A paradise of coral reefs, sunken shipwrecks and thatched beach huts, the San Blas archipelago is made up of the remote outer islands and the busier community islands. With 360 islands, best explored by boat, it is a true Robinson Crusoe-style escape of powder-sand beaches and simple living.
This is an example of an eight day yacht charter itinerary for te San Blas Islands. Itineraries are created individually for every client based around personal preferences and how you want to spend your time onboard.
Land at Panama’s International Airport and meet your charter captain for the quick 1-hour drive to the marina at Isla Flamenco, where your yacht will be anchored ready for your arrival onboard. Settle in and get to know the boat, enjoy welcome drinks and a fabulous dinner prepared by the onboard chef.
Pacific to Atlantic
Today we will be joined by a specialist Panama pilot, who will guide the yacht through the world-famous Panama Canal, crossing the country in its entirety to arrive at Shelter Bay on the country’s north coast. The yacht will then continue on to San Blas, about 65nm further east along Panama’s north coastline.
Stop in this island’s Kuna Indian-operated office where the captain will collect immigration and cruising permits. Take a walk around the island or spend a day on the charter yacht’s water toys overlooking white-sand beaches.
Coco Bandero Cays
Some of the most beautiful cays of the San Blas, the Coco Bandero Cays are surrounded by a reef extending 4 miles around the cays. The waters here are gin-clear. Grab a snorkel or a clear-bottomed kayak and go exploring in the underwater world, alive with colourful fish including snappers and groupers.
On to the Holandes Cays, a small archipelago of 21 paradise islands protected by a 7-mile-long barrier reef. These cays are the furthest islands from mainland Panama and boast wonderful fishing and snorkelling in clear blue waters. Stop at Swimming Pool Anchorage, one of the best known anchorages in the islands, located between Turtle Island (or BBQ Island) and the stunning Isla Benedup. Enjoy a beach barbecue prepared by the crew. Adventurous charterers can head north to find a tunnel that guides you underneath the whole reef.
Isla Perro is one of the top snorkelling spots in the San Blas Islands, with a well-preserved sunken army gunboat ready to explore with dive gear or a snorkel, only 5-6m beneath the surface. If the tide is low, you can see its rusty bow sticking out of the sea; at high tide you can snorkel over and around it spotting fish of all sizes and large coral fans. By night under a new moon, witness the magical effect of bioluminescence from small squids and plankton.
Called Turtle Island after the turtles come ashore to lay their eggs between May and August, enjoy a snorkel alongside this tiny island to explore its colourful corals. Inhabited by a single Kuna family, the island is great for simply wondering around or napping in a hammock. Return onboard for a dinner of fresh lobsters caught that day.
Return to Panama by small plane for onward travel with a pit stop in Casco Viejo if desired, a charming neighbourhood lined with rooftop bars and innovative restaurants.