Traveler’s through Central and South America commonly cross this continental boarder one of two ways, they either fly, OR they go by boat via the paradisaical San Blas islands. Departing from Panama City and finishing in Cartagena Colombia and vise versa, this sail boat or catamaran trip (depending on the day) is one of the most popular ways to traverse this path. The San Blas Islands are beautiful and worth every penny of this 5-6 day all inclusive journey. I took my trip for $550 USD from Cartagena, Colombia to Panama City.

standing on the docks at the cartagena marina

Waiting to board our little dingy boat to take us to our sail boat in the Cartagena harbour. After we met out Captain and chef we waited for a police check (which took a long time) and then shuttled 20 people over in groups of 4, needless to say,w e all made it on the boat by darkness.


Cartagena Marina at night

We spent the next 48 hours sailing through the ocean in open water. This I found quite cool as we never even saw a single thing outside of dolphins for 48 hours. We slept, we ate, we played cards, sun tanned, and drank, Many people get sea sick during this phase, lucky for us this was the light winds season, but we still filled up on sea sick pills and ibuprofen just in case.

lounging on the sail boat to the san blas islands  bikini's and drinks on a sail boat to the san bias

I mean, we spent a lot of the day sleeping, but it was ok, we had music atleast.

breakfast on the boat to the san blas  sail boat to the san blas islands

sunset on the boat to the san blas islands

Then early in the morning on the 3rd day we finally arrived at the San Blas Islands themselves, I woke up to our anchor dropping into the sea.

the san blas islands from the sail boat

looking out over the san blas islands

More than 300 white sand islands on one of the largest reefs in the world, some islands have all but one palm tree in them, the others have single family dwellings of the Kuna Tribe. Unfortunately because this has become such a tourist destination, a lot of litter is left on the islands and so we spent one morning helping out the family living on the island.

cleaning up garbage on the san blas view of the sail boat from the san blas islands

That afternoon we headed to another group of islands just down the way from where we were before. We spent the day swimming, playing games on the beach, drinking, and still working on that tan.

standing on one of the san blas islands with other islands in the background palm trees on the san blas islands

That night we partied on the beach with another tour group who was spending a night on the island in hammocks. We also learnt that the waters here had bio luminescent plankton in it and if you move your hand in the water they light up and make the dark water sparkle. We spent a while here swimming in the sparkling water with the accompaniment of a group of eagle rays.

san blas islands at sunset drinking coco loco's on the san blas islands

We also did a little bit of shopping with the Kuna people on the island, buying bracelets and handicrafts.

shopping on the san blas islands being artisan crafts from the kona tribe

Moola's on the San blas islands

We moved the next day to a new group of islands a short distance away from where we stayed the night before and had another day of sun, swim, drink, and snorkeling (even saw a shark!)

The San blas Islands

That night we went and visited a new Kuna family who were so excited to have us on their island that they made us drinks and a fire and they even had dinner with us that night.

Enjoying drinks with the Kona Tribe  a traditional home of a kona tribe on the san blas islands

The next morning we ate some breakfast, packed our things, and swam over to the island which Panama used as their boarder. We hungout on  the island until our captain brought us into the office where our passports were stamped and we were officially ready for the Panamanian mainland. After lunch we boarded a smaller boat and were on our way to Panama city via 4×4.

sailing through the san blas islands sailing through the san blas islands in panama

san blas islands in panama and a sail boat

Sailing the San Blas Islands