San Blas Islands - How to get there and practical tips
July 2, 2019
by Thanara Zancanaro
If you are looking for a beautiful natural destination, with untouched nature, a unique local culture, and the Caribbean Sea as a bonus, this is the place for you. San Blas is an archipelago composed of over 360 small tropical islands in the Caribbean, and are the territory of Kuna Yala, in Panama. Besides having one island for every day of the years, don’t get too excited, each island in San Blas is the territory of a Kuna family and not all the Guna people accept tourist in their islands.
How to get there
The easiest way is for you to book a tour from Panama City, hat’s the capital of Panama and the main airport is Tocumen International Airport. You also can go by boat from Colombia, but since I only went to San Blas from Panama City, that’s the one I’m going to share with you. You will need to book a tour either with the Guna people, an agency, with your hotel or online. Your tour needs to include (to go and came back) transportation from the city until the port and the boat ride from the port to the island, and the accommodation in the island. Don’t worry they book it all together in the packet.
Once you booked your tour, a driver will pick you up at the scheduled time and drive you in a 4×4 car to the port, the trip takes about 2 hours. Don’t forget to take your passport with you, when you enter the Guna Yala region they are going to ask for it. Once you get to the port, a boat will take you to the island that you’re staying, the boat that will take you isn’t a big boat so there is a very good chance that you will get wet, putting your things in a plastic bag it’s a good idea. The boat ride will depend on the island that you are staying at, but usually takes 30 – 45 min.
How much is it
The transportation varies from $40 to $50, both ways. The rest depends on the island, type of accommodation and how many days you are saying.
You can go just to spend the day and come back on the same day, but you can also sleep in one of the islands. The accommodations available are camping ($), a cabana ($$) or a Sailing boat ($$$). Take into consideration that not all islands have cabanas and the structure is very simple, and to book the accommodation in the sailing boat you will need to book online with the boat owners.
How many days to stay
You can stay there as long as you want, I recommend staying 2 days/1 night. I would not recommend going and coming back at the same day unless you only have one day, I think is a very tiring trip and you don’t get to enjoy the peace and quiet of the place. As the islands don’t have a lot of structure, staying there more than one day can be challenging. Not only in the structure department (toilet and water for example), but also in entertainment.