San Blas Frontera
Multi-day Tours • Cultural Tours • Nature & Wildlife Tours • Day Trips
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00:00 - 23:59
00:00 - 23:59
00:00 - 23:59
00:00 - 23:59
00:00 - 23:59
00:00 - 23:59
00:00 - 23:59
00:00 - 23:59
We offer authentic day trips and overnight stays to the San Blas Islands in Panama as well as 3-day island hopping trips to and from Colombia. We are a 100% Kuna company, meaning that it is fully owned and managed by the indigenous tribe in the San Blas islands, ensuring our clients get to know our unique culture first-hand, while offering a highly professional service based on >12 years of experience in tourism in San Blas. Our owner has been travelling all across the globe (North and South America, Europe, Asia) and brought back his experiences and impressions with the vision to share his culture and home country with interested travelers.
Carti Tupile, Panama

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San Blas Frontera
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(11 reviews)
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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56 reviews
Very good

Christa V
Seattle, WA11 contributions
Oct 2022
Had a unique experience visiting Wailidup and staying overnight in a cabin over the water. The Caribbean waters were crystal clear will all sorts of fish and sea life. I particularly enjoyed the hammock in my cabin and spent much time reading and relaxing. Most noteworthy, Yarmachi was helpful and communicative throughout my trip and the local staff were so kind. Food was fresh, simple and delicious too, even for me as a vegetarian. I am giving this tour company 5 stars for the unique experience and communication, but want to make it clear that an overnight may not be for everyone, as it is far from a luxury tour. Still it was a wonderful experience getting a better understanding (from conversations with staff) about the Kuna Yala life and tradition.

Some things to consider that are more about the Island life than the quality of the tour company or experience:
- Bring bugspray. I was destroyed by sand fleas that I'm still scratching a week later.
- There is truthfully nothing to do on the island but read, relax, swim, and snorkel (bring your own). I have been traveling solo this trip and felt myself a bit bored, which is more my personality than anything else. An overnight was fine; a day trip for me would have also been fine. Two nights for me was too much given the lack of things to do and my poor Spanish. Yes, there is opportunity to visit a neighboring Island that is fairly similar, which breaks up the day a bit. Perro Chico seems to be the most lively.
- Local staff do not speak English or speak very little; I found that learning about the Kuna Yala culture was truly the highlight, so having a Spanish speaker with you or speaking the language will significantly better the experience.
- Electricity only at night. Shower (cold)/sink/toilet working were dependent on rain I believe - at least in my cabin.
- The road to the cost is really bad. Be ready to be thrown around for at least and hour and a half even in an SUV with four wheel drive. Also, you need your passport as there are guards along the way.
- Boats are open so prepare for rainy whether.

If you love an adventure, culture, and a wonderful tour company, book with San Blas Frontera. A highlight of my trip to Panama, even though it was very simple living for the couple of days.
Written 10 October 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

23 contributions
Aug 2022 • Couples
Avoid this awful place!
We spent 2 nights in Wailidub Island paying 700 dollars and we lived the worst experience of our whole life.
The agency San Blas Frontera is a scam and the island is a trap for tourists!
That place is a clumsy!
The island is covered in trash and garbage and the sea around is also full of plastic.
The bungalow is indecent with dirty toilet and almost no water inside the bathroom.
The freaking people who run the island are rude and incompetent and they refused to contact the agency.
When we complained about no water in our bathroom they started laughing like stupid "no agua, no agua".
When we told them that we paid 700 dollars for a bungalow with private bathroom and water, they told is not true.
When the water came to the bungalow it was dirty and bad smelling. We have to use the water in the bottles to wash ourselves and avoid cholera or something.
They could not understand us in English but they just pretend don't understand Google translate in Spanish.
We asked to come back to the mainland and they refused, they go away telling that Italians are bad people and that they don't want Italians on their island.
But we have to stay, because they refused to call a boat.
We didn't have phone signal so, in effect, it's almost a kidnapping, right?
We had a terrible and scary experience as tourists hostage in a remote island.

The second day, in the morning, there was a typhoon and the bungalow with the beds and all our things got wet because the rain was coming inside from the roof and the window.
The tin roof almost flew away because of the wind.
Again we asked to leave the island in the afternoon and they told we need to pay another car transfer to Panama City!

The snorkeling tour was ridiculous: they took us to another ugly island under the rain and then to the "natural pools" where we saw nothing: no star fish, no manta, no sharks, no fishes.
The only thing we saw underwater is plastic and garbage.
Those islands are the worst place I have visited in my whole life, covered in trash and without marine life.

The food also was bad: we ate for 3 times fish and chips (the cheapest junk food!) and when we asked grilled fish, they brought it almost raw!
They are not able to cook nothing!

All the guests that stayed in our same island were complaining about how dirty, ugly and expensive is.

The last day we woke up with the bodies covered in bites,  when we finally came back to Panama City we went to the pharmacy and they told it seemed the result of a flea-infested bed. 

They suggested to go to the E.R because could be dangerous. 
So we paid 700 dollars for flea!
This was the most frightening experience of our whole life! 
Avoid this clumsy and save your money!
Written 5 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tammy W
29 contributions
Aug 2022 • Friends
So this company organized our San Blas Islands Day Trip and it was very easy to navigate (and everything to expect was clearly listed in the info for the tour - don’t listen to some of the reviews that said the drivers didn’t speak any English and it was a chaotic mess - our driver spoke some English and the Port want nearly as chaotic as I was Oriya thinking based off of reviews). The company listed everything we would experience and even said although it may appear to be chaotic at times, everyone knew what they were doing - and they were right! (Also, if it helps, this company quickly responded to any inquiries I had via email and they were very friendly and helpful!)

So do be aware that getting to the island are rough. From Amador Causeway, the journey to the port took 3.5-4 hours. The first hour or so is just bumpy highway, while the next couple hours is awful (but it wasn’t the tour’s fault by any means). The “road” is a windy, up-down, washed out (at certain points), pot hot filled trek that will probably leave some people motion sick (I got really motion sick on the way back - my group referred to this road as nature’s roller coaster). I HIGHLY suggest taking something for motion sickness. Again, this is at no fault of the company (and all companies have to travel this road to get there).

But the islands are absolutely worth enduring nature’s roller coaster. Stunning, Crystal clear waters, chill vibes, conch, sand dollar, and starfish sightings; Snorkeling around a ship wreck (very close to a beach); all of this was well worth the trek out.

If you are physically able to endure rough roads, I highly suggest you take this trip with this company.
Written 12 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jamie D
11 contributions
May 2022 • Solo
The local people at the islands were very nice but the trip was not as described. I got the 3 day 2 nights to see: around 8 islands, kayak, SUP, snorkel a sunken ship and a coral reef and see uninhabited islands. None of this happened.
I emailed to confirm pick up the night before since i had not heard from Yamarchi. He confirmed the 5am pick up at my hostel and also then said:
We hope you are doing well! We will pick you up tomorrow morning at 5am at Selina’s.

One thing, we had to make a few last minute changes. Due to recent gasoline prices increases it is currently not economical to go to the Cayos holandeses. We nevertheless put together two islands for you to sleep and a few tours to visit other islands so you will overall get to see a lot of the islands. We hope for your understanding and will reduce the price to 315$.

Thank you and kind regards
The driver didn't show up until 5:40am. A person in a second vehicle said he was Yamarchi's brother and would take payment in cash then, handed over $315.
The driver barely spoke to the passengers. Very aggressive driving, on the phone and with extremely loud music. He seemed annoyed with any questions. Couldn't find my boat driver at the dock and tried to leave without a word just gesturing to follow a man.
Arrived at 10am to the island and was treated kindly and showed my accommodations and where meals would be served, and the bathrooms. Was told i could wander around and talk to anyone. Meals were simple but delicious. Was told we would tour the next day. On day one we didn't go anywhere. We went out once on the second day to 2 inhabited islands and the shallow pool with starfish.
On the 3rd day had v breakfast around 8am, he said we would go somewhere, then proceeded to have a long conversation with a friend, then have a mechanic tucker with the boat and fix it. Then we had lunch and he said we would leave early to see more islands before going to the dock. But instead he offered to stop at a very crowded dirty island or go straight to the dock, of course we choose to go straight to the dock and not miss our rides.
Not as advertised at all, and i overheard the tour guide and both drivers complaining about not getting paid.
I contacted him through whatsapp with my concerns after i was back in Panama with wifi, no answer.
Written 15 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Berlin, Germany7 contributions
Mar 2022
Our 3 day trip through the San Blas Islands from Panama to Colombia was a very memorable experience. From the pick-up at our hotel in Panama City, throughout the boat trip, to the transfer from Sapzurro, where the tour ended, to Capurgana everything was well organized. The first night we stayed in a resort like facility in traditional style huts directly on the beach. It felt like Gilligan's Island! The second night we stayed in a local community and got a tour by our English speaking guide. Every day we stopped at one or two beutiful islands where you could feel like Robinson Crusoe. As described on the website, there were several stretches of choppy water where we got wet in the open boat, but it was not too bad as the temperature was always in the high 70s °F (around 25 °C). The only less pleasant experience was that in Puerto Obaldia we had to carry our bags through oily water and mud to shore for exit inspection by panamanian border control. Here I recommend that the company should arrange for the use of one of the available piers.
One hint for travellers who want to continue the next day to Cartagena or Medellin: Make sure that you get to the immigration office in Capurgana (100m from the harbor) before 5pm to get your passport stamped, because the office is only open from 10am to 5pm, and the ferry to Necocli leaves at 10am.
Written 14 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kimberly H
Colorado313 contributions
Mar 2022
A trip to the Guna Yala (San Blas Islands) is for travelers that are looking to get off the beaten path, are highly flexible, spend time with another culture, and enjoy the spectacular natural beauty. We made our reservation directly with San Blas Frontera on their website and received an email back in less than 12 hours answering our questions and providing additional information regarding the islands we could stay. With Yamichi's information, we chose to visit Miriyadup for 2 nights because they offered the use of kayaks and paddleboards, in addition to meals and visiting neighboring islands. It felt strange not to just put it on a credit card and instead take cash to the island. We paid them directly and ended up paying less than some people who booked through other companies using the booking sites (after talking with other travelers). I thought I would mention this since it is a bit unusual.

Our journey started at 5:00 am when we awaited our 4x4 ride to Carti Tupile, the port where we would get on a panga to the island. Our driver was running late but Yamichi emailed us to let us know he would be there in 15-20 minutes. The 4x4 looked a bit rough but did the job of getting us from Panama City to Carti over the rough mountain road. Once we arrived they seemed to know which panga we would get on and we waited until instructed to board one (it appears disorganized but somehow works out). Having been on a panga before we knew that it would be a wet and bumpy ride and planned to be soaked when getting to the island. We did stop at another island along the way to let some people off. When we arrived they asked us if we would like chicken, fish, or seafood for lunch. After being taken to our cabana (basic accommodations with amazing views) we had lunch and then most people went on an excursion to another island. Dinner was the same choice, but with different sides. Breakfast was eggs and bread or pancakes. The food is all typical island meals. We brought with us water, beer, wine, and some snacks to supplement (most travelers do). If you have special dietary needs they try to accommodate with what is available on the island (not much), so I would advise bringing what you need if your diet is not flexible. We were fine with everything.

The beauty of this area is truly amazing. We explored a couple of islands nearby on the sea kayaks with another couple and had the best time. When visiting another island via the panga we enjoyed their beach and some beers, in addition to purchasing Molas (traditional hand-stitched fabric designs used for clothing) from a Guna Yala woman. She was very sweet and we communicated despite not knowing each other's language. On our return to Carti Tupile after our two nights, we were the only people on the panga and the boat stopped at a local village island to pick up someone that worked on the island. This was exciting since visits to village islands are not happening right now due to covid, so it was great to at least see one from the boat. The boat driver made sure we connected with our 4x4 driver to return to our hotel in Panama City.

We wished we had booked 4 nights! It was such a great experience. In addition to exploring the islands and enjoying the beauty, we met amazing people from other parts of the world on the island, and during our drive. Highly recommend!!
Written 25 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Dalia K
12 contributions
Feb 2022 • Friends
It is very unfortunate that I write this review, but our tour left us very disappointed! Starting the day our driver kept making random stops but never informing us what was happening which left us very confused along with being squeezed in a car on a super bumpy road for 4 hours! Finally we arrive at the port and we're just dropped off and not given any instruction. Finally a kind couple who knew English and Spanish asked for us, found our boat and translated. We waited a while to board and head out. Once again guide spoke no English! You assume when booking a tour for tourists that someone would at least speak English! Then the waters where super chopping causing us and our things to get soaked, all our things ruined! Finally upon arrival at first island they realized there are side panels that could come down but where were all soaked at that point. Time on the islands was super short then brought back to port. Originally driver never showed up and once again the kind couple found us a car to go back in. The entire lot cleared out by 4 PM but our luck we got stuck there till 5, and once again no one explaining anything!!!

Truly upset by the experience, granted some of those things aren't in your control but I booked your tour and had a terrible experience, will not be recommending to anyone!! It's truly unfortunate as the island are beautiful.
Written 15 February 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear Dalia, We appreciate your feedback and we are very sorry that you got left disappointed by your day tour. Let me respond to a few of the points you have mentioned, a few of them we can work on and will take your feedback on this and a few other things are unfortunately out of our control: (1) The San Blas islands are a rough place to visit and the only way of getting there is through this bumpy road. We do not offer the ride ourselves but have to partner with drivers that have been licensed by the local government - all tours going to San Blas are via this road and with these drivers in those exact conditions (up to six people in one car during main season). This is nothing that we can influence - the only option is to rent an entire car, essentially paying more for the trip. We will think about adding this as an option when booking the trip. As for the missing communication and delay, this is clearly a miss from our side. After your email we have investigated with the driver (who is - as your designated driver throughout the day - responsible for being punctual and making sure you get to your boat) and took appropriate steps. (2) For the boat ride: the boats used in San Blas are perfect for entering the shallow beaches around the islands but can be a bit uncomfortable, especially during rough weather and strong winds. We do inform our guests beforehand that there is a chance to get wet but will make sure to communicate this much better in the future. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. (3) As for speaking English - foreign guides are not allowed to work in San Blas and only a very small number of local people speak English. The San Blas islands are not a touristy place but an indigenous area that is opened for a small number of tourists everyday. As such, we kindly ask for your understanding that not everything here works as you might be used to from other places. We take your feedback very seriously and appreciate the time you took to write this review. We will work to change the things that are under our control and will work on how to improve communication to our guests on the things we cannot influence. Kind regards Luis
Written 1 March 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

State of Sao Paulo155 contributions
Oct 2021 • Friends
The place is beautiful but my friends and I had a terrible experience.

First, it took more than 2 hours to get the boat from the port, and no one was helping us with informations.

The Island is filled with all kind of dirty, the food is rice with fried chicken or fish and you cant choose for something else.

But the worst was the bad bugs i the lodge bed. My friends and I got attacked by bad bugs in the bed and we all got an allergy. I sent two e-mails to the company and had no reply.

I understand its a local tour but it’s still expensive and the minimun expeted was a clean sheet and bed to sleep - which we didnt have.
Written 21 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear Etrus, thanks again for taking the time to write your review. We had been in touch with you following your stay in October when you informed us about the issue. We are very sorry that you had a negative experienced during the stay we organized for you. We had immediately reached out to the island, requesting a thorough clean-out, as well as reached out to all of our guests that had stayed before and after you on the island. Luckily none of them had experienced any issue with bed bugs or similar and no such thing had been reported to us since. Best regards Luis
Written 1 March 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Nina L
2 contributions
Dec 2019 • Solo
Crossing the boarder from Panama to Colombia with San Blas Frontera was the most incredible experience in my life!! It's not just the Islands, which are a carribean dream, white sand, cristales clear water, palmtrees, glowing plancton..., but above all the culture which we experienced during this trip! It is definitely nothing for those who are looking for champagner sipping in a catamaran and luxury accomodation and food. But for those who love nature, culture, kids, authentic food and lifestyle, I think San Blas Frontera is the best company to choose. While the other companies have partly native English-speaking guides, San Blas Frontera has only local, spanish-and Kuna speaking employees, which, however, made the trip for me so much more authentic and special (we even stayed in the community of Felix, or guide, where we felt like friends not like tourists). Thanks to Luis, Davis and Felix, our guides, who were so wonderful and opened up their culture to us! I cannot describe how much I have learned and how many emotions I felt just within 3 days.  We were surrounded by a lot of wonderful, curious kids, attended a period celebration for a girl (biggest celebration in the kuna tradition when a girl gets her period), drank fermented cane sugar liquor, laught with people even though most of us had no common language, jointed their new years celebration.... Also the boot ride was quite intense, especially during a thunderstorm we be prepared for a very bumpy, very wet and cold ride (waterproof bags are required!!). During the whole trip our guides treated us so respectful and it didn't feel like we were just another group of tourists! Furthermorw, they are very experienced in navigating the small motor boot through the waves. I am so grateful for that trip! Thank you Luis, Felix and Davis!
Written 6 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sydney, Australia2 contributions
Dec 2019 • Solo
The team at San Blas frontera were super helpful, friendly and informative. Being able to experience the San Blas islands with local Kuna people was a treat. I appreciated that we slept in dorm beds not in hammocks and also I enjoyed the relaxed chilled out vibes. Food portions were good and fresh fish whole fish daily. Luckily in regards to the ocean crossing the waves werent rough for me, so the sailing wasnt a problem!
Written 4 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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San Blas Frontera | Carti Tupile | UPDATED December 2022 Top Tips Before You Go (with Photos) - Tripadvisor