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guna yala


P A N A M A

SAILING + EMBROIDERY

DEC 29, 2018 - JAN 2, 2019 -- SOLD OUT

$2,200 shared room

$3,200 private room

SCROLL DOWN

guna yala


P A N A M A

SAILING + EMBROIDERY

DEC 29, 2018 - JAN 2, 2019 -- SOLD OUT

$2,200 shared room

$3,200 private room

Venture with Thread Caravan and I Travel by Boat as we explore the Guna Yala islands this December 29th until January 2nd. The islands are home to the Guna people, a sovereign indigenous group that retains much of their heritage and traditions.

We'll start the trip in Panama City's historic Casco Viejo neighborhood, recognized as one of the Caribbean's most beautiful and interesting coastal neighborhoods. After resting in a boutique hotel, fueling with fresh local food and exploring the local art scene in Casco Viejo, we'll take private 4x4 transportation to the Guna Yala coastal region in the Caribbean. We'll spend the next 4 days and nights living on a sailboat and island-hopping, connecting with the local community to share stories and learn about their culture and textile traditions.

When we're not immersed in the culture, we'll have plenty of downtime for sailing, snorkeling and relaxing on the small tropical islands. 

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About Guna Yala


A B O U T   G U N A   Y A L A

About Guna Yala


A B O U T   G U N A   Y A L A

guns woman by drew mcgill

GUNA PEOPLE

The Guna (pronounced "Kuna") peoples are a sovereign indigenous group living in Panama and Colombia. In Panama, they live both on the mountainous coastal mainland in the southeast, filled with virgin rainforest, as well an archipelago of over 350 pristine islands just off the coast.

The Gunas are among the few tribes who’ve managed to preserve their culture closed to outsiders through the passage of time. Though this is rapidly changing, life on the islands is still reserved to the few Guna families that live on them tending to coconut plantations. The men spend their days fishing, free-diving or clearing brush; the women do the house-keeping and sewing of their timeless mola – a multi layered, skillfully sewn cloth depicting sometimes abstract, sometimes real visions and dreams of the Guna women.

 

 


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THE ISLANDS

Known as the San Blas islands, this pristine coral reef archipelago lies along the Caribbean coast of Panama, in Central America, and it belongs to the indigenous reserve of Guna Yala. Guna Yala translates to "land of the Guna" and refers to both the mainland jungle region and the archipelago in which the community lives. 

Guna peoples grow coconut palms on the islands, making the collective islands the largest coconut farm in the world. Families spend the majority of their time living on three main islands closest to the mainland, taking turns living on the coconut-filled islands for several months at at time to tend their crop. 

If you didn't know this paradise existed, it’s because the Guna people have kept the islands out of reach for the better part of the last century, and thus they have stayed well preserved and unspoiled.


mola textile

MOLA TEXTILES

Guna women are known and respected for making multilayer embroidered fabrics called mola textiles.

Molas have their origin in body painting. After the Spanish colonized and missionaries infiltrated, the Guna started to transfer their geometic designs onto fabric, first by painting directly on the fabric and later by using the embroidery technique of reverse appliqué. 

Designs used to be more geometric but in the past 50 years have expanded to include both more realistic and abstract designs. 

Molas are traditionally worn as part of a Guna woman's blouse, but you can now find them used in many other ways.

Not all moles are created equal. To the untrained eye, the effort may look similar, but the amount of colors and design intricacy demonstrate a more complex pattern.

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Featuring


F E A T U R I N G

Featuring


F E A T U R I N G

thread caravan panama embroidery table by karim iliya.jpg
thread caravan swimmer in san blas

WATER TIME

While lodging on a sailboat, free time will be spent on islands or in the water. Ample time for swimming, SUP, yoga and more.

MOLA WORKSHOP

Spend time with master artisans in the Guna community. Work 1-on-1 and in a group to create a small mola textile of your own.

American trade hotel Panama City

BOUTIQUE HOTEL ACCOMMODATION

We will lodge in Panama City's Casco Viejo neighborhood on our first night, in one of the tropical neighborhood's most well-designed boutique hotels.

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SAILBOAT ACCOMMODATION

Immerse yourself in nature by getting in tune with the rhythms of the tropics. Onboard lodging, with meals on deck and time in the water and on small islands.

The boat is a catamaran with double bed cabins. If you are opting for shared room accommodation, you *must book with a friend or partner who you will share the room with.

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Reviews and Booking


R E V I E W S  +  B O O K I N G

Reviews and Booking


R E V I E W S  +  B O O K I N G

Brianna George thread caravan Panama review

" It's so nice to know you are in good hands, with insider knowledge and expertise provided, transportation and meals planned, and the perfect mix of time to do your own thing and be with the group.' 

"I learned so much about a remote and little-known culture with a bold history. The islands are the kind you thought only existed as computer screensavers and the snorkeling is like being inside of an aquarium.'

"Besides getting this incredibly intimate experience with the beautiful and impressive women of Guna Yala, the sailing lifestyle is something everyone should experience at least for a moment in time; it's truly freeing. I can't stop raving about this trip, and it has set the bar high for all future travels!"

-Brianna George

kestrel jenkins conscious chatter thread caravan Panama review

"Thread Caravan has a unique ability to create experiences that are not only massively educational and adventurous, but also somehow leave the typical "touristy" vibe behind. Being able to travel with Caitlin and the Thread Caravan group to Guna Yala on the Panama trip was unbelievable. The places we saw were breathtaking and the people we were able to connect with shared meaningful stories with us. I am generally not a fan of "group travel" as I like to go off on my own, but I'd sign up for another Thread Caravan trip today."

-Kestrel Jenkins

READ MORE REVIEWS FROM PAST TRAVELERS HERE.


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*If you are opting for a double occupancy room, beds on the boat are shared and you *MUST book with someone else you know. If you are booking as a solo traveler, you *MUST select the single occupancy option.

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THE FINE PRINT

COST INCLUDES:

  • In-Country Transportation: You get to the Panama City airport and we'll do the rest. Airport taxi pickup, a 4x4 truck, a water taxi and a sailboat will be our modes of transport.
  • Accommodation: Boutique hotel accommodation in the Casco Viejo neighborhood of Panama City, followed by 3 nights sleeping on the sailboat. If you are opting for a double occupancy room, beds on the boat are shared and you *MUST book with someone else you know. If you are booking as a solo traveler, you *MUST select the single occupancy option. 
  • Alcoholic Drinks:  Enjoy an optional white wine or a nice cold cerveza at the end of each day on the islands
  • Art Education: A fair wage to Guna artisan instructors who will teach us about the mola-making craft, as well as a financial contribution to their artisan organization, providing a safe place for women to gather and make molas.
  • Supplies: You will be provided with the necessary materials to practice mola-making with the locals.
  • Support: A local and foreign guide will accompany the group, offering participants their combined knowledge of the region while making sure everything runs smoothly. In addition, Thread Caravan and I Travel by Boat staff is available to answer questions and assist with trip preparations. 
  • Gift: Special arrival gift with handmade treats to help you enjoy the experience. 

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Airfare: We've found that flights from the U.S. range from approximately $300-$700 depending on the airline and how far in advance you book. We are happy to help you arrange flights or put you in touch with a travel agent. 
  • Personal Travel Insurance: We require all participants to have personal travel insurance. This will cover things like illness, flight cancellations, theft, etc. We can help you arrange insurance with a provider.
  • Alcoholic Drinks in Panama City

GETTING THERE AND AWAY:

This trip starts and ends at the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City. You get there and we'll handle the rest. If you need help booking a flight, please contact us.

OTHER INFO:

  • Vaccinations: No vaccinations are required; however routine vaccinations, Hepatitis A, and Typhoid are suggested by the Center for Disease Control.
  • VISA: If you are a U.S. citizen and traveling to Panama for under 180 days, you do not need a Visa. If you are a citizen of another country, you may need a Visa. You can check on this website
  • Passport Validity: In order to enter Panama, your passport must be valid for at least 90 days following your departure date. You must also have at least one blank page in your passport.

BOOKING TERMS + CONDITIONS

Travelers must agree to Thread Caravan's Booking Terms and Conditions in order to join this experience.