Home of the Kuna Indian, the San Blas Islands are a beautiful tropical coral filled paradise waiting to be explored on a crewed yacht charter. Just off of the mainland of Panama, the San Blas Islands have been home to the Kuna Indians for centuries. Enjoy low sandy cays surrounded by coral gardens, and wide beautiful beaches. Visit the Kuna Indian villages, where you are very welcome, especially to peruse the local handicraft work in fabric, unique to the Kuna Indians called Molas. This a great location to explore while on a crewed yacht charter for both the local culture and the beautiful tropical waters and this charter itinerary combines both.
SAN BLAS ISLANDS
COLON PANAMA – COLON PANAMA
Arrive in Panama. Join your yacht in the port of Colon. Settle on board and leave for Portobelo, some 20 miles northeast. Discovered and named ("Beautiful port") by Columbus, in 1570 it was used by Drake as a base from which to attack the Spanish treasure ships. In 1597, the Spanish chose Portobelo as the port where goods from the colonies were loaded onto ships and a program of fortifications was begun. This was interrupted by Drake, who destroyed the fortifications. Drake passed away at this time, and was buried at sea in a lead casket just outside the bay.
Explore one of Portobelo's ancient forts, split into two levels. The lower is the larger, connected by a steep pathway dug into the hillside as a protection from gunfire. The cannons are still there, and the walls are in fairly good condition, so there's plenty to see. The upper fort makes a picturesque vantage point, with good views of the whole bay. Overnight.
After breakfast, head for Punta Macolla (depending on the weather) for lunch, which is only a 20-mile cruise. Enjoy a swim before the final 35-mile run to the start of the San Blas islands. Look out for coral as you cruise slowly through the narrow passages between reefs. Sail on through the Eden Channel to Lemon Cays. Anchor for dinner and a swim. Overnight.
Leave early for Holandés Cays, made up of many little islands that have prime snorkeling areas. Anchor at the Swimming Pool, one of the most well known anchorages in the San Blas. The bottom here is sand. Look out for giant starfish and the odd sea ray. After lunch head over to Salar to get closer to the reefs, home to all sorts of coral, including fan corals, several types of brain coral, red rope sponges, vase sponges, tube sponges, staghorn coral and huge sea fans. There are also angelfish, butterfly fish, damselfish, trumpet fish, yellow snappers, silversides, parrotfish, bluehead wrasses, barracuda, and much more. Quite a few things are to be avoided, such as the long-spined urchins and anemones. Overnight.
Anchor in Miriadiadup located in the West Holandes Cays. The snorkelling is superb as soft coral “gardens” are everywhere. Take a dinghy ride to Morodup, a tiny island with two huts and a few palm trees that are surrounded by clear blue waters.
Head over to Green Island. Look out for the Kuna women, dressed in striking costumes, surprisingly European in style, with brightly patterned skirts and blouses. The blouses are decorated with vibrant panels, made in a reverse-applique process, and featuring intricate geometric designs; these panels, known as molas, are much sought after by tourists. The Kuna ladies have a reputation for being quite aggressive in selling their wares; unsurprisingly so, perhaps, given that this is their livelihood.
Leave early for a visit to Coco Bandero Cays and enjoy the translucent waters that are almost emerald green. Look out for the traditional “Ulu” boats that sell fresh king crab, cucumber and coconut. Take a swim before heading back towards Lemon Cays to anchor overnight.
An early morning cruise will have you at Tupsuit Dumat and Tupsuit Pippi, two little islands in the far western corner of the Golfo de San Blas. “Dumat” means big and “pippi” means small. The villages on the islands here are also very traditional. Take time to walk around and enjoy the local Kuna people and their traditional handwork. Later that day cruise back to Colon for your final night on board.