Enjoy a unique stay on a tiny tropical island in San Blas, Panamá, run by a local Kuna family! Swim the crystal-clear waters surrounding Wailidup Island, go on a tour to visit other islands, indulge in the local sea food and soak in the relaxing life in the hammock. Wailidup Island offers up-style bungalows with wooden floors over the water or on the mainland – and with a private or with shared bathrooms.
This tour is identical to the 2-nights San Blas Islands – Wailidup Island package but with different duration.
Departure Day: Pick-up between 5-5:30am at your hotel in Panama City
Return Day: Departure from the island after breakfast, drop-off at your hotel in Panama City around 12pm/1pm (depending on traffic). Book the additional option to stay until the afternoon with return to Panama City at ca. 7pm
For Veracruz/Playa Bonita earlier pick-up/later drop-off plus additional charges
Choose between 3 cabin types:
All bungalows are equipped with western-style beds (mattresses, pillow, sheets) for 2 or up to 4-6 people. Bathrooms (shared and private) with a western-style toilet and shower (no hot water).
Spend a full day and night (extensions possible) on a tiny island in the Caribbean: swim or snorkel the clear waters and enjoy at night the view towards the surrounding islands from your bungalow over the water.
San Blas is an indigenous and very excluded zone, so prepare for a rustic time. You won’t find hot water, WiFi, electricity or any other amenities but instead will be experiencing the Kuna lifestyle.
You’ll be picked up in the early morning on Day 1 at your hotel and drive to the dock in Cartí from where a boat will bring you across turquoise waters to Wailidup Island. Here, you’ll live in comfortable bungalows over the water and indulge in freshly caught fish for lunch and dinner (alternatives available). The Waily Lodge Islands bungalows are rustic and simple, but provide private bathrooms and real wooden floors (options for shared bathroom or bungalows on land also available). You are free to spend your day to your liking and can join a tour in the afternoon to visit another island and a natural pool where you can spot sea stars and other marine wildlife.
On Day 2, enjoy breakfast and afterwards transportation back to Panama City, arriving around 12pm-1pm at your hotel. If you prefer to stay on the island until the afternoon, you can book an extension during the booking process.
You will be collected at your accommodation in Panama City between 5-5:30am and head in a comfortable 4WD straight for the San Blas hills. After ca. 2-3h in the car and a quick passport control upon entering the Comarca of Kuna Yala , you’ll arrive at the small dock in Cartí. From here, a small boat will bring you in a short boat ride (max. 30mins) to Wailidup Island and to your cabins. Enjoy the island, go swimming or snorkeling or relax in the hammock.
For lunch, enjoy a delicious fresh meal with the catch of the day (vegetarian/vegan options available on request) with a sea view.
After lunch, let’s go and explore a nearby island and a natural swimming pool (“piscina natural”) where we can spot some sea stars (no touching!).
Due to current circumstances (Covid-19 pandemic) or weather changes, the itinerary might have to be slightly adapted
Back on the island, you can find a spot to watch the sunset and enjoy a delicious dinner.
After breakfast, we are heading back to the dock in Cartí. From here, your driver will bring you back to Panama City and you can expect to arrive there between ca. 12pm-1pm, depending on traffic.
You can book an extension to stay on the island until the afternoon (return to Panama City: ca. 7pm)
A trip to the San Blas Islands is most likely very different to your usual vacation. All operations in San Blas are by law 100% owned and operated by local Kuna people, foreign investments are banned and foreigners/Panamanians are not allowed to conduct any business in San Blas. Most of the cabins are run by large families and provide income for a very large number of people. Many of the operators or employees have lived their entire life in San Blas, some never left the Comarca and most have never traveled to another country or stayed in a hotel. Kuna people have for hundreds of years lived a very simple and basic life consisting mainly of fishing and hunting. Tourism is fairly new and only very few have had real experience in the hospitality sector.
At the same time, the islands are very remote and difficult to reach. Everything that the islands themselves cannot provide (building material, gasoline for the boats, food,…) needs to be sourced in Panama City and sent for a high surcharge in a 4WD/SUV to the dock of Carti. From here, it is then redistributed via boats and again for a fee to smaller sellers and cabins. The islands are not provided with any infrastructure (electricity or running water) and locals live a simple life in tune with nature.
As you can imagine, great effort is required to provide a basic service to tourists and the locals do it to the best of their knowledge. As such, we kindly ask you to leave your mainland expectations behind and be open and try not to compare the $-value of a night in San Blas with a night in other parts of Panama. The simplicity of the cabins reflect a mix of the basic traditional lifestyle and the expensive sourcing for material with external financing being not allowed. Similarly, meals reflect local food patterns (fish/sea food with rice) with limited access and the attempt to adapt to foreign tastes with a bit of sides and salads. Drinking water needs to be imported from the City and is a luxury to most locals. Providing electricity and fresh water requires great effort and usage times might be restricted. Bed linens are washed by hand in the river on the mainland or sent to Panama City. There is no communal trash collection or recycling system in place. Only few locals speak English and some don’t even speak Spanish.
Nevertheless, we work closely with cabin owners to ensure that you will receive a great service, experience clean and functioning facilities and that your stay will be a remarkable one!
With this in mind, be ready to jump into your island adventure! Once on the island, you’ll most likely find that in such a beautiful setting, most modern-day luxuries are not needed and that there is a point to the simple and relaxing life that the Kuna people live 😊
You’ll be spending an entire day out on the ocean and in the sun so we highly recommend dressing accordingly!
Please bring mandatory:
Additionally, we recommend:
Please wrap sensitive items and put them in a waterproof bag as the boat ride to and between islands might get bumpy and wet at times. Have your passport and cash with you during the car ride and ready to present when entering the Comarca of San Blas (passport check + payment of the governmental entrance fee).
San Blas is cash-only, there are no ATMs or card payments in San Blas. Please bring sufficient cash (US Dollars), preferably in bills of $1 or $5 for paying for snacks, water, taxes etc. since locals rarely have sufficient change.
All visitors to the Comarca Kuna Yala, and thus to the San Blas islands, have to pay a fee upon entering. For this purpose, there are inspection points at all entrance points to Kuna Yala, such as along the only road, all ports and all airports. This fee is used to protect the rich biodiversity of the Kuna Yala rainforests.
It is $20 for foreigners and $5 for nationals and residents.
You can cancel up to 48h before the tour starting date with full refund of the entire trip price. After the 48 hours, the deposit cannot be returned.
San Blas cannot be reached via public transport and entrance to the area is strictly controlled by the local government. A limited number of independent drivers are certified to bring tourists to the San Blas islands in SUV/4WD as sort of chartered taxis at a fixed price. It is currently NOT possible to drive in your own car to San Blas or hire a taxi-service and the transport needs to be organized together with your tour/stay.
We organize the transport to San Blas and back for you together with your stay and for this collaborate closely with a selected number of licensed drivers.
Yes, you can definitely come to San Blas with children. Children usually love the beaches, the boat rides and being on an island. We recommend that children are at least old enough to walk when visiting the islands and keep in mind that most places do not have special baby equipment (baby beds, baby seats or special food/drinkable water).
Please also consider our special discounts for children.
We advise to bring only as little luggage as necessary because space in the cars and the boat is limited. Often you can arrange with your hotel/hostel to leave your luggage there.
Afternoon tour included
Traditional beachfront cabins
Delicious, Fresh Sea Food