Which is the Best San Blas Sailing Company?
There are a number of sailing charter agencies that operate in the San Blas islands, but few meet the necessary standards for running quality private catamaran and sailboat charters and not fall into the backpacker standards. Here’s a list of things to look for when deciding who to trust in San Blas.
A quick search on Google will display numerous possibilities for your next San Blas sailing charter. Deciding on one of them and putting the1st. payment down, purchasing your international plane tickets to Panama, making hotel and transfer bookings (plane or road) and setting your mind for the ultimate Caribbean sailing experience is definitely a great effort and one that can be totally put to waste if you do not choose wisely your intermediary for such an exotic and special vacation.
Here is a list of things to look for when choosing the best San Blas Islands Sailing Company and boat charter agency.
Dual purpose: some agencies focus in both giving service to backpackers and regular sailing charter guests such as families, group of friends etc. Needless to say that quality standards are not the same for the two types of guests. Food, cleaning, security, type of experience are a few of the totally different aspects that differentiate a backpacker travel agency and a sailing charter company. How to find out? simply review their website, their logo and web structure, pay close attention at the activities offered, presentation of food, state of the catamaran etc.
Not their own boats and no alternative if your catamaran encounters a technical problem. This is not what you need, absolutely not. If one of our catamarans is down, another option is offered. You are most likely to get a free upgrade, we will try our best to provide you with a higher category catamaran at no extra cost.
No preset itineraries means that the captain will decide by him/herself where to go and what to do. Having the possibility of going for a preset itinerary takes much of the worry off and sets the scene for an ordered vacation. Note that itineraries will be modified by the captain depending on your special interests and if the weather does not permit such a pre organised sailing route.
Not visible on TripAdvisor or what is worst, displaying their "own client" reviews on their websites with no audit on them. Being public hurts at times, but a reputable sailing charter company must be on Trip Advisor. End of the story.
No covid, no Ukranian war and other cancellation policies clearly stated in their Faqs with no link from their homepage. Clearly these times we live in need serious and neatly detailed cancellation policies, specially due to Covid/major international conflict reasons. You are putting all your energy into this.
Not 100% dedicated to San Blas and offering sailing charters in other Caribbean sailing areas or continents. A consistent charter agency in San Blas must be 100% dedicated to the San Blas islands. Being focused and offering the right information to guests is crucial and takes a lot of time and effort to put together.
Not fluent in english and sloppy/not agile communication can derive in important confusions that can put to risk your experience in Kuna Yala. Language and other communication barriers can test your patience and alter the normal course of your sailing vacations just when you least expect it.
Not showing the "not-so-spectacular" side of sailing in some of the most famous areas and islands and not being frank on some of the "not-so-comfortable" of what sailing in San Blas is. Like all, this archipelago has some places you can directly skip.
With professionals onboard you can rest assure the captain and crew will know what to do at all times. Amateurs or what is worst, new comers to the area and with no ties to the indigenous community are not what you need. Not employing a Kuna guide or not mixing with the locals means missing out on the most important of what San Blas has to offer.
Not employing Guna indigenous and not giving back to the local communities in one way or the other. "If you have, you must give"
No offense to backpackers and backpacker agencies in this post, they are an amazing community that must be respected and understood like any other. We love them and they have for ever been a crucial part of the traveling community. Cheers to them!