San Blas islands.
Medical evacuations area possible in San Blas, and we can fly a helicopter or an airplane in extreme cases. In this years we only had one case we had to fly out of the San Blas islands and that was a guest with broken ribs that fell on deck while on a sailing charter, the cause was too much Abuelo rum. Simply limit your intake of rum while on your catamaran sailing holiday in San Blas and you will be just fine.
Kitesurfing in San Blas is also partly banned and when kitesurfing the waters of Kuna Yala, one must choose the most secluded anchorages and most importantly ask the local chiefs for a written permission which is usually a few $.
Last banned activity is jet skiing and of course jet skis. their disturbance to wildlife and people is not present in the San Blas Islands, you can relax and nothing will interfere with you peace.