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Is it Possible to Sail from Bocas del Toro to San Blas?

Yes it is, but the more than 200 nautical miles in rough open seas that separate these two sailing destinations in Panama make the passage only interesting for avid sailors.

Bocas del Toro, the north-westernmost province of the country and very close to Costa Rica, is a very popular travel location in Panama that for years has attracted crowds mostly of local Panamanians along with international backpackers and surfers. San Blas on the other hand is inhabited by Guna indigenous and even though it is closer to Panama City, it attracts less visitors due to the limited infrastructure.

Bocas del Toro sailing
San Blas Sailing

By the Guna law, the islands in San Blas cannot be sold to foreigners, thus keeping any type of development to the minimum. Land in Bocas can be sold to foreigners and that has caused a rapid and recent tourism development which for some type of traveler might just be exactly what they are looking for and will be a put off for other travelers seeking unspoiled natural beauty.

Red Frog Beach Island Resort is located in the islands of Bastimentos with a strong Afro-Caribbean culture, unlike the rest of the islands, it attracts high end visitors to this part of Bocas del Toro.

Red Frog Resort

Snorkelling in Bocas and the islands around, although advertised as one of the best things to do in the area, can be somewhat of a disappointment due to the same consistent swells almost throughout the year that attracts surfers but also creates currents that produces murky water .

Surf in Bocas is indeed amazing
Crystal clear waters of the San Blas
Best snorkel in Panama is located in San Blas ans this is due to the crystal clear waters

Local Bocas Sailing charters are very limited in regards to attractions, anchorages and places to visit due to the limited sailing area. For visiting the inlets and sandbars we recommend hiring a private speed boat for 1/2 day or join one of the many programmed excursions. Much like parts of the Caribbean, sailing in Bocas can be somewhat sketchy and safety can be a concern, specially during the night at the least frequented and protected anchorages. San Blas on the other hand is100% safe due to the tight indigenous communities and the prevailing relaxed atmosphere. Any movement in the San Blas islands is closely monitored by the Guna indigenous and any wrong doing is swiftly handled by local authorities.

Guna indigenous in Maoqui, Dutch Cays

We do not recommend sailing from Bocas del Toro to San Blas since it involves over 200 nautical miles in open seas which at times can be rough. Localising our operations in the 20 miles stretch of the San Blas Islands which goes from El Porvenir to Corazon de Jesus including the Dutch Cays and Coco Bandero Cays gives us the opportunity to offer a range of activities in calm weather perfectly protected from the weather by an huge coral reef that acts as a barrier.

If your trip to Panama also includes Bocas del Toro and you also want to visit San Blas, we highly recommend catching either a private or commercial plane to Panama City and then connect with either a local flight to San Blas or a road transfer. Alternatively we can also provide with a direct private fligtht from Bocas del Toro to San Blas


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