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Review Highlights
Boardercrossing Panama Colombia

Crossing the boarder from Panama to Colombia with San Blas Frontera was the most incredible... read more

Reviewed 6 January 2020
ninal675
Great trip!

The team at San Blas frontera were super helpful, friendly and informative. Being able to... read more

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Reviewed 4 January 2020
ryanegglestone
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Sydney, Australia
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Reviewed 21 October 2019 via mobile

Went with San blas Frontera to cross the border from Colombia to Panama (if you have some spare days make sure to spend some in Capurgana/Sapzurro!!)
Communication before the trip was great, quick responses per email and all the necessary infos.
Regarding the boat don't expect a fancy boat its just a basic small boat with powerful motors, it didn't look in a great shape but didn't feel insecure at all neither.
Regarding the staff only little English is spoken except Luis who is doing great but if you speak some Spanish it will be all good and the staff was very friendly with us explaining tons of stuff about the Kuna people. By chance we even had the opportunity to attend to a school competition of singing / dancing and felt very welcome! There was even the daughter of Felix, one of the captains, who was singing and she won ;-) congrats to her!
The accommodations were surprisingly good knowing that we are on Islands and same for food. The islands are beautiful and its more or less well organised.

The only complaint I'd have is something more general to Kuna people on some bad tourism practices.
As an example one of the spots is called "La Piscina" which is an area where all the coral and marine life very cleared and killed in order to create an area in the middle of the sea to stand up and swim... I hated this place. PLEASE DO NOT HARM THE ENVIRONMENT FOR TOURISM.
In a period where the environment is so fragile we should preserve nature and help it to restore itself.

Date of experience: October 2019
Thank TBeey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2019 via mobile

I was invited by friends to come along on a trip from Panama City to Carpugana in Columbia. We were a group of 15, always in great spirits, having a great time, a trip of a lifetime and a real adventure. For us, nothing could keep us from having a great time. Despite the fact that the boat was uncomfortable and an inappropriate vessel for tourists on open seas, the outboard engines kept breaking, we got soaked, the hotel the second night in the mangroves was a terrible choice cause you couldn’t swim there and the beds were horrible. This trip is not for the faint hearted. It’s the real deal, no comfort, food is mediocre, the islands are incredibly beautiful, the trip a real adventure. I understand the natives intentionally don’t want to upgrade comfort on this trips to keep mass tourism away. They certainly succeed! I’m happy I did it, We all really loved it and I would not do it again. It is a once in a lifetime experience.

Date of experience: July 2019
Thank timr236
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2019

I don t like to do that but I think it is necessary for future Visitors that book thru this company and go to San Blas Islands. To say the least all in all the San Blas islands are really beautiful. I just wish we would of actually stayed more on them and less in the boat. First of all the crew. I don t mind if they are having a good time as well but drinking Rum in that quantities as they did and even while being on the boat is far from normal. On top of that our crew decided to make some extra money to bring a Colombian passenger on board she was the entire trip with us she paid only 110 USD. And in the end she was that pretty that a crew member fall in love with her. She was from the beginning of the trip in the focus of the crew. And we were just some guys needed to go from A to B that is really unprofessional. It seemed too that she had a saying in how long we would stay or influenced the decision of the crew. The first day after the boarder we went to only one island the one we had lunch and stayed there for 2 hours. At 3 in the afternoon we arrived in the kuna village. And the guys said that is it for the day. We thought it would of been much nicer to go to some other islands but no. The second day we had one stop at one island the captain said if it is ok to just stay 30 minutes. I guess because the woman wanted to continue like as she had a saying in our booked tour. We had to negotiate to stay at least an hour there. We thought then we would go to other islands but no. The crew just brought us to the island were we had our cabins to sleep there we had lunch and dinner too and it was over for the day at 2 pm in the afternoon. No islands for the day no nothing just relaxing on the beach. That is really said if you booked a tour but only see 2 islands a day the one you have lunch at and the one you sleep on. And in the case of the 2nd day not even that. After we complained about the situation on the second day it was to change. To be fare I have to say the 3rd day was really beautiful but not because of our crew decided to to more islands with us the third day the crew was not there at all instead some other guys went with us out to do some snorkeling and went to a really beautiful small island. They explained and communicated with us and asked us about our interested and what we liked. Really professional and caring. Really nice for a change.
What I criticize the most:
-is the first day with fairly no islands to see besides lunch.
-the poor communication with the crew
-a lot of alcohol all the Time even on the boat(Not so much the Captain luckily)
-behavior towards us as a group compared to the blind passenger who paid 2 times less for the same tour and had the saying in what to do and where to stay for how long. That we s probably the most sad.
If I would had to do it again. I would not do it. At least not with Frontera. 50% bad start 50% good end all in all not worth 275 USD + 25 USD Car to Panama City.
I am not going to ask for an refund because there is no possible way to have one just my opinion that hopefully warns other tourists doing this trip to have really low expectations for the first 1 1/2 days. And to set it as reminder so that the company La Frontera can grow on the criticism and becomes more professional on treating their customers.
After asking for a refund we haven’t heard back from Frontera in weeks. Sadly we wouldn’t recommend San Blas Frontera for going from Colombia to Panama. Just spend a couple days from Panama on San Blas. Much cheaper and much more worth the money.
Thank you very much
Best regards
Jonas and Raisat

Date of experience: July 2019
1  Thank Lovebird987
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2019

Excellent trip. Please note that this trip should be taken as casual, get prepared to get wet, be open to explore and enjoy. Excellent communication and ample amount of time to enjoy.

Date of experience: July 2019
Thank jessy0719
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2019 via mobile

I really wouldn’t recommend a trip wit san blas frontera. I think it is a waste of money! I mean yes, the islands are very beautiful, something i’ve never seen before. But that wasn’t worth all the trouble!!

Negative:

The Boat seemed like in a very bad shape and doesn’t looked and felt safe. It was also VERY uncomfortable to sit in the boat. I couldn’t enjoy any second on the boat because you always get so wet (put all your stuff in plastic bags!) so i couldn’t enjoy the view. Water is coming in your face all the time (like a shower). Also it’s always smelling very bad because of the petrol and the motor is very loud.

On the second day there was a red flag showed, which means there are big waves and the boats normaly should not go on the sea. But we did. We spent almost 6 hours on the boat and it was just horrible. The Waves were so huge. We were all scared of our lives. Some were crying others had to puke. The ,,Guides’’ didn’t speak any words with us on the whole trip. So we never had any informations what we gonna do next or if it’s normal with the big waves.

Positive:

The San Blas Islands are very very beautiful!
The Food was very good!
The little Bungalows were very simple but with a comfortable bed and they had a shower on the islands.

Date of experience: February 2019
5  Thank aalinaaaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SanBlasFrontera, Inhaber at San Blas Frontera, responded to this reviewResponded 11 March 2019

Dear Alina,

thank you for taking your time to give us feedback. We are sorry to hear that you did not enjoy the trip with us and please rest assured that we will take measures to improve our guests experience in the future.

Boat security/weather conditions:
Please consider that we would NEVER leave the islands if it is not considered as being safe. There has been a misunderstanding about this exact trip on February 26th. There was no red flag warning. There had been a warning in the morning and this is why we left later in the day once the warning had been lifted. We take the security of our guests very serious and please understand that all boats used in San Blas are the same (fiber glass boats, outboard motor). Our captains are very well trained and have done this trip numerous times in all kind of weather conditions. Unfortunately, on this very trip the weather has been particularly bad with high waves. We cannot prevent water entering into the boats during these trips and we thoroughly inform about this beforehand. The weather conditions are very rough at this time of the year with rather high waves and we are very sorry that you did not feel safe on the trip. It is a bummer that you did not get to enjoy it some other time when the waves are smaller.

Communication:
We do take this point very serious. Although our guides had been thoroughly trained, we apologize that there had been a lack of communication, especially in such a situation. We will make sure that in the future you will be informed on all steps along the way.

Thanks again for taking your time to give us feedback. This trip is a rough trip, especially in February/ March and we apologize that you did not get to enjoy the full beauty of the San Blas islands.

All the best
Luis


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