Guna Yala, how to success your San Blas Islands Catamaran Trip

Blue San Blas islands
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Guna Yala catamarans cruises, perfection do exist.

Off the Caribbean coast of Panama, there’s a secret slice of paradise that offers a dream vacation of crystal-clear water and pristine tropical beaches. The San Blas Islands of Panama (also known as Guna Yala) is an archipelago made up of hundreds of breathtaking islands and cays. Although the islands are just off the mainland of Panama, the archipelago is an off-the-beaten-path destination with few on-land accommodation options. For that reason, the best and most exciting way to experience the San Blas Islands is to charter a catamaran boat.

In this article, we’re going to dive into everything you need to know about signing up for a sailing trip, what to expect from the experience, and other good-to-know information about the islands. Visiting the region is a special experience that not everyone gets to have. Long after your trip is over, you’ll think back on it with a smile on your face. So, put on your sailing outfit, and let’s go check out the San Blas Islands!

About Guna Yala (San Blas Islands)

The archipelago doesn’t just have a few islands; it has at least 365 islands and cays–yes, you read that correctly. That’s one island for every day of the year. Talk about options, right? Forty-nine of them are inhabited by the Kuna people (also known as the Guna), who govern the region. Unlike other tropical islands in the Caribbean Sea, the San Blas Islands are very well protected and are by no means a traditional tourist destination. You won’t find any multi-story resorts, crowds of tourists, or out-of-place casinos. Instead, the islands have been kept in a natural state where the people still live in thatched huts.

As you may have guessed, the locals prepare mouthwatering seafood dishes cooked with spices from the region. The Kuna people are best known for handmaking Molas. These are traditional pieces of clothing made of bright-colored fabric and mesmerizing designs. When you visit the islands, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to buy Molas as a souvenir.

amazing Guna yala (San Blas islands)

Catamaran Trip to Guna Yala

With so many islands to visit, sailing is the recommended way to experience the archipelago. Sailing through the islands should be done by professionals who have a vast knowledge of the area, and there are plenty of catamaran boats that offer group and private charters. To make planning the trip as easy as possible, you can book your boat tour through Catamaran San Blas, where you’ll have multiple luxury vessels to choose from.

Prices vary but booking a catamaran with a group of people will cost around $300 per person per day. If you want to book the entire boat, that will cost around $1,500 per day. These prices include an all-inclusive experience with a seasoned captain, a private chef, and a small crew (depending on which boat you choose to book). The catamarans provide nice, spacious rooms, a kitchen, seating areas, and, of course, outside decks where you can lay out in the sun. There’s nothing quite like sprawling out on the trampoline between the two hulls with the wind flowing through your hair–yes, please!

 

Your captain will take you to the most stunning islands and cays in the archipelago. You’ll have the chance to hop in the gorgeous water for some snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and whatever else your boat has to offer. There’ll be multiple opportunities to take a small dinghy from the boat to an island or cay for a day in the sand–bonfire, anyone?

A catamaran sailing trip will bring you face-to-face with all the beauty and culture San Blas has to offer. It’s always best to reserve your spot in advance so you can pick the best dates for your schedule!

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Best Time to Visit Guna Yala (San Blas islands)

December to May is considered the dry season in San Blas and the rest of Central America. Any time during these months is ideal for going sailing around the San Blas Islands. Keep in mind that the high season happens from December to February and July to August. Higher demand means catamarans get booked quickly and cost a bit more than the other months.

If you don’t mind the chance of a little rain, September and October are great months for sailing in San Blas. Not many tourists will be around, so it’ll feel like you have the entire archipelago to yourself! Not to mention prices will be at their lowest–a win-win situation.

No matter which time of the year you choose to visit the San Blas Islands, you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime!

Boat Charter Guna Yala archipelago

The best way to visit San Blas

How to Prepare for the Trip to San Blas islands

When it comes to preparing for your catamaran sailing trip, get ready for sunny days and a lot of time spent in the water. You’ll want to pack clothing for warm weather, loads of sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Sun protection is important while sailing the salty sea, and bringing UV protective shirts is a wonderful way to keep your skin safe. Depending on which part of the year you’re visiting, you may want to bring a windbreaker or raincoat.

Whether or not you’re someone who experiences seasickness, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pack motion sickness medication like Dramamine. The last thing you need is to spend your vacation feeling sick and miserable. Luckily, the conditions in the San Blas Islands don’t get too rough.

Will the Ocean Be Rough in San Blas islands? 

The captain of your catamaran will be up to date with weather conditions and know how to avoid choppy water. While you sail through the open ocean, you may experience a few bumps along the way, but nothing dangerous. Close to the islands, where your boat will anchor, the water stays nice and calm as it is protected by the beautiful coral reefs found all around San Blas. So, don’t let the fear of rough waters keep you from taking a catamaran trip to San Blas Islands.

Final Thoughts on Guna Yala, San Blas Islands

The San Blas Islands of Panama offer a truly one-of-a-kind experience you won’t find anywhere else. Sailing from island to island on a chartered catamaran will give you the opportunity to get a lay of the land and understand what the archipelago is all about. So, don’t miss out on experiencing a little slice of paradise in the Caribbean Sea, and start planning your trip!

San Blas boat charter Packages

Shared monohull

$200

  • 24 hours of venue time
  • 1 private cabin
  • 1 shared bathroom
  • 3 meals per day
  • snacks, fruits and drinks

Shared Catamaran

$300

  • 24 hours of venue time
  • 1 private cabin
  • 1 shared bathroom
  • 3 meals per day
  • snacks, fruits and drinks

Private Catamaran

$1200

  • 24 hours of venue time for 2 persons
  • 3 meals per day
  • snacks, fruits and drinks

All package require a 20% deposit to reserve and hold requested date

Remaining balance is due 15 days before the departure date or have to be paid in cash at the check in

Holiday and peak season pricing may vary

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