San Blas Islands
San Blas Islands
4.5
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Top ways to experience San Blas Islands
The area
Best nearby
We rank these restaurants and attractions by balancing reviews from our members with how close they are to this location.
Attractions
3 within 10 kms
See what travellers are saying
  • David Lewis
    Frankfurt, Germany970 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Paradise, but very remote
    We were recommended the San Blas Islands by pretty much everyone we met and took the plunge. We opted for the day trip as we were told the accommodation on the islands was fairly basic due to the tribe that call the islands home. We were picked up from our Panama City hotel around 5.30am and drove 3 hrs by 4x4 to the small village on the coast where we took the 40min boat ride to the islands. Lunch was served on the island, a basic prawn and rice dish with soft drink or water. Had around 2 hrs on the last island for beach and snorkeling, then headed back by boat to the mainland around 3.30pm, followed by the 3hr plus drive back to Panama City. An interesting day out if you are in Panama but very happy we did not stay overnight.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written March 25, 2023
  • Maria
    4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing sea
    Wonderful experience. We went on a Tuesday so not too many people there, just for one day. Amazing blue and warm waters. Only 4x4’s can manage the road which is hard, full of curves and goes up and down. Is a 3 hour drive so you need to go around 5:30am. By 9:30 am we were already on the boat that takes you to the islands. By 3 o’clock you need to be back on the car. Is an indigenous reservoir with their own laws so they open at 7 am and close at 5 pm. You will be checked at 2 or 3 points of security so do not forget your passport. Accommodations were very rustic so not to many people there sleeping. Is expensive to get there but is worth the money. Entry to the “comuna”, lunch, boat rides, snacks and other fees were included in the price we paid. If you want to see something different and typical from Panama, then San Blas Islands (GunaYala) is the place to go. I would not recommend this trip for families with small children. The road makes you stomach sick.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written April 1, 2023
  • ellaharvey
    Arlington, Virginia18 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This tour should be on the TOP of your list!!
    A MUST do if you’re visiting Panamá. The islands are absolutely gorgeous . I’ve visited several San Blas islands with Guna Yala Explorer and have not been disappointed yet. They are very professional, accommodating and the trip is always smooth with them form early morning pickup, ride to the port when you catch the speed boat , visit to several islands and lunch included. My favorite island to eat lunch is isla hierba. Take a few extra dollars for water and pack snacks and if you’d like to add something to your lunch you can do so as well such as lobster or your choice.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written October 14, 2023
  • Sarah W
    Ohio34 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Guna Yala San Blas Overnight Stay
    I went and stayed the night with my friend at walidup island on over the water cabanas. The views are amazing and the island was well kept. We did the tour of the islands during the day it was a fantastic day and night would suggest. However, I camp normally and I would say this was a bit below my comfort level. There was power from 8-6 which was nice because it had power and lights. I would say to bring a net to sleep in the bugs are BAD.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written October 22, 2023
  • ibeauty411
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Heart opening and humbling experience!
    I read the negative review and feel the need to educate the ignorant that probably thought they were visiting some luxurious island to be glamping. The San Blas Island is in the Guna Yala tribe region of Panama. They are autonomous and very primitive. Their only source of income is the tourism and artisanal work they do. I booked my tour online and not aware of the situation, but then I understood why they charge .25 cents to use the restroom at the port where you take the boat to the island. They have toilet paper and the bathrooms are clean, at least they have a flushable toilet and not a portable bathroom. The car drive was a little scary, they have to cross the mountains to get to the beach area, because they live remote from the city, and for obvious reasons. I spoke to one of the tribe members who had just purchased a boat with 12k he got from his father who had just retired. He is a 32yo Guna member who has to support his whole family. They are the only ones that can have a business in the area, but sadly they have not gone to business school. They are trying to to their best with the knowledge they have. He rents the boat to those who are more stablished and only makes $60 a day. Remember Panama uses mostly dollars and the prices are not as low like most Latin countries. We visited two islands and the natural pools. The water is absolutely gorgeous, like a paradise. the food wasn't bad, fried fish, plantains, coconut rice and for dessert, they had the sweetest pineapple I ever had. I enjoyed the experience and mostly learning something new about a culture that frankly seems to be abandoned by society. I will go back to San Blas any day with an open mind and an open heart. I really loved the experience.
    Visited February 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written February 16, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

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4.5 of 5 bubbles1,187 reviews
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835
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169
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61
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47
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75

SilverTraveler2
Castle Rock, WA233 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
First off, we're an older couple (57 & 58), and we had a tremendous time on this trip. We booked through Burba Travel for $140 each, but only paid $125 each as we have residency in Panama and we don't pay the same taxes. Even at $140 each, the trip was a bargin with everything that was included. Pickup at our condo at 5am (4x4 veh, and we shared the car with three other people), 2 hr drive to the coast, boat transfer to three islands, lunch (fried whole fish or chicken), and transfer back. All in about 11 hrs. So to enjoy this trip, I'd recommend that you have some sense of adventure. If you want limo quality service, then don't take this trip. If you want to have an experience, then this is the trip for you. This is in response to to some of the negative reviews. Yes...the car ride is rough with lots of turns, so I can see how someone could get carsick. It's the road and not the driver. The boats are small, and you're going to get wet...shocker I know, but that's part of the fun. You can bring drinks with you (water, pop, or liquor). They don't care, and there doesn't appear to be any rules on what you can bring with you. You can bring snorkel gear or rent it for $5 at the island. Five dollars is less than a cup of coffee these days so don't get upset over it. Drinks are expensive ($6 beer, $10 tropical drink), so I would recommend bringing your drinks. But remember...everything is brought in by small boat every day to include the ice. The water is crystal clear, beaches are beautiful, and people are friendly. We're planning another trip, but stay overnight. It's very basic living, but once again...that's the allure of it. It's a great time to look within oneself, find peace, and see what's really important in life.
Written February 25, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Aluga B
3 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
San Bass YES. One of the most beautiful places on earth- this review is about Captain Goeran - Quest SY. Please read, reach out to me but stay away from him. We had the most terrible experience on board Quest SY and the owner/Captain Goeran Persson. He is rude, makes you feel uncomfortable and will drop you off at an isolated island without warning, water, food, and keep your money. He did this to my husband 45, and me 43 on Feb 17, 2024. We had plan this trip for my husband’s 46th birthday. It’s such a shame that such a bitter arrogant men is associated with such beautiful islands and beautiful people as the Gunas. Captain told us to leave the boat after 12 hours of sailing stating that my husband was drunk and was putting him the the other passengers at risk. Such allegation arose from an argument by husband who WAS NOT drunk had with the captain less than 2 hours into the trip. There were 2 other people on deck getting sick from the rough seas. My husband was laying on a bench and Captain said: Move, this is my bench to take naps. My husband then moved to the other one, Captain said he could not lay down there. Captain said my husband could only lay down in the cabin. My husband explained that being in the suffocating cabin with no air is what made him sick. My husband asked why the captain was laying where there was fresh air and he, as a paying passenger, couldn’t - to which the captain stated that was his boat and we all must obey which we did . After this discussion, we continued to sail until 5am when captain anchored to sleep. At 7 we proceeded to the first San Blass island. Captain made us and the other 7 passengers disembark to get our passports stamped. Once we were close to the Guna office, he handed our passports to my husband and stated that he was leaving us there and keeping our money. He gave me 10 minutes to go ALONE back to the boat with his and his girlfriend to pack our 2 backpacks. When I asked him how we would get out of the island he stated: not my problem. I asked for a refund and he gave me $40 which was the Gunas entry fee that he had already pocketed it. Once back on the island to meet the other passangers, we were greeted by the Panama Military who told me that Captain Goeran had done the same thing to 4 other passengers 2 weeks prior. The Military, Guna Minister of Tourism, Guna Attorney, and secretaries all interviewed the other passengers and confirmed my husband was not aggressive nor did he put anyone in danger. The military then asked the captain why he didn’t turn around if he was fearing for his and the other passengers safety instead of sailing for 9 hours and going to bed 2 of these hours, and the captain had no reply other than “no COMPRENDO.” The military then told the Captain that his boat was being detained at the island until he either returned our money or took us to Cartagena as planned. TheCaptain refused to comply for 8 whole hours… 8 hours leaving the other passangers stuck in the island with no water, food, or shade or unable to enjoy their vacation. 8 hours of nightmare watching disrespect the Gunas, the military, us, and the other passengers. The Gunas told him several times that he ca not drop people off at their island and leave them there as trash. After 8 hours, the military officers became aggravated and he finally gave up and realized that he had no option, so he refunded our money minus one night and minus the deposit. It was a horrible experience. Please read the other reviews on tripadvisor and Google and stay away from him. There are plenty of other boat and Captain options. Don’t ruin your San Blas experience by going with him. We are seeking legal action and have several ongoing complaints with officials in Panama and Colombia. If any past guest wants to reach out to me please contact me at saynotoquestsy@gmail.com
Written February 23, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ibeauty411
Miami Beach3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
I read the negative review and feel the need to educate the ignorant that probably thought they were visiting some luxurious island to be glamping. The San Blas Island is in the Guna Yala tribe region of Panama. They are autonomous and very primitive. Their only source of income is the tourism and artisanal work they do. I booked my tour online and not aware of the situation, but then I understood why they charge .25 cents to use the restroom at the port where you take the boat to the island. They have toilet paper and the bathrooms are clean, at least they have a flushable toilet and not a portable bathroom. The car drive was a little scary, they have to cross the mountains to get to the beach area, because they live remote from the city, and for obvious reasons. I spoke to one of the tribe members who had just purchased a boat with 12k he got from his father who had just retired. He is a 32yo Guna member who has to support his whole family. They are the only ones that can have a business in the area, but sadly they have not gone to business school. They are trying to to their best with the knowledge they have. He rents the boat to those who are more stablished and only makes $60 a day. Remember Panama uses mostly dollars and the prices are not as low like most Latin countries. We visited two islands and the natural pools. The water is absolutely gorgeous, like a paradise. the food wasn't bad, fried fish, plantains, coconut rice and for dessert, they had the sweetest pineapple I ever had. I enjoyed the experience and mostly learning something new about a culture that frankly seems to be abandoned by society. I will go back to San Blas any day with an open mind and an open heart. I really loved the experience.
Written February 16, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tina C
11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Family
This was a Wonderful trip , we rented a sailboat for 4 nights and sailed around the Islands, it was just wonderful, our captain was amazing and fun, , the water was amazing , th food was amazing, the Kuna people everything ,, I HIGHLY recommend visiting the San Blas Islands,, never knew it existed and it was a hidden gem. the car ride is 2 hours from city (is fine) and the boat ride out was treacherous , 45 minutes (but this is depending on weather so .. other than that five star adventure
Written January 26, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sarah W
Ohio34 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Friends
I went and stayed the night with my friend at walidup island on over the water cabanas. The views are amazing and the island was well kept. We did the tour of the islands during the day it was a fantastic day and night would suggest. However, I camp normally and I would say this was a bit below my comfort level. There was power from 8-6 which was nice because it had power and lights. I would say to bring a net to sleep in the bugs are BAD.
Written October 22, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ellaharvey
Arlington, VA18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Family
A MUST do if you’re visiting Panamá. The islands are absolutely gorgeous . I’ve visited several San Blas islands with Guna Yala Explorer and have not been disappointed yet. They are very professional, accommodating and the trip is always smooth with them form early morning pickup, ride to the port when you catch the speed boat , visit to several islands and lunch included. My favorite island to eat lunch is isla hierba. Take a few extra dollars for water and pack snacks and if you’d like to add something to your lunch you can do so as well such as lobster or your choice.
Written October 14, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Azar R
Ottawa, Canada9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Family
Don’t let the 2+ hours of driving or the early pick up prevent you from going to San Blas. Every second was worth it! These islands are beautiful, the water clear and warm and snorkeling a must!
Written September 25, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

shar_at_mac
Toronto, Canada30 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Family
Went there for the one-day trip (island hopping and snorkeling). Booked through Viator (Tripadvisor booking site, prices were similar to Expedia, Viator communication and service was amazing, can chat with them via WhatsApp too in case you only have wifi access). Make sure to book round trip transportation with them to the port as some options don’t include it (the ride is about 3hrs one way, need to leave Panama City at 5:30am, they’ll stop by a large supermarket where there is a cafe shop , also take passport and cash with you for police checkpoints). If going with anyone that gets easily nauseated , you might want to reconsider as it literally feels like a small rollercoaster but the scenic drive was worth it ( also saw sloths and toucans on the way). When we got to the port , it started getting windy/rainy so the boat ride was very bumpy to the islands ( about 30min) so check weather before booking. As a note getting on and off boats is tricky and can be difficult as no step ladders are avail and need to climb out of the boat , manageable for most. Once we got to the islands , things cleared up and weather was amazing - smooth beach sand , kids had a blast collecting sea shells and i was enjoying the beers they were selling :) . Island hopping was fun , got to see a sunken ship while snorkelling , didn’t see any starfishes though . Lunch was served , it was fairly good (let them know dietary restrictions while booking ).
Written June 5, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maria
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2023 • Couples
Wonderful experience. We went on a Tuesday so not too many people there, just for one day. Amazing blue and warm waters. Only 4x4’s can manage the road which is hard, full of curves and goes up and down. Is a 3 hour drive so you need to go around 5:30am. By 9:30 am we were already on the boat that takes you to the islands. By 3 o’clock you need to be back on the car. Is an indigenous reservoir with their own laws so they open at 7 am and close at 5 pm. You will be checked at 2 or 3 points of security so do not forget your passport. Accommodations were very rustic so not to many people there sleeping. Is expensive to get there but is worth the money. Entry to the “comuna”, lunch, boat rides, snacks and other fees were included in the price we paid. If you want to see something different and typical from Panama, then San Blas Islands (GunaYala) is the place to go. I would not recommend this trip for families with small children. The road makes you stomach sick.
Written April 1, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

David Lewis
Frankfurt, Germany970 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2023 • Couples
We were recommended the San Blas Islands by pretty much everyone we met and took the plunge.
We opted for the day trip as we were told the accommodation on the islands was fairly basic due to the tribe that call the islands home.
We were picked up from our Panama City hotel around 5.30am and drove 3 hrs by 4x4 to the small village on the coast where we took the 40min boat ride to the islands.
Lunch was served on the island, a basic prawn and rice dish with soft drink or water.
Had around 2 hrs on the last island for beach and snorkeling, then headed back by boat to the mainland around 3.30pm, followed by the 3hr plus drive back to Panama City.
An interesting day out if you are in Panama but very happy we did not stay overnight.
Written March 25, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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SAN BLAS ISLANDS - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about San Blas Islands