Should I Fly to San Blas or choose a Road Transfer?
Both means of entering the San Blas islands are possible, but price and overall experience are both different. Limitations on total weight for flying and long (+4 hours) road transfers have to be taken into consideration when deciding on one transfer type or the other.
Transportation in/out of the San Blas islands has always been a topic of discussion and to many it may seem hard to find a reliable transfer company and understand the details for entering the Guna Yala region.
Flying in is a straight forward process with little or no formalities to be done. Private planes that take 40 minutes to reach San Blas from Panama City can be hired through our associated agency, so we will not discuss much on flying in this post. If you want to fly in, simply notify us when making your reservation and we will put you in contact with the correct airline. Note that Air Panama does not currently fly to San Blas.
Road transfers are a whole nother issue: being the San Blas Islands an autonomous region of Panama, the ruling party of the Comarca has the legitimacy to put into place a land border and all the necessary entry requirements and taxes needed. The Kuna Congreso issues some of the permits that Panamanian and Kuna indigenous need in order to offer their transfer services into the San Blas islands. These last years there has been some sort of confrontations between those "officially" entitled to offer their transfer services and those left out by the Kuna Congreso permits. Transfer in do work and most of our guests come in using the road. Long story short: let us put you in contact with our associated road transfer company, it will save you a lot of time.
Price for road transfer to the catamaran is $70/person way on a shared 4x4, Private road transfers are $240/way up to 5 guest
Since there are no shared flights, hiring a private 8 seater plane with a total weight limit of 544kg will costs you $1,337.50/way. Make your calculations: if you were 8 guests, then price/person/way is $167, if you were for example 5 guests, then price/person/way would be $267. There are also 2 seater planes for just $562/way. Best is to check detailed prices here
If you use the road transfer, be ready at the lobby of your hotel/residence in Panama City at 5:15 am to leave for the San Blas Islands on your assigned road transfer. You will be at the catamaran before 10:00am, then, on check out date, you will leave the catamaran at around 7:00 AM.
If you were to fly in, then you could choose your own time to fly and disembarking time would be the same as what your landing time in San Blas was, thus benefitting of around more than 2 hours of being in San Blas rather than if you would have taken the road in.
Conclusion: it really depends on you. If you are adventurous and don’t mind a bit of the typical hassle of the 4 hour road/water taxi transfer, go for the standard road transfer, on the other hand if you like being totally comfortable and are not on a tight budget, go for the air transfer, not much to discuss here. We have guests coming in both ways and it’s totally fine with us.
Some of our guests do go for the cheaper road transfers and use the savings to book one more night of sailing so as to completely experience the amazing Dutch Cays and Coco Bandero Cays. Longer stays in the San Blas islands really make a difference because once you arrive in these Caribbean islands it is very hard to leave...
Make sure you check: How To Get To San Blas, Panama? The Ultimate Guide
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