+507-6807-2764 reservaciones@sanblasfrontera.com
Price
From$375$350
Booking Form
Enquiry Form
Full Name*
Email Address*
Travel Date*
People*
Your Enquiry*
* I agree with Terms of Service and Privacy Statement.
Please agree to all the terms and conditions before proceeding to the next step
Select a package
  • Dorm Room
  • Private Room

Proceed Booking

Save To Wish List

Adding item to wishlist requires an account

916

Book Comfortably With Us

Send your booking request until 1pm the day before the tour – we confirm within several hours! No prepayment or deposit required during booking.

Why Book With Us?

  • Local Business from San Blas
  • No-hassle best price guarantee
  • English-speaking customer care
  • Over 12 years of experience

Got a Question?

Do not hesitate to get in touch! We know the islands the best and we are happy to talk to you.

info@sanblasfrontera.com

(+507) 6807-2764

11Armila, San Blas - women walking in the shade

3-day Island Hopping – Boat from Colombia to Panama

0
  • 3-days/2-nights
  • San Blas Islands, Panamá
  • Every Friday
  • Drop-off in P.C. available
  • No pre-payment & free cancelation
  • Covid-19 precautions
  • StartSapzurro, Colombia
  • EndCartí, San Blas, Panamá
  • ViaSan Blas Islands, Panamá

Step into another world with our 3-day island-hopping tour in a speed boat from Colombia to Panama. Visit deserted beaches and islands where no other travelers ever go to, sleep in traditional cabins on tropical islands, and immerse yourself into a still intact indigenous culture on this once-in-a-lifetime trip. All while crossing the Colombia-Panama border. We travel in speed boats along all 365 islands of the San Blas Islands to Panama, facilitate the border crossing for you and make your island fantasies come alive! The starting point Sapzurro is reachable from all major cities in Colombia, especially Cartagena, and we provide transport to arrive safely in Panama City after our tour ends.

Duration

3-days/2-nights

Departure & Arrival

Friday: 8:30am Sapzurro, Colombia (see below for info on how to get there)
Sunday: Arrival in Cartí, San Blas, Panama in the afternoon. From here, we help to arrange transport to Panama City (arrival 7pm same day)

Package Includes

  • Boat transfer from Sapzurro, Colombia to Cartí, Panama through the San Blas IslandsIn total max. 2-4 hours per day, incl. safety vests
  • 2 nights in traditional cabins (western-style beds and bathrooms) on two different islands
  • Meals3 meals per day, starting with lunch on Day 1 - vegan/vegetarian options available on request
  • Visits to different islands and Kuna villagesIncl. entrance fees - visits to Kuna villages subject to local restrictions & festivities
  • Immigration support at the borderIncl. immigration fee
  • Kuna guide Knowledgable about our culture and history
  • MANDATORY: Transport to Panama City from Cartí, San Blas+25 USD per person, shared SUV/4x4 for max. 6 people
  • Beverages, drinks, snacksCan be purchased or brought along
  • Sunscreen, towels and personal items
  • Governmental entrance fee to San Blas and dock fee$20+$2 for foreigners, $5+$2 for nations/residents (children up to 8 years: free entrance)

Cabins

Private bungalows (for 2 or 4-6 people) or mixed dormitories – both room types with western-style beds (mattresses, pillow, sheets). Shared bathrooms, equipped with western-style toilet and shower (no hot water). 

Discounts for Groups & Children

  • Groups5 or more: 10% off tour price, 8 or more: 15% off tour price
  • Children: 5-8 years50% of package price
  • Children: 0-4 yearsfree stay (excl. food, can be purchased in the restaurant)

Covid-19 precautions

  • The number of visitors is limited to reduce crowds
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned
  • Masks are mandatory in all public and crowded spaces (e.g. during transport)
What to Expect

One-way island-hopping trip from Colombia to Panama: We travel in speedboats from island to island and make various stops along the way on different islands and Kuna villages, you will sleep on the islands in traditional Kuna cabins right next to the Caribbean sea and enjoy delicious local, fresh meals. We do change our itinerary every once in a while (also depending on the weather and season) but we always make sure to show you a nice balance between deserted and inhabited islands, a lot of beach time, seeing star fish, eating fresh seafood (vegetarian options also available), visiting a Kuna village and experiencing our culture. Since we make so many stops, you will only travel short distances at a time – in total approx. 2-3 hours per day on the boat but with stops on the islands in between. The boats are equipped with safety vests for each passenger as well as safety gear and licensed captains. People rarely get sea sick because we travel close to the coast line where waves are a lot smaller and we also spend short times on the boat. 

 

  • Travel along all 365 of the San Blas islands and cross the Darien Gap
  • Welcome to paradise - Visit deserted islands and sleep in traditional beach cabins
  • Immerse yourself into a still intact indigenous culture
  • Enjoy fresh lobster and the catch of the day (depending on the season)
  • With a bit of luck, see starfish, dolphins or turtles
Itinerary
Due to current circumstances (Covid-19 pandemic) or weather changes, the itinerary might have to be slightly adapted 

Day 1Border crossing and first islands

  • Start in Sapzurro, Colombia
  • First stop: Puerto Obaldia to cross into Panamá, we take care of border formalities for you
  • Stop on tropical islands for lunch and beach time
  • Sleep in a Kuna village and learn about our traditions and culture

Day 2Moving further into Kuna territory

  • Several stops on different islands
  • Lunch in a Kuna village or an island
  • At night, sleep in a traditional cabin right next to the beach

Day 3More islands, more of paradise

  • Final day with more islands to explore
  • Tour ends in the afternoon in Cartí, San Blas, Panamá
  • We offer transportation to Panama City
Map
11San Blas Frontera - Map of 3-day island hopping trip Panama-Colombia through the San Blas Islands
FAQ

Read this before booking your trip

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 😊

What should I pack?

You’ll be spending the entire day out on the ocean and in the sun so we highly recommend dressing accordingly!

Please bring mandatory:

  • Passport: mandatory, it will be checked upon entering the Comarca of Kuna Yala (San Blas)
  • Sufficient cash:in US Dollars to pay for the trip in cash, to buy drinks, snacks, souvenirs on the island (small bills of 1 USD and 5 USD highly recommended) – Credit cards are not accepted and there is no ATM in San Blas

Additionally, we recommend:

  • Sun protection: for the island and the boat ride (sun blocker, hat, T-shirt with sleeves, towel)
  • Towels
  • Water to drink: Water/soft drinks are not included in the package, please bring sufficient or purchase on the island
  • Snacks
  • Swimming gear
  • Sandals, flip flops
  • Wetbag or plastic bag for your valuables in case of a wet boat ride or rain
  • Flash light
  • Clothes (to change if you get wet on the boat ride + it might get chilly/windy at night)
  • Snorkeling equipment

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) and in Puerto Obaldia.

Which currency is most widely accepted on this tour?

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. 

Why is there a governmental fee to enter San Blas?

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. 

What is the cancellation policy?

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. 

Is a visit to the San Blas Islands suitable for children?

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.

How much luggage can we bring?

You can bring your luggage with you. If you have more than 1 largebackpack/suitcase and a smaller carry-on, please inform us ahead of time.
Please also inform us if you have any bulky luggage (surf board, bike). Extra charges might occur. During trade wind season (December to February), there can be heavy winds and high waves, so please consult with us before the trip and ensure to wrap your bulky luggage to prevent it from getting damaged. We are not responsible for any damages that might occur.

How to cross the border to Colombia?

Before leaving Panama and entering Colombia, we make a stop in Puerto Obaldia, Panama to get the paperwork ready. This is the last Panamanian community before entering Colombia. We will take care of the paperwork and visit the different offices in Puerto Obaldia for you while you can have a drink or eat something at a local bakery. Usually this also involves luggage inspection by the local police before being allowed to return to the boat and enter Colombia. Our tour ends 15min later in Sapzurro, Colombia. You can stay in Sapzurro for a night or directly go to the next community, Capurgana, to get your entry stamp into Colombia (simple procedure). This has to be done within 24h after leaving Panama.

How to travel onwards (from Sapzurro, Colombia)

Our tour ends on Wednesday afternoon in Sapzurro, Colombia.  You can stay here or directly go to Capurgana, where the Colombian immigration office is. We organize a boat that can bring you directly to Capurgana once we arrive in Sapzurro (ca. 15min). Once in Capurgana, please stamp your passport at the immigration office in Capurgana. From Capurgana, ferries leave every morning to Turbo and Necogli, from where you can catch a bus to Cartagena.

How are we different from other operators?

  1. We are a local company – we are the only local, Kuna company offering this trip. We grew up in the border region between Panama and Colombia with our Kuna traditions and customs. The San Blas Islands are our home. All our guides are from San Blas, we do not employ foreigners or volunteers as guides.
  2. We offer a higher comfort – you will sleep in actual beds (hammocks only if you really wish to) and you can choose between small dorms or a private room
  3. We eat local cuisine – no processed or western food, only local cuisine prepared by local restaurants or families. Of course, we also offer vegan and vegetarian alternatives.
  4. We travel in small groups – Our groups are small enough to feel like you’re exploring San Blas independently, but big enough to create a good social vibe (ca. 8-15 people. vs up to 40 with other operators)
  5. You can stay longer if you like – our tour is planned for 3 days but reach out to us if you would like to extend it by a few days!