Stroll through the white, sandy paths of any Kuna Yala village in Panama’s San Blas Archipelago, and you’ll see Kuna women stitching elaborate fabric artworks called mola. Inspired by ancient body paintings, these complex, reverse-appliqué designs are created by cutting out parts of several layers of fabric to reveal differently colored layers beneath. The Kuna people have an intense relationship with the environment, as evidenced by the marine and rainforest creatures depicted in most molas. If you can’t anchor near one of the 300-plus tiny islands, stay at Coral Lodge’s over-water bungalows (corallodge.com) located on the mainland coast just a boat ride away from the archipelago. Or you can order a mola online from Cuna Arts & Crafts, which buys all molas directly from Kuna artists.
- Prices range from $10 to about $70. cunaart.com