When he learned we were on our honeymoon, a knowing smile stretched across Charlie’s face. Gazing pensively across the sea in the direction of a distant palm-tree skyline, the old Kuna man slowly muttered, “Ah, luna de miel en Kuna Yala…”
On our third trip to Central America, my new bride and I were no longer backpacking. No hostels during this trip. Though they do exist in Panama’s Kuna Yala, or San Blas Islands, we had aimed to stay in Caribbean luxury this time. And the Coral Lodge did not disappoint.
After departing from Charlie in El Porvenir, where we had awaited transportation, we took a choppy boat ride eight miles west of the Kuna Yala boundary. Along the way, we passed deserted islands so iconic that Hawaiian Tropic and Playboy shoot there. And the perfection above-ground was matched below the surface offshore. I’ve since snorkeled in oceans around the world, but never seen coral so magnificent.
During our days at the Coral Lodge we stayed in one of six thatch-roofed villas that jut out from the mainland over the turquoise waters of a small bay filled with its own coral reefs. From our back, private balcony we could while away the days in a chaise lounge or hammock, or dive in for a swim or snorkel around the bay. We also spied howler monkeys during rainforest walks, went sea kayaking, and relished the ecolodge’s gourmet food. It was a brief, indulgent taste of how the other half lives, and I can still picture Charlie’s nod of approval.