+507-6807-2764 reservaciones@sanblasfrontera.com
Kuanidup - A Tiny Piece of Paradise
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Stay on Isla Kuanidup, San Blas Islands

0
  • Min. 1 night
  • Transport included
  • Daily Departure

Isla Kuanidup - A Tiny Piece of Paradise

Stay on Isla Kuanidup (also: Guanidup), one of the most beautiful and paradisiac islands of all 365 islands of the San Blas archipelago.

This picture-perfect tiny San Blas island is the kind of sun-drenched utopia you dream of: a tiny, palm-tree covered island with a pristine white beach surrounded by shallow turquoise waters. Palm tree swings for that perfect photo moment in paradise. Freshly caught sea food for dinner. Who needs a luxury 5-star resort when you have views like this? 

Your visit to the San Blas islands cannot get any better than this – This island visit is perfect for a romantic island getaway and for everyone looking for a real tropical paradise!

Packages include the transport from Panama City to the port, the boat ride to the island, accommodation, meals and one afternoon tour to visit nearby islands. 

  • Hidden gem in San Blas
  • Palm tree swings #kuanidup
  • Beachside cabins with wooden floor
  • Snorkeling
  • Tour to nearby islands included
  • Escape the crowds on this quiet island

Details - Kuanidup Island Stay

Price (per person)

1-night
$200 USD
2-nights
$310 USD
3-nights
$420 USD
Add-on: Afternoon departure
$25 USD
  • Minimum 2 people per cabin; Discounts for children 8 years and younger

Price Includes

  • Transport from Panama City to San Blas & back (pickup at your hotel, shared 4x4/SUV)
  • Boat transfer to Isla Kuanidup (ca. 25mins, incl. safety vests)
  • Accommodation in a private cabin
  • Meals (vegetarian/vegan options available)
  • Afternoon tour to visit nearby islands

Price Excludes

  • Governmental entrance & port fee to Comarca Kuna Yala ($22 USD adults, $5 USD children 9 or younger)
  • Beverages, drinks, snacks (bring or buy)
  • Towels and personal items

Cabins

  • Private cabin. Wooden, traditional cabins with wooden floor. Western-style beds (mattresses, pillow, sheets) for 2-6 people
  • Shared bathrooms. Western-style toilet and shower (no hot water, no drinking water)
  • Please bring towels, shampoo, soap, personal items

What to Expect on Kuanidup Island, San Blas

Isla Kuanidup is a tiny island that can probably be walked around in 5 mins, but it is hands-down one of the most beautiful islands in the San Blas Archipelago. It is run by a friendly, local Kuna family.

Kuanidup hosts only 5 cabins and barely ever gets crowded. The simple wooden cabins are just a few meters away from a picture-perfect beach with shallow, turquoise water that invites you to go swimming, wandering the powdery sand, exploring the small coral-reefs around the island, or swinging the day away under a palm tree. The open eating area has a gorgeous view of the Caribbean sea and nearby islands while allowing for a fresh breeze during hot days.  As this is not a guided tour, you are free to spend your days to your liking. 

With such a beautiful backdrop, you won’t need much luxury and you won’t find any of that during your visit to Isla Kuanidup (no hot water, no WiFi, very limited electricity and basic cabins). Instead, you will be experiencing the simple but beautiful San Blas Islands lifestyle.

Itinerary Kuanidup San Blas Islands Stay

ArrivalGetting to the Island

5-5:30am pickup at your hotel in Panama City in a shared 4×4 SUV. Drive to Cartí, the main port in San Blas. From here, ca. 25min boat ride to Isla Kuanidup

Your StayOn the Island

You’re free to spend your day to your liking… swimming, snorkeling, reconnecting with nature, letting the sound of the sea lull you to sleep in a hammock during the day
Meals: 3 times a day as set meals of fresh fish/sea food or chicken with a side of rice, vegetables or salads. Water, beverages, alcoholic drinks can be purchased
Accommodation: basic cabaña (beach cabins) just a few meters from the beach and with a view of the ocean.
Afternoon tour: On one of the afternoons during your stay, the island will take you on a tour to explore nearby islands

DepartureReturning to Panama City

On the final day after breakfast, time to say goodbye to the island lifestyle and head back to Panama City (arrival at your hotel: ca. noon-1pm). Late departure option: stay until the afternoon and return to Panama City at around 7pm (limited outside of main season). 

FAQ San Blas Island Stay

How do I book & pay for this island stay?

 

You can book via the homepage (pick your desired date in the calendar and choose for how many nights you’d like to come) or book via email at reservaciones@sanblasfrontera.com.

Payment is in cash on the day of the tour (US Dollars only). If this is not possible, we also accept payment via PayPal or bank transfer for an additional fee. Please reach out for details.

How is this trip different to your "3 Days San Blas Island Hopping" Tour?

The package you are currently looking at is a “regular Island stay”, meaning you choose the island for a multi-day stay and will spend a few relaxed days mostly on this island. The local family who is running the island will take care of you: they pick you up at the port in their boat and bring you to their island, where you spend most of the time for the duration of your trip. This family also takes you on an afternoon tour to visit nearby islands. It is not a guided tour, but can be booked just like a regular hotel – as long as there is availability, you can choose the time and duration of your stay and your visit is independent of other guests. 

On the other hand, our 3-day San Blas Island Hopping tour is a guided group tour, which runs every 3 days on defined dates and for a fixed duration of 3 days. It is designed to provide you with all the highlights the San Blas Islands have to offer including plenty of activities such as snorkeling and visiting a Kuna village. During the Island Hopping trip, you will sleep on two different islands and spend the majority of the day exploring different islands. It is a much more active tour than the regular island stay described above. 

Which Islands will we visit during the included afternoon tour?

During the afternoon tour (included in the package), Kuanidup island will take you to one or several nearby islands. The exact itinerary depends on the weather, season and availability of the islands. 

What should I pack?

Since you will spend most of your time out in nature, please dress accordingly and bring the following:

Mandatory:

  • Passport: checked by police 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 recommended) – no credit cards, no ATM in San Blas

Recommended:

  • Sun protection: for the island and the boat ride (sun blocker, hat, T-shirt with sleeves, towel)
  • Towels
  • Drinking water: please bring sufficient or purchase on the island, shower water on the island is NOT drinkable and drinking water is not provided by 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 (the island might be able to rent out but we recommend bringing your own for full comfort)

Wrap sensitive items and put them in a waterproof bag during the boat ride. Keep your passport and cash with you during the car ride for the passport check and entrance fee payment.

How much luggage can I bring?

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. Recommended maximum is one luggage item plus a small carry-on. Suitcases are not impossible but harder to handle (ever tried pulling a suitcase through sand 😊?). It is possible that your luggage has to be transported on top of the car if space is limited. 

Is this trip suitable for children?

Yes, this trip is absolutely suitable for children and they usually love it! The San Blas Islands are a great place for families to enjoy a fun and adventurous vacation together. Children can explore the beautiful beaches, go swimming and snorkeling in the clear waters, and learn about the unique Kuna culture. Kuna people are very welcoming and love to interact with children, making it a great cultural experience for kids.

It’s important to bring sunscreen, hats, and other protective gear to keep children safe from the sun and sea and sufficient water to stay hydrated.
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).

If you have any specific questions or concerns about bringing children on the trip, please feel free to contact us.

Does the island provide snorkel equipment?

Most islands provide snorkel equipment to rent, although we highly recommend bringing your own if possible, just to be sure.

What about the weather?

The San Blas Islands experience a tropical climate with relatively consistent temperatures throughout the year and is worth a visit year-round! The weather is mainly influenced by the Caribbean Sea and the trade winds and can vary between sectors and islands. Generally speaking: 

  1. Dry Season (December to March/April): lower humidity, little rainfall, plenty of sunshine & clear blue skies, strong winds (trade winds). Temperatures: 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F). Best time for visiting the San Blas Islands, but on the downside more crowds and worse visibility for snorkeling in case of rougher seas from the trade winds. 
  2. Transition Season (May & June, November): transition from dry to rainy season. Slightly more unpredictable weather, mix of sunny days with occasional showers (30-60min usually), mainly in the afternoon. Temperatures similar as in dry season.
  3. Rainy Season (July to October): more frequent showers & thunderstorms, usually in short bursts  (30-60min usually, mainly in the afternoon) followed by sunshine, little wind, temperatures 25°C to 31°C (77°F to 88°F). Off-season with less crowds, better visibility for snorkeling with calmer seas. 

It is possible that outside of the dry season you will experience some rain during this trip. That doesn’t mean that it rains nonstop. Instead, there are good chances that it might rain every day, but if so then most likely in the afternoon as a quick downpour followed by sunshine. Since temperatures will still be warm, even when it’s raining, and you’ll still have sun, visits to the San Blas Islands will still be enjoyable. In fact, that’s what Panamanians do – visit the beach all year long. 

The island operates throughout the year. In the rare event of extreme weather conditions, it may be necessary to cancel or modify the itinerary of your stay, we will of course keep you informed in that case.

 

 

Read this before booking your trip

A visit to the San Blas Islands promises a unique experience unlike any other vacation you’ve taken. The local Kuna people own and operate all businesses in San Blas by law, foreign investments are prohibited and foreigners/Panamanias are not allowed to conduct any business or work in San Blas, so you’ll have a chance to engage with the community and support their economy. Most of the cabins are managed by large families, providing livelihoods for many locals who have lived on the islands for generations, with limited exposure to the hospitality industry.

However, reaching the islands is a challenging journey as they are situated far from the mainland, making it difficult to import essentials such as building materials, gasoline, and food. All supplies must be sourced in Panama City, transported via 4WD to Carti, and then redistributed to smaller sellers and cabins for an additional fee. The islands have no infrastructure, including electricity or running water, and locals live in harmony 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, and we ask that you leave behind any expectations that you may have from mainland life. The simplicity of the cabins reflects a blend of traditional lifestyles and expensive material sourcing as external funding is prohibited. Likewise, the meals served are mostly based on local food patterns such as fish or seafood with rice, with limited access and attempts to cater to foreign tastes with some sides and salads. Drinking water is a luxury, that needs to be imported from Panama City, and electricity and fresh water require great effort to provide, with usage times sometimes limited. Bed linens are either washed by hand in the river on the mainland or sent to Panama City. There is no communal trash collection or recycling system, and only a few locals speak English, with some not even speaking Spanish.

Nevertheless, we collaborate closely with cabin owners to ensure that your stay is remarkable, with clean and functioning facilities and outstanding service.

With this in mind, be ready to jump into your island adventure! Once you arrive on the island, you will most likely discover that modern-day luxuries are unnecessary in such a beautiful environment, and that the simple and relaxing lifestyle that the Kuna people live has its own charm. 😊