Paddling in Croatia

Hola! I hope this finds everyone well:) I’m still in Panama, getting ready for the final sea kayaking trip of the season to Guna Yala, on the Caribbean. However, I’m always dreaming of future padding destinations (the list is long!). I’ll spend this summer guiding my 7th season in Prince William Sound, Alaska. . then my sights are set for Croatia in October. I’ll be doing an exploratory trip to plan an amazing itinerary that I am excited to offer in 2019. It will include paddling the gorgeous Zadar Archipelago, with day trips for hiking to the surrounding National Parks, wine-tasting at local vineyards, and city tours with local guides. More updates to come about this exciting trip offering. Please stay tuned and contact me if you are interested.


Paddling in Croatia

As for now, I’d like to share a wonderful blog post written by the local operator which I will be collaborating with for my upcoming trip. Paddling Croatia in winter! Looks amazing. Please check it out.


Sea cave exploration, Croatia


kayaking kornati croatia

Paddling in wintertime, Croatia

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog about a recent 4-day sea kayaking and snorkeling adventure to the beautiful Isla Coiba National Park on the Pacific side. Isla Coiba is a gem of this magnificent country, and any trip to Panama should definitely include a visit here. Here’s a sneak peak from the adventure, which included close encounters with monkeys, sea turtles, and reef sharks, a spectacular sunset paddle, and so much snorkeling right from our kayaks:

Sunset paddle at Isla Coiba, Panama

This Sea Turtle swam directly under our kayaks, Isla Coiba, Panama

A hammock is obligatory, Isla Coiba, Panama

I could have touched this Sea Turtle (I didn’t. . . but I could have!), Isla Coiba, Panama

Isla Coiba is the best place to snorkel in all of Panama. It’s like snorkeling in an aquarium.

Thanks for reading. I hope that you have enjoyed these adventures!


Why am I writing about this? Why does it matter?

I’m sharing this with you because the Guna Revolution is a unique celebration of a fascinating culture that YOU can experience for yourself. This is something that you can travel to witness and even participate in. The Guna want people to see their Revolution celebration. It is open to the public and they are very welcoming and eager to share their culture with visitors! In fact, they asked me to tell as many people about it as possible. For those of you who are up for real adventure travel, you will be grateful for the journey. Following is my story from the 93rd Anniversary of the Guna Revolution:


The traditional Guna dance to celebrate the Revolution, Isla Tigre

I made it back from the Guna Revolution! It was quite the journey to get out to Isla Tigre, which included getting left behind by the only boat of the day to make the long-distance journey. Now I know. . . if you want to go to Isla Tigre, you have to show up with the Guna passengers and NOT when the tourists show up. It was a happy accident however. I spent an extra night on a beautiful island called Nurdup and got to spend more time with this little guy, Cristian, who is the closest thing to a Pokemon that I have ever met. Adorable!


Tigre is my favorite community that I’ve been to in Guna Yala (formerly known as San Blas) on the Caribbean side of Panama, which is where I guide kayaking trips. I’m not going to go into too much detail about what the Guna Revolution is because I recently wrote a blog about that, which you can find here. However, in a nutshell, the Guna are an indigenous group of Panama, who fought the Panamanian police, which culminated in a battle in February 1925. The Guna won and gained semi-autonomy. February 25 is a day of grand celebration on some of the communities in Guna Yala, the territory that the Guna inhabit.


Guna kids celebrating at the beach after their dramatic reenactment of the fight against the Panamanian police, Isla Tigre

The first day that I was there (Feb 24) the youth performed a dramatic reenactment of the fight between the Guna on Isla Tigre and the Panamanian police, who had been pressuring the Guna to cease practicing their traditional way of life. This had been going on for many years, building in intensity for the Guna. I was the only non-Guna there on this day. I was encouraged to sit in the front and had a few eager “interpreters” by my side, who were explaining the events to me.

The following day (Feb 25) was the reenactment performed by the adults. It is an hours-long, fascinating unfolding of the most significant event in “recent” Guna history. I’m extremely impressed with the acting of the Guna, who take this dramatization very seriously. It was actually quite amusing when young Guna kids would cry and run away because they thought that their parents were actually getting beaten up by Panamanian police. Don’t judge me. . . you would have thought it was amusing too! The following photos are of Guna actors and actresses during the reenactment of the fight with the Panamanian police.



Community members of Isla Tigre watch the reenactment of the fight between the Panamanian police and the Guna

After the impressive reenactment there was traditional Guna dancing and merriment:) All of the actors and actresses held hands in a large circle and took a few moments to remember and to respect what their elders had experienced during this time. It was a very emotional display by the community. The youth on Isla Tigre will certainly not soon forget what their elders went through to enjoy the freedom that they experience today. I was told that this reenactment is obligatory to attend by all community members.


I hope that you enjoyed reading about my experience during the Guna Revolution, and that you will consider making the journey with me in the future to experience it for yourself. We’ll go kayaking to celebrate:)


Guna youth actresses relax at the beach after performing in the reenactment, Isla Tigre



*If you’re getting this blog in an e-mail, it is much prettier to view it on my website.*

Hello everybody! I have so many adventures to share with you! Stay tuned for upcoming blogs about the amazing experience of celebrating the 93rd Anniversary of the Guna Revolution, and a wonderful 4-day sea kayaking and snorkeling adventure to Isla Coiba on the Pacific side of Panama. First, I’d like to share my experience in a lovely mountain town called El Valle de Antón, where I recently spent two days adventuring with my friend, Kira.


Sunrise over El Valle

The hike: La India Dormida (The Sleeping Indian)

The Legend: Luba, who they called “Flor del Aire”, or “Air Flower” was the daughter of Urraca, the most successful Chief in Panama fighting against the Conquistadores. It was her misfortune to fall in love with one of the Spanish soldiers. Yavari, one of the strongest fighters of her tribe, vied for her affection. When she did not return his love, in despair, he jumped to his death from a mountain top before the Princess’ eyes. In sorrow Princess Flor del Aire left her home and never saw the Spaniard again.
She crossed mountains and valleys bitterly weeping over her fate. Above the beaches of the Caribbean she fell dead looking back at the beloved mountains where she had been born. The mountains were so touched by this sad love story they decided to form the shape of the Princess, and that is how the India Dormida arose.


Our sunrise view-point on the breast of La India Dormida. Can you see her?


El Valle de Antón is only a few hours away from Panama City by bus, which is how I got there. It’s inexpensive and easy to get to from the Albrook Transportation Terminal. This was my second visit to El Valle, and this time around I did one of the “quintessential” El Valle hikes, which is not to be missed if you like gorgeous views. Kira, who is one of my favorite adventure friends, is always up for anything! We had planned to do some hiking, so when I suggested that we wake up at 4:30 AM to watch the sunrise from the top of La India Dormida, she was super excited. I admit that one of the main reasons to wake up so early was to beat the heat of mid-day, which is pretty unbearable hiking weather if you ask me. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Morning bliss!


It was super windy from where we watched the glowing ball of orange rise above the mountains to spread a golden light over the town. To our delight, we ended up watching the sunrise from the breast of La India Dormida:) It was definitely one of the most beautifully inspiring sunrises that I’ve ever seen. It made me think how many opportunities we have to experience this amazing (and FREE!) natural phenomenon. Every single day of our lives the sun rises (I certainly do hope), and watching it no matter where you are is a special experience to take in by oneself, or to share with others.


Kira doing Sun Salutations to greet the day

I hope that you found some inspiration from this sunrise adventure. Please stay tuned for more from my recent travels in Panama. You don’t want to miss a reenactment of the bloody battle that the Guna fought to gain their autonomy in 1925, nor do you want to miss snorkeling with sea turtles and sharks in one of Panama’s most precious national parks, Isla Coiba. Gracias!