San Blas Islands
San Blas Islands
4.5
09:00 - 18:00
Monday
09:00 - 18:00
Tuesday
09:00 - 18:00
Wednesday
09:00 - 18:00
Thursday
09:00 - 18:00
Friday
09:00 - 18:00
Saturday
09:00 - 18:00
Sunday
09:00 - 18:00
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3 within 10 kms
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4.5
1,145 reviews
Excellent
806
Very good
166
Average
60
Poor
42
Terrible
71

Georgia Tom
1 contribution
Jul 2022
My wife and 2 adult children spent 1 night on a San Blas island because of the rave reviews we saw online. I want to describe our experience. We were there in early July.

The island we stayed on was small but pretty. The water is crystal clear just as advertised. We stayed in huts with sand floors as advertised. The people were friendly and the food (fish) was good. We didn’t have cell coverage but others apparently did, not that we cared. Our island was not a resort and didn’t expect to be a resort. It didn’t have chairs to sit on. There were wooden benches. In that aspect, it was not comfortable.

The ride to the boat was the worst part of the experience. We were picked up from our hotel in Panama City at 5:30 am. Two other people were already in the large suv. We stopped at a gas station about an hour from the hotel to get water and food. That road was fine. After the gas station, we drove up a deeply rutted road for the next 90 minutes. It was awful. The driver had swerve from one side of the road to the other to avoid deep ruts all the way to the boat pick up. It was the same way on the way back to the hotel. It was a good 3.5 to 4 hours from the hotel to the island. That difficult and the uncomfortable ride really took away from the whole experience. I’m not sure it was worth it and I wouldn’t do it again.

I’m just speaking to my experience. I’m sure there are islands with nicer accommodations. However, getting to the islands was the bad part. I wouldn’t do this for just a day trip. We spent one night and left the next afternoon around 4 pm.
Written 3 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Localinpty
Panama City, Panama3 contributions
Jun 2022 • Couples
San Blas is an amazing place but I want to highlight the communities I visited with local guide who speaks perfect english, spanish and Kuna language which is their language.

We stayed in a private hut over the water and we had our own kitchen and bathroom. We really enjoyed meeting locals and spending the time with them playing dominoes, volleyball, basketball and football. How amazing experience with those Kuna guys Yohan, Yaneiro and Atilio with his leader Victor.

This is a great experience if you really want to get to know the Kuna culture instead going only to the beach area which we also enjoyed but the highlight was visiting the communities with them.

Here is more details in case you want to experience the same as we did on this 2 nights and 2 days experience.

Go with them!! No doubt!!

Send them an e-mail localinpty@gmail.com or WhatsApp +507 61187621.

Top!!!
Written 9 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kevin S
Pontypridd, UK5,707 contributions
Apr 2022
Individual experiences are going to vary greatly depending on who they travelled with. Basically fly and then 20 seater lancha boat for about 45 mins, expensive. Or 4x4 shared, 6 people to a car, $65pp with 05.30 start from Panama city, 3 hour drive then the 45 mins boat. That’s ok. Or pay more for a private 4x4, then the shared 45 mins boat ride to your island or yacht, about double the price of a shared car.
And then your accommodation? A hut on an island with locals with local food, quite likely not an en suite room just shared toilet and shower block. Or a room on a shared yacht, the only issue I saw with that is people arrive and depart on different days and you’ll keep coming and going to the same drop off point, you can’t travel too far unless 6 or 8 of you book the whole 4 bedroom yacht. Or have a private yacht for the two of you. More difficult to find and arrange than just a room on a yacht. TAKE YOUR PICK.

FOR………Absolutely picture perfect white sand islands of various sizes, from a football field size to to the larger first two islands you pass with many Kuna people living on them. Some are more picturesque than others. Maybe the one you have a room on is great, or not so good, but a daily short boat trip hopefully takes you to an uninhabited one which is stunning. I think a preferable way is either renting a room on a larger shared boat, maybe 4 rooms, or our way of renting a boat exclusively for us two, with a captain and hostess/cook which was perfect. With excellent knowledge of the islands, for 5 days we motored or sailed a couple of hours and moored in a different location each day between three nearby islands and used the yacht dinghy to motor to each one in turn to walk on dazzling white sand or swim or snorkel in azure blue sea. And that is perfect if you want some relaxing time, just swim, snorkel or walk. Usually the islands had no facilities at all, drinks and snacks supplied by the boat, as was breakfast and evening meals. Some had friendly locals living on them who might want $2 per person to visit, others uninhabited. Just stunning.
Written 27 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Matt
8 contributions
Apr 2022 • Friends
Just want to outline the unprofessionalism displayed here with Paul at Ava Maria.

We didn't sail directly with them but we reached out and arranged a reservation on another boat with them .. the wild card. Which was an amazing experience.

However.. at the very beginning of our conversation with Paul, we explained to Ava Maria that withdrawing such a huge amount of cash would be costly for us, so they advised we could use a service called transfer wise (hadn't heard about this before) which is highlighted below in the attached screen shots.

We planned ahead, created an account, deposited our funds and even reached out before the designated meeting time to acquire payment details for the suggested transfer wise.

Upon doing so we were greeted by a very rude and very unproffesional member of there team who I believe to be the captain of the Ava Maria, Paul.

We had a back and forth exchange and you can see for yourself the unprofessionalism and rudeness used by them.

We were left last minute rushing around , accused of playing games, spoken to in a manner which from my experience is unacceptable in customer service, thankfully we had additional funds aside ( TransferWise took 3-5 business days to return our funds to out account ) to withdraw the amount and had a bank card that allowed such a high last minute withdrawal.

Also upon arrival we realised we were given no prior info like the other passengers. They received a thorough email and itinerary whereas we received a couple of WhatsApp messages so we were left in the dark and feeling unprepared once again.

I can't speak for the Ava Maria boat itself, but I can speak for there lack of customer service, changed in agreed terms and general rudeness.

Basically I'd advise you seek out another boat tour to avoid dealing with this kind of energy. (Most providers offer the same dates and boats so you'd just book through a serious company and not one that treats their customers like this) honestly when spending this amount of money you want to deal with professionals and feel at ease, at the end of the day you're at sea for 5 days and want to feel at ease.

For us personally wild card was incredible and our friend used blue sailing to arrange and they offered the correct info and were very polite
Written 17 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

shayss
Denver, CO2 contributions
Apr 2022
I'd probably consider myself an "adventure tourist" - I like my travel a little edgy. Bring it. But... San Blas experience was hands down the most un-fun adventure travel experience of my life. Let me explain.

If you notice that your tour company is short on communication, it's because they are. They don't want you to know that at 5AM, they'll stuff you into the third row seat of a non-air conditioned 4x4 vehicle even though you're too tall and wave it off. You'll bang your head every time you hit a bump, already feeling nauseous. After well over an hour of this, you're just beginning: there's nearly 2 hrs more on a treacherous semi-paved road with near head-on collisions. I've done Plenty of 4X4 in my life, but I can say that Nothing compares to a deep pothole surrounded by asphalt, in the back of a car going 30 MPH careening towards an oncoming vehicle.

Once you have paid your dues to enter the shire at stop #1, you must pay your dues again much later at Stop #2 (you aren't even remotely there yet by stop #1). Where does this money go? Certainly not to the road, or to the people you will meet trying to sell you home-made products along your journey in San Blas. I'm not sure if this is true, but someone told me there are 4 Kunas that take all the money for themselves and everyone else is forced to participate in this tourism circus. Grain of Salt. Anyway.

Once you arrive at the port, your knees shaking, your face white and your head bruised, you hustle off to the bathroom. Make sure you bring change, that costs money too! 

You are then divided up like cattle and sent away across some fairly choppy open water to meet your Chosen Adventure. Don't worry, all in due time, trust the process. If you're unlucky, like us, your transport boat will break down. Not kidding. Fuel Pump issue, my husband says, though the boat drivers just stuffed what I swear was an actual hair scrunchy into the engine and shook their heads and laughed when we asked what was wrong. You get going again a bit later (after rocking there, with 12 other tourists, a little wet, everyone laughing nervously).

We arrived miraculously to our chosen sailboat by 10:45am, nearly 6 hours later. We arrived to a unenthusiastic captain who failed to even greet us. The first thing he said was: "the Kuna don't fish on the weekends, so there will be no Seafood". I broke into tears, as I'd paid an awful lot of money to feel this awful. It was a few more hours before we saw some food - pasta. It was very good pasta, but there was only that, pasta and pesto. We ate a lot of pasta those 3 days, with different sauces. 

We sailed to 3 different islands, and they were very beautiful. Just like a postcard. You could walk around them, frolic on the sandbars, whatever you wanna do. The only interaction I had with the Kuna here was a woman who demanded to know who our captain was. It cost him $2 each time we set foot on an island and she wanted him to pay up. Wait, What!?

I didn't research it beforehand because I just figured it would be amazing, but the snorkeling was terrible, as I see now mentioned in other reviews. The captain sent us to locations on each island and there were just a few tiny sections of fish and coral. I put in some good distance swimming up and down the sandbars looking for more, without luck. The reefs were clearly sick, though nobody's fault but you know, the world's. It was sad. Florida has far superior snorkeling.
We did see a bunch of sting rays and a dolphin came nearby, which was super cool. This was the highlight of the trip, along with the volleyball we found at each island. We played for hours with the other guests in this circus. But in all seriousness, it was truly wonderful meeting new people from everywhere and connecting to share pictures on WhatsApp.

The trip back was just as miserable, and since we arrived Very late to the dock (the transport boat ran out of gas midway, not kidding) we were once again forced into the third row. When I asked someone to change seats, he replied "hell no, you couldn't pay me". Then I mumbled "that's how I feel about this entire fiasco", as we climbed back into claustrophobia hell. At least this time we had taken Dramamine, so there wasn't any puking.  
There are many wonderful islands in the Caribbean that you can see with much less money, cattle herding and hassle. Go there.
Written 8 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Daniel C
4 contributions
Mar 2022 • Friends
Just an amazing place to relax and enjoy the life. i really appreciate the organisation of Tubasenika island... all meals, transfer from the city and amazing islands snorkeling tour.
Written 3 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Nancy Dinsdale Rovensstine
Dallas, TX11 contributions
Mar 2022
If I could post a 3 THUMBS DOWN for the Quest San Blas Sailing Co., I could. Even though my husband talked to the captain of the boat weeks ago to familiarize him w/ us, and all was a "go", they told us today (2 days before the trip) that we couldn't sail on the boat, saying it was bc of our age. We've down this type of thing recently, and are in good health, which we told the company.
We are HUGELY disappointed, but more so upset w/ how this company does their business. Don't use them!!
Written 8 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lisa G
3 contributions
Dec 2021
We just got back from a 4 night tour on the Intrepido with Alex and Anabel. AMAZING. I have traveled all over the world and this was one of my favorite trips ever! The islands are gorgeous, meeting the Guna Yala was such a privilege, Alex and Anabel were incredible and gracious hosts. The tour company that we booked through provided stellar service - sailboattrips.com as well as the transport company - lamtourspanama.com. It was all seamless!!!
Written 17 January 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Olivjl91
13 contributions
Dec 2021 • Friends
Amazing Tour. Gotta say that it is one of my favourite places in Panama. Very relaxing and great for snorkelling. Definitely coming back.
Written 7 January 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Best Sicily Tour
Catania, Italy75 contributions
Dec 2021 • Solo
Wonderful place, in a nutshell: nature, tranquility, healthy food❣️🦐🇵🇦.
Natural swimming pool in the middle of the sea.

To never forget❤️‍🔥
Written 11 December 2021
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 Islands | Guna Yala Region | UPDATED October 2022 Top Tips Before You Go (with Photos) - Tripadvisor

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