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“cruising with VIP One ”
Review of San Blas Islands

San Blas Islands
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San Blas Island-Hopping Day Trip from Panama City
Ranked #40 of 380 things to do in Panama
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed March 21, 2016 via mobile

We spent 3 days and 3 nights on board the VIP One catamaran with Yoan, Anais and Eduardo. They did a great job making us comfortable. We sailed to several islands; Caya Hollandase, Salerdup - where we met some local Gunas, bought some beers from them and some molas and bracelets from the women. The island was very clean and not too many bugs. On Wasaladup we had a local Guna climb a tree and get some coconuts so we could have some coconut water. Remember you have to pay a fee to go on these islands and don't take photos without permission. Another great island we did a ton of snorkeling on was Kwanidup. We found a lot of starfish, sand dollars and saw some rays and fish swimming around the coral. Renting a boat is a great way to see the islands and experience the culture. The VIP One is a great boat but I would not rent it for more than 6 people. There are 3 doubles and one very small room with a teeny tiny window that 2 kids could sleep in but If it is hot your kids will end up in bed with you or out on the deck. It also rained almost every night so it made it difficult to stay cool because we had to close the overhead windows . We did have 2 hours of A/C from 9-11 except the last night when we were outside of Carti and a plastic bag got stuck in the generator. It was a great adventure but bring a hat, swim shirt and sun block and bug spray. The food was really good. We even bought some lobsters directly from 2 fishermen on the last day and Anais cooked them for dinner. We ate lots of fresh fruit and fish and there was plenty of wine and soft drinks. I would highly recommend this trip.

2  Thank JulieJ825
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 16, 2016

Contacted Mateo from San Blas Experience. A canadian married with a nice local Kuna women. They have tons of different trip organised. If you want to get away of everything... no place like it. Make sure you know what you get into. some may be hostel but i went the whole Kuna experience in a bamboo hut. A+++

2  Thank Eric M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2016 via mobile

There's no words to describe how gorgeous and amazing this private island tour was on this Indian reservation! You just have to be there to see all its beauty!

1  Thank Vanessa E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2016

I ended a sola backpacking trip through Costa Rica and Panama with a stay on Iguana Island. The best part of this stay was not the beauty of the islands, the thrill that comes with catching a winding early morning SUV lift into Guna territory or the relaxation that comes with island hopping, beach bumming and wading out to Iguana's lobster trap to hand select which lobster you want for lunch (note: this is well worth the extra charge as Panamanian lobsters are meaty--antennae, tail, legs--lobster meat everywhere!).

For me, the best part of this excursion was seeing firsthand how an indigenous group has not only maintained autonomy, but is thriving, for the San Blas islands are considered the territory of the Guna. I bypassed Bocas to go to San Blas expressly because the island jaunts are organized by and for the Guna nation. As a citizen of the States, where our own indigenous nations are marginalized, it was both educational and inspiring to see that Panama honors the autonomy (and customs) of the Guna. There are Guna representatives in the government, Guna officials in state departments, Gunas in the cities and in the San Blas islands. As a Guna man working for the ministry of finance told me one morning, it's not a mistake that the Guna has autonomy and "derechos" (rights); they were one of the first groups to interact with Europeans when the Panama Canal was built and as such, were able to access educational and networking opportunities that led to the Guna becoming the most educated indigenous group in Panama, also lending to their ability to advocate for themselves. The sense of Guna pride in their identity is palpable. If Panama can honor its indigenous nations, so can the States!

My two cents: yes, do enjoy the blue waters, the cheerful camaraderie (everyone on the the touristic islands are undeniably out to have a good time) and the party party vibe. However, if you've got some conversational Spanish going on, take some time to talk with the Guna outside of a village tour. You can walk around Iguana Island in about a thousand steps and when you've had your fill of eating, drinking, swimming and tanning, let a Guna tell you about his or her way of life (their political set up is fascinating and the Guna language is odd but fascinating to my Romance language'd ears) and give the Guna props for advocating for their own nationhood.

4  Thank Cee T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 3, 2016

My girlfriend and I had booked 5 days on board the catamaran Valpar with the captain Roberto and his assistant Samira. It was just the 4 of us and we had an amazing time. We sailed around the beautiful islands, snorkeled, explored the islands on foot, visited the locals, and ate some delicious food.
Our stay on board was simply beyond our expectations and what we had hoped for. All this was thanks to Roberto and Samira, who were the perfect hosts.
We can highly recommend sailing on the Valpar if you are considering this wonderful kind of adventure.

4  Thank Morten F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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