San Blas is on most travelers’ lists when visiting Panama. However, many don’t have time to spend a few days on the islands. The San Blas Day Tour is a great option to get a glimpse of this paradise in Panama that looks like your screensaver. This group of islands is part of an archipelago located on the northwestern part of Panama bordering Colombia. It is unclear how many islands there are, but estimates suggest it’s about 365, so the Guna say that there is an island for every day of the year!
These islands of San Blas are scattered in an area of 100 square miles on the Caribbean Sea. They are an autonomous territory within Panama which is managed by the indigenous Guna after their revolution in 1925. Islands can only be purchased by the indigenous who manage them mostly for tourism purposes. There are a few villages on the island and on the mainland. San Blas became internationally famous after Tokyo and Rio escaped there in Money Heist (Casa del Papel). After San Blas they came to my apartment in Flor de Lirio in Casco Viejo!
Tourism is now the main source of income. Men still fish in a freediving style and women tend the house and make beautiful beaded strings of bracelets and mola with fabrics. Check out the Mola Museum in Casco Viejo to learn more about these beautiful pieces of art. You can purchase souvenirs on the island on your San Blas Day Tour. Guna diet is based mostly on sea food, plantains, rice and coconut.
There are many rustic hotels in San Blas to spend the night if you wish to explore the islands for longer. It is also possible to go camping. For more comfort there are sailboats in San Blas which provide the ultimate experience in the archipelago.
- Transfer in a 4×4 from Panama City to the port and return
- Water transfer
- Life vests
- 3 islands
- 1 natural pool where you can see starfish
- Taxes for the port, islands and Nusagandi
Time: full day.
What to bring? beach clothes, change of clothes, bathing suit, towel, flip flops, rain jacket or waterproof bag (green season), sunscreen, hat, ID, drinks, cooler, GoPro and camera.
Important information: as an autonomous territory, Guna Yala or San Blas has its own local authorities and rules. Everybody that enters is required to pay taxes. It is $7 for Panamanians and residents and $22 for foreigners. Taxes are included in the price of your San Blas Day Tour. It is very important for you to take your ID or passport (foreigners) otherwise you will NOT be allowed to enter.
Lunch consists of fish or chicken with rice with coconut, patacones (fried plantains) or French fries and salad, plus a beverage and fruit. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions when booking the San Blas Day Tour. Breakfast is not included. You are welcome to bring additional snacks and beverages in a cooler if you desire or you can buy beverages including beers and some alcoholic drinks on the islands. Pets are not allowed in the islands. Phone service comes and goes throughout the area, so be prepared to be disconnected.
Transport cost was raised $10 by the Kuna congress in June of 2023, which is reflected in the new price. Only 4×4 vehicles are allowed to enter the comarca of San Blas. The road to San Blas is in bad shape, it is currently (2023) being fixed but it will take about two years to be completed. Your driver will pick you up around 5 to 5:30 a.m. for your San Blas Day Tour and you will be leaving the islands around 3:30 p.m. Vehicles are not allowed to drive at night. Those with 4×4 vehicles can ask for San Blas Day Tour prices without transport.