FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
What are the prices ? Prices start from 150$ per person and per day (all included, except transfers) on classic monohulls 40feet, to 200$ and more on catamarans. Price also depends if you want a private boat or not, and of course on size of the boat, number of crew, age of boat, etc.. (we can also propose you a formula with no food included, from only 120$ per day per person – food expenses and cooking will be shared with crew / passengers)
Can i pay everything with credit card ? Unfortunately, we have a high fee (approx. 4%) when receiving money via credit card. If you agree to split the cost with us (ie fee 2%), you may pay half of payment via credit card, if you want to.
Can i get a discount ? well … if you make a reservation 5 months (or more) in advanced, or if you are willing to spend a minimum of 6 days onboard, yes, we will be happy to give you a 5% discount
We are very interested but we are on a budget, do you have a special formula for us ? yes, we have one or two boats that can propose a lower price (120$ per day per person) with food and cooking not including. You will have to share food expenses and cooking with crew and passengers
What are your payment conditions ? For any reservation, we require a 50% deposit via credit card or paypal. Then, depending on amount, you may pay the balance either in cash when boarding or wire transfer one month prior boarding.
What are your refund policies ? All deposit (50% of total amount) are supposed to be non-refundable. We try to be flexible though, when special event occur and passengers have no other choice to cancel their trips, but please note that deposits cannot be refunded at all within one month prior boarding the boat.
Are there ATM machines in San Blas ? No, there are absolutely no ATM machines in San Blas.
Ok , I just booked with you but what will happen next? Just after your booking you will receive a confirmation email (usually within only 12 hours) including all details of the cruise (boarding location, contact for taxi, name and phone of captain, etc…)
What is the overall cost for going from panama city to the boat ? (all included, kuna taxes, taxi, lancha..) Basically, a round trip cost approx. 100$ per person (50$ taxi + 30$ water taxi + 20$ kuna entrance fee). For more details about taxi or flight transportation, you may visit our page Transfers Panama city / San Blas
I have one or two big pieces of luggage, can i take it with me ? yes, you can, and we can store it onboard, but most likely, it will probably be a bit difficult for you to transport it via taxi and water taxi. So we still advise you to leave them in a hotel for ex., and take only with you the necessary equipment (you don’t really need lots of clothes by the way)
I have a surf (or kite surf) can i bring it ? yes, you can (just let the taxi know about it before departing)
Can i bring a spear gun with me ? No, spearfishing is officially forbidden in san blas, and customs might even confiscate it when crossing the border
Can i come with my own car ? yes, of course, but you have to have a 4×4 car. Road is not that bad by the way, and the most important thing is not so much the 4×4 capability, but the enhancement of the car. There is parking lot available in Carti. (Carti is approx 2h30 away from panama city)
Where is the boat situated ? Where am i supposed to meet the boat ? Usually, all boats are situated in west part of san blas (lemon cays, chichime, porvenir, carti, hollandes cay, etc..), and boarding location will be situated in one of these islands (10-30minutes away from carti onshore with a water taxi)
When does the tour start ? We have boats available in San Blas almost all of the time. (but please note that we usually require a minimum of 36 hours between reservation and boarding the boat). Boarding / disembarking boats are done in the morning (usually around 9-10am)
What kind food is served onboard ? We know that food is actually a crucial point in order to have a successful cruise, and all of our boats (even the most affordable ones) propose good quality meals, cooked with fresh vegetables, with either meat, fish of the day (some boats even have a BBQ onboard), and of course sea food (such as lobster, crab or conch – depending on seasons, and availability of products). Also for breakfast, most of the boats will usually prepare it as the “american way” with sausages, bacon and eggs, as well as marmalade, pancakes and fresh fruit juice. There is actually a cook present in almost all of the boats.
The food point is very important to us, and we really do our best in order to prepare and offer quality and fresh meals to our guests.
Are all meals included ? yes, all meals are included (breakfast, lunch, dinners, as well as drinks, snacks, water, etc…)
Is alcohol included ? yes, alcohol (in moderation) is also included (ie half bottle of wine + 2 beers or cocktails per day per person)
Can I bring my own alcohol on board ? the quick and clear answer of this question is : NO. We actually have had too many problems with some non responsible passengers who brought their own alcohol onboard (sometimes in a way too much quantity), and then after create many comportment issues regarding security onboard, as well as keeping a friendly and courteous relation with the crew and other passengers.
I am vegetarian. Can you prepare vegetarian meals ? yes, this is not a problem. Simply specify it when contacting us, or before boarding, and we’ll handle this.
I would like to do a lot of snorkeling (or sailing, or visiting kuna, etc..). Am i sure that we’ll be able to do this activity ? yes, definitely, our captains will always adapt the cruise to our guests preferences… If you’d like to do a lot of snorkeling, we’ll show you the best spots. Same thing for sailing. Also if you are more interested in meeting kuna people, we also have captains with very good connections with them.
Is there air conditioning onboard ? No. But please be aware that most of the time, there will always be a bit of wind (even a little) coming from the ocean and that will give you a small and refreshing breeze all through inside of the boat, and you really won’t feel as much hot as if you were onshore. Also most of the boats are actually equipped with small electrical fans in cabins, if needed.
I am afraid of being seasick Please note that boats will always anchor in sheltered bays (archipelagos) at night, and will sail for a maximum of 1-3hours per day (all islands are actually all pretty closed together), so it’s actually very unlikely that you will get seasick
Do we sleep onboard ? yes, of course (and you’ll have your own private cabin)
What is the weather to expect in san blas ? It depends on the period (there is a rainy and a dry season). You may check out our page Best period to visit san blas for more details about weather.
What special equipment / clothes do i need to bring ? well… not much 🙂 . Days (and nights) are always pretty hot in San Blas (approx. 30°C / 85°F), so except for a few T-shirts, shorts, and a swimsuit, you won’t need anything more… The only thing you don’t want to forget though is your sunglasses, a suncream, and a hat
Will we meet the Kuna people ? Yes, definitely, the Kunas are actually present all around the islands, (either living in small villages or in family in small islands) and you’ll have the opportunity to see and meet lots of them.
Are there a lot of mosquitoes in san blas ? yes, and no. Like any other places in a tropical environment, there are bugs, mosquitoes, etc… But the good news is that you won’t have any of these once onboard … Why ? simply because boats are always situated (anchored) from a bit of a distance from the shore, and this distance is actually too far away for mosquitoes (or other bugs) to reach the boat …
Is it possible to connect to the internet in san blas ? yes, and Digicel network is probably the one that works the best in san blas. And you can buy a sim card (sold only in Digicel stores), for only a few dollars, and stay connected. Captains can also give you an access with their own equipment, if needed.
CREW / PASSENGERS
I am ok to share the boat with other people, but i would prefer people within the same age range or with no kids, etc.. yes, of course, we do our best to not mix all kind of different persons (ie. young people with retired couple, or a family with kids with a couple, etc..)
Do all captains speak english ? almost of them, yes. (if not, we’ll specify it on the boat page description)
Are there any malaria problems ? Not at all (malaria may probably have been reported in some of the very remote islands of san blas (eastern part), like in any other tropical places, and that’s why a few guides may have talked about it but as of western part (the most touristic part) in San Blas, we’ve actually never heard of any single case
I ‘ve heard that kuna do not allow charter in san blas ? It has been a continuous problem and discussion here in San Blas for years. Officially, it’s true that the Congreso (Kuna authority) do not allow charter boats in their territory. But in reality, things are different, and charter activity is mostly tolerated. And as any other charter boats or companies in San Blas, we are just keeping a low profile, as well as showing a total respect for the kuna people and culture.
What is your success formula ? well, this is pretty simple : we are all dedicated to “client satisfaction”. We provide good food quality and we truly want our passengers to feel comfortable onboard and enjoy san blas islands as much as possible. We are all boat owners, we are passionate about living on the ocean, among tropical islands and a beautiful environment, and we are glad to share this with you !..
What safety equipment is on board ? All the boats we are working with have all the necessary equipment for safety (life raft, buoys, VHF – as well as a radar in most cases), and are also in well maintained conditions. But please also note that all islands are actually all pretty closed together, and only a few miles away from the shore, the whole area is also covered by cell phone signal and lots of lancha (water taxis) are present all over the islands as well, so it’s really really unlikely that something wrong happen (and by the way, it actually never happened either with us or any other company)
Thank you, should you have any more questions, feel free to send us an email here.