Getting Oriented

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Getting Oriented

Guna Yala (aka Kuna Yala) stretches along Panama's northeast coast from the Central Caribbean eastward to the border with Colombia, comprising forested mountains, coastal lowlands, the 365 San Blas Islands, and the surrounding sea. The entire province was once called San Blas, but it is known now by its indigenous name, Guna Yala, which translates as "Land of the Guna." Only one road penetrates the otherwise isolated province, a dirt track called the Camino Llano-Cartí that traverses its western end. The eastern half of the narrow indigenous territory borders the vast Darién province, the southern half of which holds Parque Nacional Darién, various smaller reserves, and two comarcas (indigenous territories). The Carretera Interamericana (Inter-American Highway) dead-ends in the Darién at a frontier town called Yaviza, beyond which there are virtually no roads. Most travelers consequently fly in and out of both regions. There are daily flights to Guna Yala and twice-weekly flights to the Darién.

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