Before Booking

San Blas Dreams Essential Guide for a Tour to the San Blas Islands
GENERAL INFORMATIONS

Since 2014, San Blas Dreams has been offering tours to the spectacular San Blas Islands in Panama, a destination as fascinating as it is unique. With a deep understanding of both the wonders and peculiarities of this region, we have created a detailed guide to help clients understand what to expect from a tour in Guna Yala. It is important to note that these tours are not suitable for everyone: if you are a very demanding person, with rigid expectations or in search of luxury service, we advise against booking a tour to the San Blas Islands.

Why Choose San Blas Dreams?
San Blas Dreams, officially registered with the national Tourism Authority, is one of the leading tour operators in Panama. Founded in Panama City in 2014, it has quickly become a leader in tourism to the San Blas Islands in the Caribbean of Panama, offering more than 15 different tours. We work directly with the Guna Yala community and select only the best islands and Guna families to ensure an authentic and high-quality experience for our clients.

Our Commitment to Your Experience
Our priority is your satisfaction and transparency. We don’t promise unrealistic experiences just to sell a tour; we want you to be fully aware of what to expect. We invite you to carefully read all the available information to understand how a tour to the San Blas Islands works, from the car departure from Panama City to the boat trip and the arrival on the islands.

Booking and Assistance
When you book with us, we assume you have read all the available information and have chosen the most suitable island for you. We are always ready to support you through our detailed website and our assistance via email or WhatsApp. Our mission is to ensure an informed choice and a vacation without surprises.

RESERVATIONS, PAYMENT & BALANCE

Easy Booking and Payments
Booking is simple. You can reserve directly on our website using a credit or debit card, with a deposit required. The remaining balance must be paid in cash on the day of travel, as well as for all purchases made on the islands.

Collaboration with the Guna and Cash Payments
We collaborate with the Guna community on all aspects of the tour. The majority of the money stays within San Blas, supporting local staff, boats, accommodations, food, and the communities visited. It is crucial to settle the remaining amount in cash on the tour day to cover services provided by the Guna. Remember to withdraw cash in Panama City by the evening before the tour, considering daily withdrawal limits. There are no ATMs in San Blas.

Booking Confirmation and Important Details
After booking, you will receive a confirmation email. It is essential to carefully read this email and any attachments to ensure a smooth trip. Please ensure your email address is entered correctly. On the day of the tour, remember to bring the tickets received via email, either printed or in PDF format on your mobile phone.

Booking Guide
1. Select the tour you want.
2. Click on BOOK NOW. Choose the type of cabin, number of nights, and number of people.
Note: For a Day Tour, just pick the date and the number of participants.
3. Fill out the form with the required details for all participants.
4. Make the down payment using your credit or debit card. Our system will guide you through each step.
5. You will receive a booking confirmation email with all the essential details.
6. The remaining balance is due in cash on the day of the tour.

Here is our video guide, in case you need it.

Make sure you have sufficient cash and carefully read all information for a hassle-free tour.

TRANSFER BY CAR

• The transportation service within the Guna Yala territory is strictly regulated, with a limited number of authorized vehicles, each capable of carrying up to 6 passengers in addition to the driver. Seats are assigned randomly and cannot be chosen in advance. In special cases, you can contact us via email for personalized solutions.
Note: If the randomly assigned seat does not satisfy you and you decide not to participate in the tour, please note that the initial deposit will not be refunded.

• The last two seats in our vehicles, necessary for our transport capacity, may be less comfortable, especially for taller people. We ask for cooperation and mutual understanding among travelers to find a seat arrangement that maximizes comfort for everyone.

• The transportation to the San Blas Islands does not function as a taxi service, and the round trip is always from the same starting point. To be dropped off at a different location on the return trip, there is an additional fee of $5 per person, if possible. For logistical reasons, it is not possible to drop off clients at the airport or bus stations in Panama City upon return from San Blas.

• Every day, starting at 5:30 a.m., our drivers begin their rounds to pick up clients. We can reach you between 5:30 and approximately 6:00 a.m. Our Jeeps can carry up to 6 passengers, which means, depending on the organized route, there may be other clients to pick up before you. If clients are not ready, we may have to wait for them (we strive not to leave anyone behind). In this case, we ask for your patience; we always do our best to get to you as soon as possible. If we are unable to locate you, the drivers will have to proceed out of respect for the other guests. In such a case, the deposit will not be refunded.

• The trip from Panama City to the port takes approximately 2.5 hours, not including possible delays due to picking up other passengers, police checkpoints, protests, stopping at the Mini Market, traffic, or lines at the entrance to the Guna territory.
Once in the Guna territory, the trip continues for about an hour with many curves and ups and downs, covering approximately 42 kilometers. The road is marked with visible kilometer signs for you to monitor the journey.

• Our drivers are experienced and ensure a safe drive, even if it may seem a bit adventurous at times. Customer safety is our priority, and we invite you to provide feedback to improve the service and make your experience unforgettable.

• Space in the cars and on the boats is limited, so it is recommended to bring only the essentials and leave large suitcases at your hotel or apartment in Panama City. It is prohibited to bring bulky items such as lounge chairs or large coolers.

BOAT TRIP TO THE ISLAND

Welcome and Transportation
Once you arrive at the port, the Guna family hosting you will take you by boat to their island. They will handle all boat transfers, accommodation, meal preparation, and included tours.

Experience and Communication
Unlike our other tours, trips to San Blas do not include tour guides. Not all host families speak English, so we encourage you to collaborate with them for any needs. This is an integral part of your experience in Guna Yala.

Protection of Valuables
During the boat trip, you may get wet, adding to the adventure. Make sure to protect your valuables such as passports, phones, and cameras. We strongly advise against bringing computers or tablets.

Physical Condition
Good physical condition is necessary for boarding the boats.

ON THE ISLAND

Facilities and Accommodations
Most accommodations and bathrooms in Guna Yala are very basic. Make sure to be well informed about the available facilities on the island you have chosen to avoid disappointment. If an island does not have private bathrooms, they are generally shared. None of the islands offer air conditioning; some have solar power or a generator for charging phones, while others do not. Mattresses and pillows are often of modest quality.

Tourism and Patience
Tourism is relatively new in Guna Yala. Accommodations are basic, meals are simple, and schedules are not always strictly followed. We ask for your patience and respect for the customs and schedules of the Guna population.

Beverages and Local Support
Tourists must bring their own beverages, including water, or can purchase them on the island, contributing to the local economy.

Meals and Provisions
All meals are included, but it is advisable to bring some extra snacks. You can buy drinks and snacks on the islands, but the selection is limited. If you have dietary restrictions, such as being vegetarian or gluten intolerant, bring additional snacks. We recommend purchasing what is available on the islands, such as water, beer, and soft drinks, to support the local community.

Regulation and Local Authority
Guna Yala is an autonomous region governed by the Guna Congress. As guides and tour operators, we respect local laws and work with approved contractors. All accommodations, staff, and transportation services are regulated by the Guna government. Non-Guna staff and commercial goods not owned by Guna are not allowed on the islands. We are required to pay our contractual partners in advance for accommodations and transportation. In case of service disruptions, we cannot guarantee refunds.

Customer Support
Our customer service is available 24/7, all year round. For over 10 years, we have provided our customers with the best support for tours to San Blas and other tours on our website. We are committed to resolving any issues fairly, supporting guests, and encouraging our partners to do the same. If a partner does not resolve issues adequately, we will report it and consider other options within our limited network.

Drone Regulations
The use of drones is not allowed on the San Blas Islands. You could receive a fine and have your drone confiscated. San Blas Dreams is not responsible for decisions made by the Guna General Congress.

THE BUSIEST SEASONS IN SAN BLAS

High Season
The tourist season in San Blas runs from December to April. During this period, certain dates can be particularly crowded, leading to delays in accessing the port and overcrowded islands. This could affect the quality of your experience.

Busiest Dates
Peak tourist influx occurs on the following dates:

  • Christmas and New Year’s
  • Carnival
  • Easter
  • Panamanian national holidays in November (first and last week)

Advice
Consider this information before booking your tour to ensure a more enjoyable experience.

DOCUMENTS & TAXES

Original Passport
To enter the Guna Yala community, you must present your original passport with the entry stamp into Panama. Copies are not accepted. San Blas Dreams is not responsible for denied entry and no refunds will be provided.

Documents for Panamanians and Residents
Panamanian citizens and residents must show an original ID or residency document.

Entry Taxes
The entry Taxes for the Guna community are as follows:

  • Panamanian Citizens and Foreign Residents: $8
  • Tourists (age 10 and up): $23
WEATHER CONDITIONS

Tours in Case of Rain
Tours will proceed even in the event of rain. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee ideal weather conditions, but we are committed to adhering to the agreed schedule even in adverse weather conditions. If national or regional authorities suspend tours for safety reasons, we may postpone or cancel the tour, and in such cases, payments will be refunded.

Peak Season and Winds
From December to April, besides being peak season, there are also strong winds that can make the sea rough on certain days. To ensure the safety of our clients and staff, tours may be delayed or canceled. Safety is our top priority, and we adhere to Guna safety regulations. We appreciate your understanding in these cases.

Refund Policy
We do not offer refunds or discounts for rain or bad weather unless the tour is canceled for safety reasons.

CUSTOMER REVIEWS

Customer feedback is crucial to us. Thanks to your suggestions, we’ve continuously improved our services and will keep doing so every day. We invite you to share your experience with us via email at info@sanblasdreams.com. We always appreciate any advice or feedback you send our way.

However, there are occasions when some customers contact us after their San Blas tour with “unusual” comments, requesting partial refunds without valid reasons and threatening to leave negative reviews on various specialized platforms. It’s important to note that the entire San Blas Dreams team works tirelessly to be close to our customers. However, we do not tolerate such threats, which we consider disrespectful and unfounded. Any such threats will be reported to our technical support and the platforms handling online reviews.

We’ve also created this guide to help customers better understand what to expect from a tour to the San Blas Islands, thereby avoiding unpleasant surprises upon arrival.

LOST OR FORGOTTEN ITEMS

• San Blas Dreams is not liable for lost, forgotten, or damaged items on the islands or in vehicles. It is the sole responsibility of the customer to prevent the loss or forgetting of items.

• If you forget something in the car or on the island, San Blas Dreams will do its best to retrieve and return it to Panama City. It is essential to contact us immediately.

• If our staff finds the item, the customer will need to retrieve it personally at their own expense, at the address provided.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

• We are a booking agency and do not own the islands we operate with. Once at the port, the Guna family ensures the level of service that distinguishes us.

• We are not responsible for weather conditions, governmental actions, civil disobedience, protests, or force majeure. We do our best to avoid them and will keep you informed of any changes.

• We recommend travel insurance for all passengers, given the risks of adventurous travel. By booking, you accept all our conditions; San Blas Dreams declines all responsibility.

Visit our pages on Cancellation Policies and Terms & Conditions.


In Summary

  • San Blas Dreams has been offering tours since 2014.
  • San Blas Islands: a unique destination with natural beauty and peculiarities.
  • Transparency: we inform clients accurately to avoid disappointment.
  • Informed booking: it is essential to read the guide to choose the right island and tour.

Choose San Blas Dreams for an authentic and transparent experience in the San Blas Islands!

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