Adventure travel in San Blas, tours and deals for October, 2020! The archipelago has 365 islands picturesque and palm tree covered, uninhabited and set in indescribably beautiful aqua waters. When famous author John Le Carre of The Tailor of Panama stayed in San Blas his comment upon taking in an island view was, “This is not paradise, this is heaven.” This is the place to go if you truly want to “get away from it all” to be seeped in and surrounded by nature. Owned by the Guna indians, they’ve kept everything natural and authentic. What a pleasure to spend a few days where there’s no concrete, glass or steel. The second major attraction is the Guna people- a beautiful ancient people, largely unspoiled by modern life.
Your San Blas adventure starts early in the morning. A friendly driver will meet you at your Panama City lodging between 5:15am and 5:45am and safely transport you and up to five other guests to the Port of Carti. Relax and start enjoying during the 2.5-3 hour journey through the spectacular jungle highlands. Oftentimes we encounter wildlife, such as monkeys and sloths on the road and will gladly stop the car to give you opportunities to admire these beautiful animals and to take photos. Our drivers will also stop at a grocery store in case you want to purchase any items, such as snacks, water or fruit. When arriving at the port your “lancha” boat and San Blas trip tour guide will be waiting for you, ready to commence the San Blas tour. The 30-minute boat ride to the first island may be a little bumpy and, depending on ocean conditions, there may be some ocean spray. All of our boats have ample space and feature sun protection that will make this journey more comfortable. Read more info on San Blas Travel Tours.
Although it’s not on most travelers’ itineraries, Punta Chame is home to one of the nicest beaches in Panama and it’s also the best place for kiteboarding in the country. Set on a peninsula jutting out into the Pacific Ocean, this area is literally all about the beach. The endless stretch of beach here is wide, and the water is warm and shallow, giving kiters who are learning the distinct advantage of being able to stand up in the water to collect themselves as they work with their kite. The winds are side on shore and quite consistent from December to April, which is Panama’s dry season. Several kite schools offer lessons, including Machete Kite and Kitesurf Panama, located at opposite ends of the beach.
Few locations include The Contaduria Fort, Historical place where battles were fought to protect the harbor. Find traces of guns and the Temple of the Virgin of the Rosary, and enjoy a privileged view.
In this place the first Spanish settlement in the area was built in the early seventeenth century and was also where San Blas was founded. On the San Basilio Hill the most important Colonial Ruins on the Pacific Coast are found. The old fort of San Blas also known as La Contaduria (now semi-restored) and the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary «La Marinera» dating from 1769, where you can find the famous bronze bells immortalized by Henry W. Longfellow in his posthumous poem «The Bells of San Blas.» These Colonial ruins are not restored but well worth visiting… The church is beautiful and gives us a clear idea of the Spanish community that settled in San Blas in those days.
There are three main options for getting to the islands. The first is to arrange a tour from Panama City, normally for three days and two nights (expect to pay around US$270 per person inclusive). A 4×4 driver will collect you and any others from your accommodation in the capital, usually at around 5am, and will drive you for around four hours to a port, where a water taxi will take you to the island where you’re staying. Accommodation is in tents or cabañas. Typically you will stop en route at one of the four Carti islands, around ten minutes from the port, where there is a sizeable Kuna community.
San Blas adventure travel tours are a trendy thing right now. Fly. There are two ways to fly. You can do an Air Panama flight from the smaller Albrook airport in the city (not Tocumen International) to El Porvenir or Playan Chico. These are 20-seaters and are around $100 one-way. This isn’t bad and you’ll then take a taxi to the port and then a boat out to wherever you’re staying. I flew Air Panama several times and they are great. The other option is a privately charted flight. These go from Albrook as well out to tiny landing strips on the islands so you can go straight to your sailboat. We’re talking $3,000 for an 8-seater. You can talk with the sailboat company that you book with to see if there are better prices. A flight was chartered in when we left, so we got a deal of $75 per person to go back to Panama City because it was going back empty. Jackpot! See additional info at taotravel365.com.