Skip to content

Sailing in the San Blas archipelago ⛵️

Pantalasa Sailing Trips
San Blas sailing

Because most of the San Blas Islands are only reachable by boat many trip operators organize sailing trips in the Golfo de San Blas. This is the most common island vacation for most people that go to the San Blas Islands. There are multiply ways to sail through the San Blas Islands. We will explain the most fun and adventures ones on this page. If you’re sailing to Colombia, be advised that tourist infrastructure is virtually non-existent west of Achutupu and Uaguitupo. Although there are several communities that allow foreigners on their islands, generally speaking the southern stretches of the Comarca are off-limits. However, adventurous souls can expect a healthy smattering of striking scenery and empty seas.

Top sail charter choices ⛵️

Check out more sailing charters and lodges on

Where be Captain Jack Sparrow? Speak up! Or do you fancy a swim with Davy Jones?

Sailing from San Blas Panama to Colombia

sailing San Blas Islands
Sailing in San Blas waters

Sailing in the San Blas Islands of Panama is mostly for the rich who own their own boats but if you’re on a budget and want a little taste of this tropical Caribbean adventure, we’ll show you how. Because the Darien Gap, the jungle between Panama and Colombia, is very dangerous and rough terrain to get through many people avoid it and go by sailboat from Panama to Colombia or visa versa.

How much does sailing San Blas cost? Sailing in San Blas Islands costs an average of $100 a day, this includes drinks and meals throughout the day.

Day 1-2 Open water sailing

We’ll explain how this island vacation trip goes when you start in Cartagena Colombia. When you leave the harbor of Cartagena you will start your journey of two days of open water sailing, this means you’re on the Caribbean Sea without any land in sight. So if you know that you can get seasick prepare for this by taking seasickness pills. The Caribbean Sea can be pretty rough around the months October, November, December and January because of the rainy season in the area. After these two days of open water sailing you will arrive in the Golfo de San Blas. The water here is much calmer as this is not really open sea and the waves are broken on reefs.

Day 3 Panamanian customs and snorkeling

The first thing you have to do is get to the Isla El Porvenir because the Panamanian customs is on this island. Getting through customs will cost you around 100 US dollars. After this you’re ready to explore the beautiful Islands of San Blas. We suggest you head of to Dog Island, in Spanish Isla Perro. You can lay dog here for the night and spend your day on the beach or snorkeling near the shipwreck where sea life is abundant. The crystal clear water that is always on the right temperature makes this the perfect beaching and relaxing stay.

Day 4 Bar night and illuminating sea life

When you’re in for some fun at night you can head of to Isla Banedub, here you’ll find a small bar and some lodges you can stay in. Electricity is randomly available at all islands so don’t be shy if you only see a campfire.This island is known for its illuminating sea life. Mostly jellyfish and octopuses illuminating the night when it’s full moon or near full moon, you can rather say this is one of the most beautiful things you have ever seen in your life.

Day 5-6 Chichimei and hello fellow travellers

Next is the Island of Chichimei, this is a pretty big island compared to Isla Banedub and Isla Perro. You can walk around in about 15 minutes and find 3 different local communities on them. They are all really small and you won’t even notice them if you want to chill on the white sand beaches. On Chichimei you will find allot of fellow travelers especially backpackers since they provide lodges for multiply people on Chichimei. A nice and comfortable hammock for the night will cost you around 10 US dollar but breakfast and diner is included. From this island you can catch a canoe to the island just around 200 meters away from Chichimei where you can visit the Café del Mar bar for some Coco Loco’s and fresh Red Snapper diner. From this island you can see a famous picture that you probably recognize but never thought about it. Do you remember the wallpaper Windows XP and Windows Vista used with a tiny island that had only one palm tree on it, well guess what this island lies just next to Chichimei.

Day 7 Main islands

After your stay on Chichimei it’s time to head back and make one last stop in one of the bigger islands named Acuadup also called Rock Island. This is one of the main islands of San Blas where you can buy beautiful Molas, Kuna art pieces.

Day 8 Heading back

When you reach the mainland you will need tot hire a 4×4 jeep that bring you to Panama City in around 5 hours. This trip is like a roller coaster at first because you hit the jungle road that goes up and down left and right. The last hour you will ride over the Pan American Highway.

Ship Captains to contact

There are multiple Sail charters that can bring you from Panama to Colombia or visa versa. We have some experienced sailboat captains at your command. All those captains have a great reputation and are reliable to sail with, you can book sail-tours and for a couple of days and day-trips.

Our favorite captains sail on;

Check out captains that Sail the San Blas Islands here.

Take care and travel safe

Be advised that the ocean can be treacherous along this part of the archipelago, particularly as you venture further away from the islands and into open water. Here, 3m swells are the norm and the waves can reach frightening heights if there is a storm on the horizon. If you’ve been frightened by the sea in other parts of the archipelago, you can expect to be terrified here. Again, if you plan to travel these waters and have any doubts about your boatman, consider hiring another one before attempting this trip.

Reviewing Sailing in San Blas
  • 10/10
    Is sailing a fun way to get around in San Blas? - 10/10
  • 7/10
    Is San Blas accessible for unexperienced sailers? - 7/10
  • 10/10
    Is exploring San Blas via boat is amazing? - 10/10
  • 8/10
    How easy is sailing in the San Blas archipelago? - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Is a sailtrip an adventure you wont forget? - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Is the price of sailing in San Blas fair? - 8/10
  • 10/10
    How safe is sailing through San Blas? - 10/10

End summary sailing-review

We can recommend sailing in San Blas as the best opportunity to explore Guna Yala and its islands. Sailing is easy, safe and the best way to get around. Therefore, we give the sailing experience in San Blas a 8.7 rating out of 10!