Frequently asked questions
Who are we?
Catamaran Adventures, the ocean and traveling is what we like the most. The crew, undertook this adventure as a vital project after understanding the world view improves from the sea.
We offer caribbean sailing vacations: San Blas sailing cruises around the wonderful archipelago in Panama. We always try to adapt the dates, itinerary and number of days to your preference while we striving to make your stay as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Our goal, ultimately, is to turn your trip into a beautiful and lasting memory.
What does the price include?
The rates shown on our website are for trips shared with other travelers, if you want a private charter please contact us to know the price. The price for private charters are somewhat higher since the service is exclusive to the group and there will be no other travelers on the catamaran.
The price on our private and shared cruises include the cost of skipper, cook, meals and drinks on board, including moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages, fuel, fresh water, bed linen and bath towel, auxiliary boat with outboard engine, fishing equipment, snorkeling, use of kayaks/paddle board and final basic cleaning.
Prices do not include transfers to/from Panama, personal entry tax to the county Guna Yala ($20/person), the rate of the port ($2/person). We can arrange all the transfers for you if you want, you can be picked up from your hotel in Panama or directly on the airport (private transfer).
"I think it's a little bit expensive..."
Our prices are fully adapted to the market and are justified based on the following criteria:
- Buying a boat costs as much or more than a big house and is much more expensive to maintain. Our catamarans are the most modern and comfortable boats boats with professional crew in the San Blas area, the boats have also a range of amenities on board, so the price can never be comparable to a guest house. However, the experience will never be the same either, a sailing trip is simply unique.
- When you travel with us, our all inclusive catamaran charters, are offered with a full crew. Captain, cook and a 3rd. assistant depending on the number of people on board, thats a total of 3 crew, are at your disposal 24 hours and are responsible for ensuring the safety and maintenance of the ship as well as to ensure good organization on board.
- Our catamaran charters is San Blas, are all inclusive, which means you do not have to worry about any extra expense once onboard. We offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as natural beverages (moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages). Meals always represent an important part of the budget for a vacation, plus you have to prepare them by yourself, but we cook for you! Remember that an all inclusive charter service is always the best option for traveling and sailing, and after all, the most convenient and economical too.
Putting this in perspective, you will understand that our prices are fair and reasonable. A ship itself costs money and you have to pay for the people who work on board to assist you and all inclusive service that we offer.
How do I get to San Blas and how much does it cost?
We do not manage transfers directly but we will put you in contact with the most reliable of all transfer companies.
Land transport, expect 4 hours/way total time, you are picked up and dropped in the location you specify in Panama City, cost is $70/person and it also includes the taxi boat, you will leave Panama city at around 5:30 AM, on the way back, expect to be in Panama City at around 12:00 AM. You may also come with your own car, we will recommend the most reliable water taxi.
Flying is a very interesting option, you bypass all border chaos, you will land in the most incredible part of San Blas, far away from the border and the islands filled with day tourists from Panama. Entering San Blas by air gives you the perfect start for your vacation, the plane flies over the jungle and then over the cays of San Blas prior to landing right next to the catamaran, no need for long tedious water taxi transfer. You can depart from Albrook international airport at 7:30 AM or which ever time we agree on. Private planes for up to 8 guests cost $1150/way, for small groups, up to 3 (limited by weight), there is a small plane for $500/way.
When and how do I make the reservation payment?
You are making a pre reservation, no money will be asked until we confirm your dates and catamaran.
Booking is easy: send us your request through the reservation form on our website and as soon as we confirm the availability and price we will grant you 24/48 hours to complete the reservation.
Act swiftly because we are usually booked out and have other requests pending, you will receive an email with all details needed for paying the 20% and blocking your dates, we do take 50% for first payment if your dates include Crhistmas, Easter or any important dates, the remainig balance you will pay cash upon boarding or bank wire 15 days before the trip starts.
Will there be other people on the catamaran?
You are not booking the whole boat, we accommodate our guests in private cabins in catamarans there might or might not be other guests in other cabins. If you want to book the whole boat, please contact on our whatsapp or call us for further info: +507 61550503, we also have private services
Do we have to be afraid for sea sickness?
Regarding the sea state, do not worry about this, San Blas is sheltered by the outer reef so no waves or bad weather in the sailing area, also you are renting a catamaran, and because of its large beam (width) they are really stable, both hulls tend to compensate for any rolling, not like monohulls.
The captains employed by us know the area for years and will definitely not get you into any rolling anchorage. You will not be uncomfortable :) trust me.
Those guests prone to seasickness will find it hard to get sick and even if they do get sick, land, nice white sand beach filled with coconut trees is just a minute away, so they can easily disembark and scape, again, dont worry.
I travel alone or with my partner or friend, is it possible a shared trip?
Of course, just make a regular pre reservation, all of our prices are on a shared experience basis.
Where will we board the catamaran and where will we sail to?
For guests coming in by road transfer from Panama City, arrival is at Carti, the port of San Blas, there you will board the water taxi appointed by the transfer company, it's around a 40 minute water taxi transfer to the catamaran which will be anchored in Cayo Limon or any of the islands that compose it, the exact location varies depending on the wind direction and sea state.
Why Cayo limon? because it's the closest island to Cayos Holandeses and its many islands that compose it.
Depending on your starting point and the number of days you will be with us, we will adapt the itinerary to make the most of your stay. In any case, our trips cover the most emblematic places of the archipelago of San Blas, and Cayo Limón, Cayo Coco Bandero and Cayos Holandeses.
You can always suggest an alternative route and we'll do our best to make it possible.
If you come in by plane, the catamaran will be anchored next to the runway, you will easily board the catamaran and set of for your adventure, Cayo Coco Bandero is an easy 45 minute sail.
When I can travel?
You can travel whenever you want! San Blas is an exceptional place to visit and sail all year round. Although it depends on the type of traveler you are: if you like sailing, the months from December - April tend to be more windy and fresh; if you prefer the tropical climate, between May-November are good dates.
Is it possible to windsurf, kitesurf, surf, snorkel or fish in San Blas?
Join our adventure catamarans In San Blas and practice all the snorkeling and fishing you want! We provide snorkel gear for you to discover the amazing reefs of this Panama's Caribbean archipelago. Among our usual catch is mackerel, snapper, barracuda and tuna, plus octopus and lobsters by spearfishing.
There are no specific restrictions to kitesurfing so if you want you can bring your equipment.
The most windy months are between December and April as conditions remain constant between 15 and 20 knots. The months of January and February are even more windy.
If you like surfing, bring your surf board, if in season, we will show you amazing empty lineups of barreling waves.
How are the meals onboard?
Seafood is one of the most common cuisine types in the islands of San Blas. As a result of the short distance (very short...) from the sea to the table, it is served particularly fresh, contributing to its intense flavor.
Various types of fish and lobsters are caught daily by the Kuna indian in the warm waters of the Caribbean and handed to us mostly alive.
We mainly follow a "fisheatarian" diet, a combination of fresh fish and seafood combined with fruits, vegetables, legumes, eggs, rice and pasta, but we can also have meat delivered to us. Regarding meat, please don´t expect anything different than chicken, there is no tradition for meat in these islands, why should there be? You will understand once here.
We can always adapt our menu to suit your needs: keto, vegan, raw. Also, It is important that we communicate any allergies and food intolerance you have to take it into account when preparing our menus.
How are the meals for kids?
Meals for kids are the same as adults but adapted so that they fit their taste. If your kids like eating anything special, please bring it along with you and we will cook it for them, you can bring food like chicken or special snacks.
What is "moderate consumption of Alcohol"?
In our charter we include moderate alcohol consumption. According to the World Health Organization (WHO ) , moderate consumption of alcohol is equivalent to 2 glasses of beer or wine a day for women and 3 cups a day for a man (because of metabolic differences), we add to this some cocktails made by the crew in the evenings. Alcoholic beverages offered on board are beer and rum , the customer, can bring alcoholic beverages of their own , you can make a stop at the El Rey supermarket on the way to San Blas and buy then along with anything special you would like, please notify the driver before leaving . We do not allow drunk people on board.
Children have special discount?
Children under 12 pay 50% of the charter price.
Can I pay for the trip in euros?
Our prices are quoted in USD, so note that we only accept payments in that currency. If there are bank charges when making the transfer to reserve your trip, they run on your own.
Can I cancel my reservation?
Covid-19: check special booking conditions to facilitate your reservations.
Canceling your reservation is charged 20% of the total amount of the trip if you do more than 3 weeks in advance or 80% of the total amount if you do it in the 3 weeks prior to embarking.
Do I need any special vaccinations?
Sanitary requirements of entry into a country depend on your country of origin. Please check with the foreign ministry of your home country or government agencies in health matters the specifications to travel to this area of the Caribbean.
What documentation do I need to bring?
To enter to Panama you need your passport, confirmation of your returning flight or leaving the country and a certificate of solvency. You can check all the requirements on the website of the Tourism Authority of Panama. If your flight also stop over USA, you will also need a C1 transit visa or ESTA for visa-free countries. If this is the case, check with the embassy of your country in USA the requirements to enter American territory.
What do I need to pack?
Bring only a few things in your bag, you dont need much in Paradise. Avoid bringing hard luggage because it will take a lot of space in your cabin You should not miss swimwear and comfortable clothing in your suitcase. Also bring long sleeves t-shirts and pants both for when the temperatures drop at night and to protect from the sun. Do not forget the beach sandals or raincoat, as rains are frequent between July and December. It is very important that you bring cap, hat, scarf or clothing that protects you from the sun, and sunscreen.
What currency is used and where can I exchange money?
The currency in Panama is Balboa, equivalent to 1 dollar. Both currencies are used interchangeably. You can change money at any airport of arrival.
How much money should I bring?
Our cruises are all inclusive on board, except for the bareboat cruises, so the extra expenses once in San Blas are minimal. We recommend not to bring more than $300 cash, nor valuables.
What is the difference between a shared cabin charter and a private charter?
With a cabin charter, you aren’t renting the whole boat, just your cabin with private bathroom, when you go for the private charter, you will have the entire catamaran for your own use.
Choose wisely, when embarking on a shared charter you will need to adapt to other guests interests and circumstances, the itinerary and activity will be a consensus between all the guests, the captain and of course the meteorological conditions.
Going private is our recommended option, you have the boat for your own, that means no other guests on board with whom to share the sailing experience, that makes a lot of sense since of the different affinities of guests. San Blas is visited by a large spectrum of travelers and for us it's almost impossible to guarantee you a shared charter with another group with whom you will be totally balanced.
Can I charter a catamaran in Las Perlas?
We do not sail Las Perlas, we love unspoiled/idyllic destinations and because of its proximity from Las Perlas to Panama City and the ferry that unites them, the tourism industry has exponentially increased in recent years thus losing from our point of view much of its charm.
Las Perlas has now many hotels, boats and business, it happens to a great extent as it happened to Bocas del Toro.
San Blas is an Indian reservation and unlike Las Perlas, the islands cannot be sold to foreigners, and that makes a difference, here and there are no constructions, no noise or interference, the last paradise of the Caribbean,
We have sailed everywhere of the Caribbean, trus us, San Blas is the last destination left untouched. More differences with Las Perlas among other things is that in San Blas the water is totally crystal clear since it is the Caribbean there are more thatn 350 islands with idyllic beaches of white sand and coconut trees, there is a very interesting local kuna indian culture from which to learn , a very important bonus, that really makes a difference.
How is life on board, how is a typical day in San Blas?
Life on board is simply fascinating. The absolute connection to the sea in a tropical paradise stimulate your senses, natural medicine for your body and your mind. However, you should know that a sailing charter is not a vacation in a hotel. It is very important to understand this concept to ensure proper conduct on board.
Regarding activities, the boat is equipped with 2 kayaks and 2 paddle boards, also snorkeling equipment for you to use freely, so being on the water and exploring the adjacent reefs is a must. The captain will be there at all times to assist you and to advise you on all the possible activities that can take place.
Normal day is as follows: you wake up and have full breakfast, after a small rest the captain will propose an activity for you, you can either go to the island to meet the local Kunas and learn about their amazing traditional ways, you can go yourself to the island on one of the water toys available, there is probably a coral reef very close by so you can also go for snorkel, you can also simply relax and enjoy the view, read a book, etc.,
After lunch and a bit of rest you will also be advised of different activities to do, learn about the sea life around, go for a coconut on the beach or have a beer if there is a bar or Kuna hut near by, simply walking around the islands and all their beauty is a joy, you will have piña colada before dinner if pineapple is available at that time which we really try, and then dinner and sleep.
The captain will change the anchorage at least one time a day so you will not get bored, trust me, children specially .
What is the itinerary in and out of San Blas?
If you come in by road with the transfer company we recommended, you will be picked up from your location in Panama City at around 5:45 AM, be ready at the lobby or exact location at that time, from there you will take around 2 1/2 hours to get to the port of San Blas after passing the Kuna Yala Border.
Once in the port you will board the water taxi assigned by the transfer company and that the driver of your own car will point you to. Water taxi ride is around 30 minutes and sometimes more, at the end it depends on where the catamaran is located, and that varies according to the weather and charter itinerary.
Expect to be at the catamaran around 10:00 AM, some companies will say to you its earlier, take our word for it, it's not, we have chartered San Blas for many years and it's always been the same time.
Checkout time is around 8 Am depending on where the catamaran is and the water taxi ́s own itinerary. You will be in Panama City before noon, 12:00:AM. If you chose to stay half day more, you will checkout from the catamaran at around 15:30, you will be in Panama city around 6:30PM depending on the traffic.
If you come in by private plane, expect to land in San Blas at around 8:00 AM, the catamaran is located right next to the landing strip in Corazon de Jesus, so you will board right away, on the day of checkout, you will leave the catamaran at around 7:30. Times on flights can be modified depending on your interest, we are flexible! Flight time in all cases is 40 minutes/way and the airport is Albrook local airport. Contact us if you want to come in by plane, we will put you in contact with the flight agency.
Internet on board?
Some of our boats let you connect to the Internet, some other do not have that optioin, but do not worry, you can either go internet roaming with you own phone in San Blas or do the absolute best which is to buy a Digicel sim card and top it up with an internet plan, its very cheap and you will have a full internet for just a few $.
Some few places do not have internet or it is very intermitent, so just relax and enjoy the view :)
You can by sim cards very easy on the streets of Panama City, do not buy then at the airport arrival, they inflate the price there.
What payments method are available and is it safe to pay you?
Our direct paying methods are Paypal/credit card (+5% commission) or bank wire, you can always use Airbnb to book us and complete the whole paying/booking process with them if you desire, they do add a comission to our rates but you get all the benefits of booking with a giant platform like Airbnb, its really up to you.
Important; due to our bank policy, we cannot take any incoming bank wires originated in any offshore tax haven, however we can always take the deposit with credit card/Paypal + 5%.
Covid-19: special cancellation conditions to facilitate your reservations
We know that many of our clients will fear, in the event of re-confinement or border closures, losing their deposit or being offered a new postponement of their vacation.
We are being asked for quotes this winter, but most of our clients are not ready to book and prefer to wait until the last minute depending on the evolution of sanitary measures and travel restrictions.
Book now with our special cancellation conditions including reimbursement of all your payments only in the following cases :
- New quotes made starting September 2020.
- If the borders of the host country or of the traveler are officially closed on the date of the cruise.
- If a quarantine of 7 days or more is imposed on travelers returning from their vacations.
- If boating or non-essential travel is formally prohibited in San Blas on the dates of the cruise.
The obligation of a Covid-19 test (PCR) before or after the trip is not a sufficient condition to benefit from a refund.
Likewise, disruptions related to international transportation are not a sufficient condition to be reimbursed, once in Panama and if booked trough us, local transports will go through, either by air or land .
Full reservation will be reimbursed to the customer if these parameters are met.
You still feel anxious....? then book through Airbnb and you will benefit from the absolutely neat reservation conditions from the world´s biggest online travel agency:
Book soon, do not wait until last minute, only less than half of the boats remain available for. charter in San Blas.
This season will be absolutely wonderful :) almost no tourists, fewer boats and Kuna Indians eager to make your stay the experience of your life.
We are ready!!!
Covid-19: when can I fly into Panama and do I need to be Covid tested?
Starting October 11th you may fly into Panama freely, but note that to comply with Panamanian Covid-19 regulations you may either:
- Bring with you a personal PCR Covid test certificate issued by any US medical company showing you are free from the virus. Important: test must not be more than 48 hours old.
- Accept a PCR test upon arrival and pay for it, price is not yet determided.
We urge you to have the PCR test in the US the morning/night or if possible right before your flight into Panama, this way you will go through all the borders swiftly, both Panama and Kuna Yala.
Covid-19: our measures to minimase the impact of Covid-19
Safety of our guests and crew is our top priority. We are closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking action based on guidance from public health experts in Panama, UIS and Europe.
In order to maintain a safe environment and address customer concerns, following measures have been implemented
- We ask the crew to measure the temperature before charter, wash hands regularly as well as using sanitisers.
- All technical staff at check in wear masks.
- On the yachts, sanitiser suitable for hands and surfaces are available.
- We disinfect all flat surfaces in between all charters.
- Cleaning staff wear masks and gloves.
- We disinfect all exterior cushions.
We will continue to respond to the latest on COVID‑19 with customer and crews safety top of mind.
As always, we will strive to create a safe and enjoyable experience for your sailing journey with us.
Is San Blas open for sailboat charters?
We have been asked this question many times and always our answer is "yes".
There are two issues to consider:
1st: When the pandemic hit worldwide, the Kuna Congreso took the only option possible on their side and decided to cut the road to access San Blas by closing the border and not letting any tourist in. With that move all the 3 piers normally used by our guests to access our catamarans were just not possible to reach. Road transfers from Panama City to San Blas are just not allowed by the San Blas Congreso. All that was back in 2020 and beginning of 2021. Border relaxation is expected during the first months of 2021.
2nd: Panamanian law clearly dictates that the Kuna Congreso has absolutely no jurisdiction over the waters of San Blas,
cannot enforce any movement restrictions on those waters and of course cannot block the use of any port not located in their land.
Our solution: we embark and disembark outside of the San Blas region; this way we bypass the Kuna border.
New meeting point for our trips as long as the border closure is in place is Linton Bay Marina, that means you will embark the night before, around 8 pm at no extra cost and very early in the morning we will sail to the San Blas islands, reaching that same morning around 10 Am which is the time you would have embarked using the initial road transfer from Panama City. Disembarking will also be done in Linton Bay Marina, expect to be in the marina around 11 am, again similar same time you would have reached Panama City with the old road transfers.
Once in San Blas, as always, we will be sailing in the most remote, isolated and pristine islands with very few or mostly non indigenous residents thus limiting your exposure. If you desire to visit the Kuna indians by going ashore, normal COVID precautions such as the use of masks and security distances must be respected.