“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are,” Samuel Johnson. Somewhere off the coast of Columbia and Panama, I discovered the true definition of beauty the moment I stepped off of my small banana boat and on to the Kuna Yala islands (also known as San Blas). But, the true beauty wasn’t in the in the crystal clear waters or the abundance of star fish or even the breath taken sunsets, it was in the people and their legacy of this majestic place. The Cuna people are originally from the costal mainland of Columbia, but migrated to this paradise around 1501. Until 1925 they remained virtually undisturbed until the Columbian/ Panamanian Government tried to infringe their laws and policies on the Cuna people. They took this as a direct attempt to suppress their cultures and their way of life. They began a successful revolt that earned them their sovereignty in the same year. This is a major accomplishment and a true testament to indigenous communities around the world; in addition to this, they also managed to keep their original language. Today, these islands are a peaceful haven for travelers, but in this paradise you will not find hotels or foreign ownership. So be prepared to free your mind of all the comforts of home and completely indulge in the Kuna way of life. Being able to experience this first hand was another reason why I wouldn’t have studied in any other place but in Costa Rica. Being in Costa Rica gives you the option to see and experience many different countries. While studying at Veritas please remember to take advantage of the close proximity to other countries, accessibility and affordability. Pura Vida!
Written by Adriana Vargas