San Blas Islands Camping Tour

Our 2 or 3 day San Blas islands camping tour gives you a combination of enjoying the stunning Lemon Cays island region and remote areas such as the Cayos Holandeses islands. These camping tours are unique and one of the few tours to visit the Cayos Holandeses, one of the most scenic yet rustic destinations in the San Blas islands.

Limited availability from December to April – Please book in advance

Departs: Daily 05:00 – 05:30

Price: $280.00 USD

Duration: 2-3 days

Included: 

  • Return transportation from Panama City
  • Boat transfers between islands
  • Guide (Spanish speaking)
  • Three daily meals

Not Included: 

  • Guna Yala tourist entry fee – $20
  • Occasional beach taxes – ($2-$4)
  • Photographs*
  • Optional gratuities

*It is not uncommon for some of the islands inhabitants to ask for a small fee if you want to take their photograph. This generally applies to women wearing traditional clothing however you should ask permission before taking any photos of any individuals.

What to take:

  • Snacks & drinking water
  • Towel and swim wear
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun protection
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Passport (Entry to Guna Yala may be denied without it)
  • Cash in small bills, no larger than $5
  • A light jacket for boat transfers

This is a sample itinerary. Your tour may vary slightly

You´ll be amazed at how remote the Cayos Holandeses are compared to the other, over touristic, parts of the San Blas islands. Nowhere else in San Blas are the snorkeling sites as pristine, the fishing as successful and the marine life as abundant. The Lemon Keys are visited on a more regular basis by tourists and Kunas alike, but they are beautiful in their own right and home to the famous San Blas ship wreck at Isla Perro, star fish island and the tiny, quaint Isla Pelicano, one of the smallest islands in the San Blas. Coco Blanco where you will camp for all 3 nights is nestled between these islands, and has toilets and showers.

Pick up at  your hostel or hotel & transfer in 4×4 (Approx 2.5 – 3 hrs) to the San Blas islands of Carti. We advise buying all supplies before leaving Panama City. Otherwise you can pick up basic supplies in Coco Blanco (more expensive). You will be picked up and taken directly to Coco Blanco for breakfast.
For the next three days you will be taken on daily tours to the surrounding islands in the Lemon Keys and Cayos Holandeses.
Spend some time on Isla Perro and swim in the waters around Diablo (Devils Island) where you can swim over to the sunken ship. Tour the lemon keys, where you will visit some of the most beautiful islands in the area including Isla Pelicano, and star fish island

You will spend one whole day in the Cayos Holandeses which consists of a boat trip to some of the most remote areas including a huge sea lagoon where you will have the opportunity to admire the hundreds of star fish littering the sea floor. Then with any luck you will chance upon a group of Sting ray or even a shark or two. They can be in groups of 12 or more and some are over 8ft long.  You will spend the whole day exploring the surrounding islands.
Transfer back to the mainland is early on day 4 with 4×4 to your Hostel/Hotel. You will usually be back in the city by midday but the transport can be unpredictable so it could be later than this.

 

Please take the time to read this fact sheet, it contains important information for any trip to or through the San Blas islands, Panama.

In case you didn’t know, San Blas is basically it’s own little country, run by the indigenous Guna Indians.  They have their own customs and laws and in many cases Panamanian law doesn’t apply in Guna Yala, as San Blas is also known.  As a native people they have fought hard to maintain their dignity and culture and must be one of the most successful indigenous groups in the world for having done so.  Tourism is allowed in San Blas only at their discretion and at times they maintain strict controls over it.  It’s very difficult for a non Guna to live within the boundaries of San Blas and practically impossible for a Guna and non Guna to marry and remain in San Blas.  It’s also forbidden for outsiders to operate businesses within Guna Yala.

Transport to San Blas Islands

  • All transportation options in San Blas are owned and operated by the Guna people.  From the moment you are picked up from your hotel, to the moment that you return to your hotel you are in the hands of businesses that are NOT operated by Mamallena Tours And Travel. That means that we’re in the same position as every other travel agency in Panama and we only have a limited number of options of who we can use for transport
  • The transport is operated on a shared basis and they have to pick up other passengers so will sometimes be late to pick you up and to return you home.  They may stop along the way to make stops that are unscheduled, they may try to fit one extra person in the car.  The music could be too loud and there could be mechanical problems.
  • When you arrive in San Blas you may spend time waiting for transport to your place of accommodation/first destination and it may seem like no one knows what is happening with little communication. It usually works out fine in the end

Accommodation in San Blas Islands

As with any travel agency, we’re making a booking for you in a hotel in San Blas.  We don’t operate the hotel nor are we in charge of their reservations.  Once we receive a request for a reservation from yourself we will see if the hotel has a vacancy.  We will then confirm a reservation for you and ask you for payment.  We will ONLY confirm a reservation with you once we have received confirmation from the hotel.  We ask for a payment as the hotels in San Blas usually request full payment before your arrival.  We will make those payments on your behalf and obviously reconfirm your booking before your arrival.  Now, as anywhere in the world, problems can arise and mistakes can be made.  It has been known that a hotel can cancel at short notice, even though a deposit or full payment has been made.  This is rare and we try not to work with the hotels that have done this.  If this does happen then we will make all efforts to find you a new place to stay and to obtain a refund from the original hotel.  As we said, San Blas is certainly not like it is back home and it doesn’t operate like it is.  Don’t expect your hotel to be the equivalent of a hotel of equal value in Panama City.  Accommodation will be very basic and you may well be sleeping in a grass hut with a sand floor.  But I guess that is part of the attraction right?  The very fact that you’re not back home and things aren’t the same.  If they were, you wouldn’t have come.

Food in San Blas Islands

The food is hit and miss and will often depend on what they are able to catch or buy of local fisherman. Breakfast is often some bread and cheese or a spread like nutella, some of the more upmarket options will include fresh fruit and an egg.

Lunch and dinner will normally be rice, plantains, salad, veg, beans, and either fish or chicken. Tomato pasta is also sometimes served and to be frank is not that great. You usually get what you pay for. We try and give an honest idea of what food to expect at each place, but what they tell us may be very different to what they serve up, so we rely on you our clients to tell us if something is not as described so we can either alter the description or try and get them to fulfill what they promise and this goes for everything in the San Blas. There customer service is very different to what you might be used to, some may see it as quirky, others rude but remember you are in their paradise.

Also the San Blas islands does have a problem with rubbish collection especially around the town islands and on the beaches facing the ocean as rubbish from passing cargo ships often washes up. There are programs in place to clean up the islands but just be aware that not all the beaches will be spotless and always take your rubbish out with you when possible.

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TOURS@MAMALLENA.COM

San Blas Islands Guide

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Check our guide to the San Blas Islands, discover the amazing history of Guna Yala Plus our top tips when visiting and all available tours

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