San Blas: Coconut Farms


Half of Isla Robinson consists of a large field of palm trees, where they harvest large quantities of coconuts. In general, the Kuna grow lots of coconuts to sell (mostly to Colombia). In fact, the palm trees are not native to the islands, but rather a couple hundred years ago the Kuna cut down mangroves so they could plant palm trees and sell to passing ships.


This is a baby palm tree. The seashells indicate that you shouldn't mess with it.


A days work of harvesting coconuts.


This is Mr. G-nzalez breaking open the outer shell to get to the coconut. One night Mr. G-nzalez came over to our table with cold beer as gifts for the holiday. We began chatting and listening to some festive "musica tipica" from Colombia that was playing from his stereo in the kiosk next door. (The stereo as well as the refridgerator of cold beer is powered by solar panels on the island). He said that he was born on this Isla Robinson and he has grown coconuts his entire life but recently there were more and more tourists. "Too many tourists," he added. Initially, this made us a little uncomfortable. So we asked if he liked tourists and he replied honestly, "no."

And we soon saw why. After Mr. G-nzalez left back for the kiosk, a very annoyed French guy came up to us and asked if that was our music playing so loud. He complained that he came to island to relax and listen to the waves. The music robbed him of his "tropical paradise." We directed him toward the kiosk where he complained at Mr. G-nzalez about the music and then left back to his cabana. But the music continued playing... all night long. Tourists weren't about to ruin his celebration. We smiled.



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