Send your booking request until 1pm the day before the tour – we confirm within several hours! No prepayment or deposit required during booking.
Do not hesitate to get in touch! We know the islands the best and we are happy to talk to you.
Discover the most beautiful beaches of the 365 islands in the San Blas Archipelago during this San Blas Islands day trip from Panama City. Wander tropical beaches on deserted islands, snorkel colorful reefs and enjoy delicious, freshly caught sea food during a freshly prepared lunch on the beach. Snorkel the famous sunken ship on Isla Perro or choose to go for some quieter, uninhabited islands.
Pick-up between 5-5:30am at your hotel in Panama City
Drop-off at ca. 7.30pm at your hotel in Panama City, depending on traffic
For Veracruz/Playa Bonita earlier pick-up/later drop-off plus additional charges apply
For this day trip, you’ll dive from the bustling city of Panama City into the tranquility of the San Blas islands, one of the top destinations in Central America! The San Blas islands are part of Kuna Yala, an indigenous territory along the Caribbean Coast governed by the Kuna indigenous group. A trip to Kuna Yala won’t look like any commercial vacation you’ve experienced in the past. Instead, you’ll get to embrace the local customs and cuisine. But keep in mind, there’s no WiFi, or credit card payments, and US dollars are the only acceptable form of payment.
Expect a stunning paradise, untouched nature and a proud and independent indigenous culture. Trust us, at the end of the day you’ll be sad to be leaving this slice of paradise already!
No fixed itinerary, but let us know during the booking process if you’d prefer visiting either the sunken ship on Isla Perro (one of the highlights of San Blas, but tends to be rather crowded on weekends) or more quiet, uninhabited islands (for example Kuanidup, Iguana or Anmardup). Itinerary subject to change and decided on the day of the tour (depending on weather, covid restrictions, weekdays etc.)
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. 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 (ca. 30mins) to the first island, where you can enjoy a beautiful beach, crystal-clear waters or go snorkeling.
For lunch, enjoy a delicious fresh meal with the catch of the day (vegetarian/vegan options or chicken available on request) right next to the beach and surrounded by palm trees.
After lunch, let’s go and explore an uninhabited island and a place where we can spot some sea stars (no touching!) before the day has come to an end and we are heading back to the dock in Cartí. Your driver will bring you back to Panama City from here (arrival ca. 7:30pm, depending on traffic).
The itinerary might be slightly adapted if required, e.g. for weather circumstances, in case of closure of some islands or to avoid too large crowds.
We recommend this tour for everyone that would like to get to know the San Blas Islands but does not have the time to stay overnight or prefers to visit only during the day. Children are highly welcome, although we recommend that children are 6+ years old given that it is quite a long day (5am to 7pm).
You will visit 2-3 islands and a natural pool (star fish!) during this day tour. Our day tour does not follow a fixed itinerary but let us know during the booking process if you’d prefer visiting either the sunken ship on Isla Perro (one of the highlights of San Blas, but tends to be rather crowded on weekends) or more quiet, uninhabited islands (for example Kuanidup, Iguana or Anmardup).
We will try to accommodate your wishes. Our guides put together a daily itinerary, depending on several factors such as weather, season and how crowded the islands will be on that particular day
For lunch, you can choose between the catch of the day, chicken or a vegan/vegetarian option with a side of rice, plantains or vegetables/salad. Drinks and beverages can be purchased or you can bring your own.
While we try to hire English-speaking guides and drivers, we cannot guarantee that there will be one with you during the tour. In San Blas, only Kuna people (the indigenous tribe living on the San Blas Islands) are allowed to work, and unfortunately there is only few Kuna guides that speak English AND fulfill our high quality standards. Therefore you might find a Spanish-only guide on this tour. But don’t let this discourage you from joining, usually communication still works well.
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.
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, we also offer private day tours! Reach out to us for more info on options and pricing.
Spectacular/Unique Private Islands Tour: You will find many mixed reviews of this day trip from diff operators but we had an awesome time, taking a private tour from Panama City to the Guna Yala protected islands (of whch there are several). It took us a lot of back and forth in advance picking the right tour company but San Blas Frontera lived up to everything they detailed in our messages and our requests. The day starts early around 530am and ends with a return to the hotel around 7pm. There was definitely a lot of behind the scenes coordination that happens between the tour operator, 4×4 driver, Guna Yala tour guide and boat captain (so while you may feel in the dark – as long as you have arranged in advance , it was very smooth and organized contrary to many reviews – we were in our boat within 15 min of arrival). We chose to do a tour just for our family which permitted us to have our own 4×4 (which typically will fit only 5 adults comfortably plus the driver) and our own boat launch (which typically holds about 14). The 4×4 drive starts on paved roads leaving the city, with a stop at a convenience store and then the last 1.5 – 2 hours is through the rainforest (which as of end of March 2023 was being paved slowly). You arrive at the port and the launch is either there or arrives from an island. Yarmachi contacted us the night before, so that we could pick from a few options on which islands and activities to do (This is only possible on a private trip) and also determined by weather and winds. The boat ride can be a bit rough as well but our captain was very mindful to make it as smooth as possible. On the trip, we visited an island for some beach time, the sunken ship park, the natural pool and lunch on a “remote” island too. The pool was super wild but we didnt spot any starfish. We travel a lot and this was an out of this world experience with our 2 children (8 and 10) – they even prepared veg options for 2 of us. The island hopping lasts abt 5 to 6 hours and then you take the same 4×4 back to your hotel. I recommend bringing some cash for drinks, snacks and tips. You can also pack some snacks and towels for yourself to use on the islands. We also brought snorkeling gear for the ship.
A perfect way to experience the beauty of Guna Yala
We booked a day trip to Guna Yala through San Blas Frontera and had a fantastic experience. Yarmachi was prompt and helpful on email in advance of the trip, and provided clear instructions for our preparation and pickup. We opted to pay extra for a private car, and our driver arrived at our hotel at exactly 5 am, as promised. We stopped at a grocery store along the way to grab breakfast and additional snacks for the excursion. Yes, the drive to the port is long and winding. But if you can take some motion sickness medicine and try to relax and enjoy, it is part of the adventure. We enjoyed the scenery and animals through the windows, and our guide Jorge provided interesting stories and information as we went.
You will get out of the experience what you put into it. If you are able to relax and embrace some of the unknown and unexpected that is inherent in the trek, and meaningfully engage with the experience, it is very powerful and you can learn a lot.
At the port, our driver introduced us to our guide for the day and told us to listen clearly to everything they said. It was a little busy with several boats loading and unloading, and we waited a few minutes until she pointed to us to get us into the boat. Then we took off for the islands and entered paradise.
It is hard to describe the beauty of these islands and the overall setting. It is simply magical. We arrived at Yani and were greeted warmly at the dining area. We were given clear instructions (in english and spanish) and were free to enjoy. Lunch was delicious and the water and sand were magnificent. Then we went to a natural pool to snorkel a bit, and on to Perro Chico.
It is important to remember that Guna Yala is a community, it is not a resort. You are not there to be treated like a VIP 5 star guest. You are there to experience another culture, to listen, to learn, and to be respectful. Do not expect that everyone will speak Spanish or English. A few basic words and phrases in Guna will go a long way.
(If you will be in Panama City before your trip, visit the Mueso de la Mola in Casco Viejo for an excellent introduction to the history, art, culture, and language of Guna Yala.)
I am very grateful to have had this experience, and next time will plan to stay for an overnight or two to have even more time in Guna Yala.
Definitely Worth It
So this company organized our San Blas Islands Day Trip and it was very easy to navigate (and everything to expect was clearly listed in the info for the tour – don’t listen to some of the reviews that said the drivers didn’t speak any English and it was a chaotic mess – our driver spoke some English and the Port want nearly as chaotic as I was Oriya thinking based off of reviews). The company listed everything we would experience and even said although it may appear to be chaotic at times, everyone knew what they were doing – and they were right! (Also, if it helps, this company quickly responded to any inquiries I had via email and they were very friendly and helpful!)
So do be aware that getting to the island are rough. From Amador Causeway, the journey to the port took 3.5-4 hours. The first hour or so is just bumpy highway, while the next couple hours is awful (but it wasn’t the tour’s fault by any means). The “road” is a windy, up-down, washed out (at certain points), pot hot filled trek that will probably leave some people motion sick (I got really motion sick on the way back – my group referred to this road as nature’s roller coaster). I HIGHLY suggest taking something for motion sickness. Again, this is at no fault of the company (and all companies have to travel this road to get there).
But the islands are absolutely worth enduring nature’s roller coaster. Stunning, Crystal clear waters, chill vibes, conch, sand dollar, and starfish sightings; Snorkeling around a ship wreck (very close to a beach); all of this was well worth the trek out.
If you are physically able to endure rough roads, I highly suggest you take this trip with this company.
Loved the excursion! San Blas is such a beautiful place, my daughter and I felt as if we were in paradise!
Had a great time on the tour, although I would have enjoyed having more time on the islands. Next time I will probably book an overnight stay.