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This community of about 3,000 people lies just offshore, with a wooden footbridge connecting it to the mainland, where the town's school and landing strip are located. Most homes in Playón Chico are traditional thatched buildings, with small gardens shaded by breadfruit, mango, or citrus trees. It was an important place in the 1925 revolution that led to Guna autonomy, because it held
one of the Panama military outposts that were captured by Guna warriors.The lowlands around the landing strip hold farms, but a nearby hill is topped with the burial ground that resembles a small village. The Guna bury family members together under thatched shelters complete with the tools and utensils that their spirits require to survive. Forested mountains stand beyond the farmland where a trail leads to a waterfall. Insect repellent is essential on the mainland due to sand fleas. There are several uninhabited islands in the area with pale beaches and coral reefs offshore that local lodges take guests to for snorkeling and beach time.
Achutupo, or Isla Perro in Spanish, is a medium-size community on an island near the mainland in the eastern half of Guna Yala. Because this...