Panama is a diverse country between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, known for its canopied tropical rainforests and the cosmopolitan Panama City. Before you set off for San Blas, explore the city with its modern vibe and charming plazas filled with cafes and bars. Check out the historic Panama Canal or take a zipline through the rainforest.
Fly 45 minutes from Panama City to the San Blas archipelago, a group of beautiful islands that are mostly uninhabited.
These islands are home to and governed by the Guna tribe, which is indigenous to Panama. The are fiercely protective of the islands’ ecology and traditional customs. Sailors will delight in the serene cruising ground with remote beaches, quiet and secluded anchorages, untouched by chain restaurants or hotels.
You can plan short leg sailing here, giving plenty of time for swimming with turtles, snorkeling the great reef of Holandes or finding the perfect spot for a great beach barbecue. This relaxed sailing area also lets you really interact with the Guna tribe and the local fishermen where you can get local fresh seafood for a delicious meal. For a more lively time and interaction with like-minded sailors, head to ChiChime Atoll for a beach party or lively exchanges.
Dream Yacht Charter in Panama: We offer all-inclusive crewed and by the cabin charters from our base in San Blas.The fastest way to get to our base located on the eastern side of the archipelago is by a short flight of 45mins from Panama City to Corazon de Jesus Island. This flight will also give you a birds eye view of this spectacular location. Once you land you will be taken by dinghy to your boat.
The time difference in Panama is Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) -5 hours . Make sure your documentation is in order to travel. To enter Panama, your passport must be valid for at least three months after your departure date. If traveling with children, you may need evidence of the relationship and/or travel permission.
The transport system on the mainland of Panama is good with domestic flights, taxis, buses and boats. The main way to get around San Blas is by boat.
When entering Panama, travelers must be able to show proof of sufficient funds if asked and an exit or return ticket. Panama charges a departure tax at the airport and some airlines may include this in your ticket price.
Tipping of 10% is expected at restaurants. Porters and private drivers are tipped and $1 is acceptable. Taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped.
Panama’s currency is the Balboa and the rate of exchange is tied to the US dollar. Panama has its own coins but uses the US dollar.You may see prices as either $ or B/.
Exchange currency to US dollars before arriving in Panama or at the airport, as it will be difficult for you to so once you leave the airport. Once you get to San Blas, large bills greater than $50 are illegal so bring small bills.
Monday to Friday banking hours are 8am to 3pm with slightly shorter hours on Saturday. ATMs are readily available on the mainland of Panama and usually charge a service fee of $5. There are very few ATMs in the islands and none on some islands have none.
Wi-Fi is readily available on the mainland but is not available on the San Blas Islands.
Temperature varies little throughout the year with a range of 82ºF-95ºF. The water temperature averages a very pleasant 77ºF-82ºF perfect for swimming or kayaking. Panama, due to its geographical location, is protected from hurricanes and large storms so there is year round sailing.
The best time to visit San Blas is between December and April, when it is considered high season and perfect for sailing enthusiasts due to the trade winds and little or no rain. You’ll find more swell and less visibility for snorkeling in high season. The remainder of the year brings milder winds and light scattered showers. The clear water means it is the best time for snorkelers and divers to explore the reefs and marine life.
Day 1 – Panama City
Arrive in Panama City via Tocumen International Airport. There are many direct and daily flights from all over the world. Visit the Panama Canal, or the UNESCO Panama Viejo, an abandoned 17th century city. For the lush tropics, head to El Valle de Anton to hike the mountains.
Day 2 – Panama City – San Blas / Rio Diablo – Coco Bandero
Take a private flight to San Blas (flight duration is 45 min) – talk to us if you need help organizing your transfer. You will enjoy a superb view flying over the archipelago with more than 300 islands. The islands are run by the Gunas who inhabit around 50 islands, are semi-autonomous and make their own laws. On arrival you will be met by your crew and will be taken to your yacht. At our base, you’ll be given your boat briefing.
For the first leg of your journey the captain can sail for an hour to Coco Bandero and spend the day there snorkeling, strolling on the islets, swimming in the turquoise waters and kayaking. Trade with the Kuna fishermen for lobster, octopus and crab that your chef might prepare for lunch or dinner. If you are lucky you might see dolphin pods and sharks. Moor overnight.
Day 3 – Coco Bandero – West Holandes Keys
Get ready for a two-hour sail to the great reef of Holandes. Anchor west of the island at “the pool” where you’ll find six to nine feet of water and a sandy bottom. This is a great snorkeling and diving area and the nearby small islet, “Barbeque Island” is perfect for lunch picnics. Spend the afternoon discovering the area’s local flora and fauna. Overnight at anchor.
Day 4 – West Holandes Keys – East Holandes Keys
Sail for an hour to reach the other end of the coral reef. Get to know the Guna population and discover their secrets of preparing a lunch of coconut rice before sharing the dish with them on the beach. Beachcomb in the afternoon on fine coral beaches, kayak the coastline and overnight at anchor.
Day 5: East Holandes Keys – Chichime Atoll
Your captain will sail through the winding pass to the Chichime Atoll. Enter the famous anchorage, where the international sailing community like to meet, exchange stories and party on the beach around bonfires. There is a small local bar on the beach, a few backpacker cabins for rent and a wonderful atmosphere that contrasts with the remote moorings during the rest of the charter. Make the most of the spectacular snorkeling before spending the night at anchor.
Day 6 – Chichime Atoll – Cayos Limon – Kuanidup
Your sail to the Cayos Limones via Eden Passage, will be as heavenly as its name suggests. Head on a few miles to reach the island of Kuanidup, made famous by the French sailor and celebrity, Antoine in his book “The most beautiful islands of the world”. Take a look at the beach huts, enjoy idyllic beaches and visit the village of Rio Sidra in the heart of Guna culture. Meet the workers who sell the famous Molas, the textiles that are typical of this region. Night at anchor.
Day 7 – Kuanidup – Salar
A short cruise by your captain will take you to Salar beach, known for the beauty and kindness of its few inhabitants. Enjoy lunch prepared by your chef on the beach before taking the dinghy to the small deserted beaches on the other side of the barrier reef. The underwater life here is rich and might see leopard rays and even Carey turtles. Night in Salardup.
Day 8- Rio Diablo / Corazon de Jesús Aerodrome – Panama City
In the afternoon, your captain will sail to Rio Sidra, the last stop of your cruise. Don’t miss the rainforest of Rio Diablo and discover its wildlife, including crocodiles, monkeys, toucans and tapir. Pass along the traditional Guna Indian cemetery and enjoy the two island-villages connected by the bridge of friendship in the evening.
Day 9 – Back
Return to Panama City to catch your flight. Transfers organized on request.
The San Blas cruising region is unlike most of our other destinations. You will depart from Panama City Marcos A. Gelabert airport – Private Hanger where you will be greeted by a representative from the San Blas Sailing company. You then fly 45mins to Corazon de Jesus where you and your party will be met by your sailing crew and taken to your boat, if your party is four members or less your will be taken by dinghy if you party has more than five you will be taken by a local boat called a lancha. There are no facilities on the island.