Imagine a turquoise tropical archipelago with one island for every day of the year. With white sand and waving palms, these Caribbean islands cheat no one’s version of paradise. The Comarca is home to the Guna, the first group in Latin America to gain indigenous autonomy. Though they have had contact with Europeans since Columbus sailed these waters in 1502, clan identity is paramount, and many make tenacious efforts to preserve a traditional way of life.
In 2009 the road to Cartí was completed, making the region more accessible than ever and opening up options for day trips. Still off the beaten track, this narrow, 226km-long strip on the Caribbean coast stretches from the Golfo de San Blás to the Colombian border.
Community islands are acre-sized cays packed with bamboo huts, livestock and people. Visitors often prefer the more remote outer islands with fewer inhabitants. Most areas require landing fees.