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Gitano del Mar

Gitano del Mar

SAILING CATAMARAN TO PANAMA, COLOMBIA & SAN BLAS

Catamaran

52FT | 15.9 METRES

GUESTS

20

CREW LANGUAGES

ENGLISH | ESPAÑOL

PRICE PER PERSON

$550.00 USD

PANAMA DEPARTURE/ARRIVAL

El PORVENIR

COLOMBIA DEPARTURE/ARRIVAL

CARTAGENA

Overview

Gitano del Mar is the largest catamaran sailing from Panama to Colombia. Return voyages depart from Cartagena de Indias to San Blas and have proved to be very popular with adventure travellers and backpackers for several years.

The trip is generally considered to be a party cruise although that doesn’t necessarily mean things will be too crazy. It is still popular with a mix of people so long as they are relaxed about being around a big group with limited space.

Despite having many spaces available you will need to book as early as possible. Most departures are sold out well in advance.

Features

  • Competitive all-inclusive price
  • Snorkel equipment
  • Stand up paddle board, Kayak

  • Experienced captain
  • Charging available for camera and phones
  • Fans installed under deck

Captain

Frenchman Jepi has been sailing with Gitano del Mar for well over 10 years. These days he only joins the trips occasionally though.

Over the last few years he has transferred captain duties over to contracted skippers such as fellow Frenchman David, Australian ‘Dingo’ and Argentinian Victor. Another captain  may be in charge when you want to travel so please check with us in advance if this is important to you.

Design

Gitano del Mar is a 52ft / 15.9 metre ‘lagoon’ catamaran. It has be customised and refitted in recent years including additional sleeping areas to make full use of the space on board.

Being a catamaran it is generally very fast and comfortable in good and moderate weather. In stronger winds with larger waves, water is forced between the two hulls hitting the underside of the boat which may be a little disconcerting for some people. Unlike a mono-hull however it will not roll from side to side.

Accommodation

This is one of the more crowded boats in terms of sleeping arrangements.

– Two private doubles

– Two private triples

A total of 10 more berths are available which include single, double and triple beds, some of which are located in a shared ‘common area’

All berths are $550.00 USD per person. If you want to be sure of getting a certain berth please let us know in advance so we can be sure there is availability for you.

Gitano del Mar Panama To Colombia

El Porvenir To Cartagena

Please note that the information provided below is to be used as a general example itinerary only.

Your trip, and the islands you visit may be different depending on climate and on anchoring conditions.

Day 1

You will leave Panama City at around 05:30am with an independent local ground transport provider. The journey to the coastal area of Guna Yala takes around 2 hours, 30 minutes.

Upon arrival at the coast, a locally operated boat service will be available to transfer you to El Porvenir, where Gitano del Mar will be anchored.

After all guests are on board the captain will complete all immigration and departure formalities while you can explore the island, beach and waters.

You may stay here for the afternoon or head off earlier in the day to another location such as Isla Chichime

Day 2

Your second day of your San Blas island adventure leads you to another location.

Cayos Limones including Isla Perro and the Western Holandes are popular stop off points for snorkelling, and chilling on the beach as well as partying during the evening.

Day 3

As with the majority of boats, your final day in San Blas will likely be spent in some if the furthest islands from the mainland such as Coco Bandero or the Eastern Holandes.

These make a convenient location to sail into the night towards Cartagena.

 Day 4

A whole day at sea. You will awake far offshore with nothing but ocean on the horizon.

You will have plenty of time to catch up with a good book. Your captain will put out some fishing lines, if your lucky you might catch a Yellowfin tuna, Sailfish or Wahoo. Keep your camera nearby as dolphins might join you alongside the boat.

Day 5

You will leave the boat and crew in Cartagena as soon as immigration process has been completed. This is generally after breakfast.

What is Included?

  Four nights aboard the boat

  Three main meals per day. Free lobster meal included

   Tea, coffee, water

  All standard immigration agent and port authority fees

What isn’t Included?

  Transport costs to El Porvenir

  Guna Yala entry taxes $20pp, cash USD only

  Entry fee or visa to Colombia if required

  Alcoholic drinks, sodas and snacks

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are still unsure about something fell free to contact us

ARE THERE ANY HIDDEN COSTS?

No. You will need to budget for your own transport to start the trip at El Porvenir, and the ‘Guna Yala Congresso’ fee.

We advise you to you to take some extra cash in USD in case you want to buy souvenirs, additional snacks, beers and coconuts

HOW CAN I PAY THE FINAL BALANCE?

The final balance must be paid in cash, USD only.

You should be sure to have this ready in advance of leaving Panama City.

Please remember your bank may restrict the amount you can withdraw when abroad in any 24 hour period. Please prepare accordingly.

HOW DO I GET TO EL PORVENIR?

Shared Transfer

We can book this for you at your request. Transport is available from any downtown hotel or hostel location. Pick-up times are normally between 05:00 and 06:00. From the city you will be taken to the mainland coastal area of the Guna Yala (San Blas) region.

From here a boat transfer will take you to the boat anchored at El Porvenir.

In all you should budget form the following;

– $25 ground transport

– $20 boat transfer

– $2 dock fee in Carti

Prices may vary. This service is provided by a non-affiliated local operator. We do not receive any commission from them and cannot take responsibility any lost or damaged items or other issues. You are free to book your transfer with your hotel or a local agency. 

WHAT SHOULD I PACK?

Before boarding you should separate all your belongings into two separate bags. One small/medium for anything you might need for the five day tour. You will keep this with you on the boat by your berth

– High factor UVA skin protection
– Book
– Ipod/Phone
– Swim wear
– Light clothing, T-Shirts & shorts, sandals
– Camera
– Snacks, juices/soda, alcohol
– Towel
– Light jacket/sweater
– Flashlight

You main larger luggage will be stowed and difficult to reach, make sure no essential items are packed. We strongly advise you to protect this larger luggage with large plastic trash bags. Use one to line the outside and more for the belonging inside, just in case.

CAN I CHARGE MY PHONE/CAMERA?

Yes, at certain times. The captain will let you know when it is possible. We recommend switching it off to conserve battery when you are not taking photos.

DOES THE BOAT HAVING SNORKEL AND FISHING EQUIPMENT?

Snorkel gear is available to use

Your captain will likely fish with lines while sailing in certain locations. Using rods from the boat while anchored in the islands will probably not be possible.

The local indigenous population heavily rely on selling fish themselves. To ensure sustainable and responsible tourism the captain will abide by the locals wishes not to fish in certain locations.

WHAT WILL WE DO EACH DAY ?

When you are in the San Blas islands the captain will likely leave you to make your own decisions what to do.

The captain and crew can help you organize beach parties, bonfires and visits to local villages, however they are not tour guides and cannot babysit guests. Their main responsibilities are on board the boat.

You can of course enjoy snorkelling, swimming or just relaxing on the beach or boat.

DO I NEED AN ONWARD TICKET WHEN WE ARRIVE IN COLOMBIA ?

No. At this moment in time it is not required when you arrive with a sailboat.

You should however check if the passport you are travelling on has any special conditions upon entering Colombia (ie Canadian reciprocal fee, please check your status)

WILL WE ACTUALLY BE SAILING?

It won’t be possible to sail at all times. Navigating through the islands can be dangerous with many reefs.

Away from the islands the captain will sail whenever practical. Sometimes there may not be enough wind or too strong.

Preparation Checklist

  • Pre-book transport from your hostel/hotel to El Porvenir
  • Withdraw all the cash you need to pay the final trip balance, Guna Yala fee and anything additional BEFORE you leave Panama City. There are no banks or ATM’s after you have left the city
  • Anything additional you may want to bring along for the trip such as alcohol, sodas, snacks etc should also be bought in advance. In some locations within the islands you can make purchases however choices are limited.
  • Before leaving the city please also be sure to make a photocopy of your passport photo page and the page containing the entry stamp issued to you on arrival in Panama. This may be needed for immigration
  • Separate your luggage into two bags. One small ‘day pack’ for what you will need for the time on the boat and your main bag/backpack which will be stowed away. It is also advisable to protect luggage with large plastic trash bags.
  • Dramamine is recommended for seasickness. Be sure to buy before leaving Panama City. You may want to consider taking early on your final day in the islands them to start working in advance before you set sail towards Cartagena. You captain will advise.

Gitano del Mar Colombia To Panama

Cartagena To El Porvenir

Please note that the information provided below is to be used as a general example itinerary only.

Your trip, and the islands you visit may be different depending on climate and on anchoring conditions.

Pre-Departure Meeting

A meeting with your captain often takes place TWO DAYS before departure at a local hostel in the Getsemani area of Cartagena. The captain will give a briefing and confirm final arrangements for departure day.

If you cannot make this meeting please notify us in advance. We will foward the relevant details from the captain.

Day 1

Gitano del Mar will be anchored near Club Nautico Marina, in Manga. This is around five minutes in a taxi from the Getsemani area.

You will meet at the marina or nearby supermarket at specified time given by the captain at the pre-departure meeting.

Day 2

All day and night sailing to the San Blas Islands and Panama. You won’t have much to do except catch up on some reading. Keep you eyes out for Dolphins who might give you an escort along the way.

Depending on weather conditions and departure time from Cartagena, you may arrive to San Blas early and anchor for the evening.

Day 3

If the boat isn’t already anchored overnight you will arrive at some point early in the morning.

You will be in a remote area of the outer islands of San Blas, far from the mainland. Cayos Coco Bandero and the Eastern Holandes are likely possible destinations.

Day 4

The boat will make its way in a westerly direction. Along with the popular Western Holandes you may also visit Cayos Limones.

Day 5

Your final full day in the islands. Cayos Limones including Isla Chichime are two possible stops on this day.

Day 6

After breakfast aboard Gitano del Mar, a pre-arranged local boat operator will collect your group and take you to the mainland.

Shared group transfers will be available here to take you to your hostel/hostel in Panama City. You should arrive by mid-afternoon

What is Included?

  Five nights aboard the boat

  Three main meals per day. Free lobster meal included

  Drinking water, tea and coffee

  All standard immigration agent and port authority fees

What isn’t Included?

 Transport costs from El Porvenir after your trip.

  Guna Yala entry taxes $20pp, cash USD only

  Visa costs to Panama if required

  Alcoholic drinks, sodas and snacks

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are still unsure about something feel free to contact us.

ARE THERE ANY HIDDEN COSTS?

No. As per the information provided above you will need to budget for your own transport after the trip has ended to get from El Porvenir to Panama City, and the ‘Guna Yala Congresso’ fee.

We advise you to you to take some extra cash in USD in case you want to buy souvenirs, additional snacks, beers and coconuts

HOW CAN I PAY THE FINAL BALANCE?

The final balance should be paid in cash, $USD to the captain when you board in Cartagena.

You can change change your Colombian pesos to $USD at the best rates locally. This is the most economic way of paying, you will avoid high credit/debit card charges and less economic exchange rates.

If you would like to pay in Colombian Pesos you can enquire at the pre-departure meeting.

HOW DO I GET TO PANAMA CITY FROM EL PORVENIR?

This will be arranged by the crew. On your final morning on the boat a locally operated water taxi will arrive to take all passengers from El Porvenir to the mainland (Carti)

From here shared transfer vehicles will be available to take you to  any downtown hostel or hostel.

In all you should budget form the following;

– $20 boat transfer

– $25 ground transport

– $2 dock fee in Carti

WHAT SHOULD I PACK?

Before arriving at Club Nautico Marina should separate all your belongings into two separate bags. One small/medium for anything you might need for the five day tour. You will keep this with you on the boat by your berth

– High UVA skin protection
– Book
– Ipod/Phone
– Swim wear
– Light clothing, T-Shirts & shorts, sandals
– Camera
– Snacks, juices/soda, alcohol
– Towel
– Light jacket/sweater
– Flashlight

You main larger luggage will be stowed and difficult to reach, make sure no essential items are packed. We strongly advise you to protect this larger luggage with large plastic trash bags. Use one to line the outside and more for the belonging inside, just in case.

CAN I CHARGE MY PHONE/CAMERA?

Yes, at certain times. The captain will let you know when it is possible. We recommend switching it off to conserve battery when you are not taking photos.

DOES THE BOAT HAVE SNORKEL AND FISHING EQUIPMENT?

Snorkel gear is available to use

Your captain will likely fish with lines while sailing in certain locations. Using rods from the boat while anchored in the islands will probably not be possible. The local indigenous population heavily rely on selling fish themselves. To ensure sustainable and responsible tourism the captain will abide by the locals wishes not to fish in certain locations.

WHAT DO WE DO EACH DAY?

When you are in the San Blas islands the captain will likely leave you to make your own decisions what to do.

The captain and crew can help you organize beach parties, bonfires and visits to local villages, however they are not tour guides and cannot babysit guests. Their main responsibilities are on board the boat.

You can of course enjoy snorkelling, swimming or just relaxing on the beach or boat.

DO I NEED AN ONWARD TICKET FOR IMMIGRATION WHEN WE ARRIVE IN PANAMA?

No. At this moment in time passengers travelling aboard Gitano del Mar will not be required to show proof of onward travel as the boat is registered as a Panamanian commercial vessel.

The immigration services in Panama often change their regulations so we cannot guarantee this won’t change. You will be advised before departure if it does.

WILL WE ACTUALLY BE SAILING?

It won’t be possible to sail at all times. Navigating through the islands can be dangerous with many reefs.

Away from the islands the captain will sail whenever practical. Sometimes there may not be enough wind or too strong.

Preparation Checklist

  • Leave your passport at the agent collection point on the morning of departure. The time and location will be on your final booking confirmation.
  • Withdraw all the cash you need to pay the final cash balance in USD$. You should also be sure to change additional US Dollars to pay the ‘Guna Yala Congresso’ fee of $20 per person and onward transport from El Porvenir to Panama City  (read FAQ’s)
  • Anything additional you may want to bring along for the trip such as alcohol, sodas, snacks etc should also be bought in advance. In some locations within the islands you can make purchases however choices are limited.
  • Before departure please also be sure to make a photocopy of your passport photo page. This may be needed for immigration on arrival
  • Prepare all luggage before boarding (read FAQ’s)
  • Dramamine is recommended for seasickness. You should take your first dose early on the day of departure for it to start working in advance.

Gitano del Mar Reviews

Check out the recent reviews for Gitano del Mar. We only publish genuine reviews from verified passengers who we know travelled on this boat.

Gitano del Mar Overall rating: ★★★★☆ 3.7 based on 4 reviews
5 1

Good trip and great service

★★★★☆
4 5 1
The San Blas islands are an amazing place and 100% definitely worth making the trip. Due to time constraints we didn't have time to wait around in Panama and going with the Gitano boat was basically our only option or flying and missing out on the San Blas. I'm so glad we didn't. Steve was great helping us book and organising everything. The advice and honesty provided really helped us a lot and we didn't feel pressured into booking when we sere still thinking about catching a flight instead. We were given lots of info and decided to go ahead with it. Gitano is a catamaran with lots of people and definitely won't be to everyone's liking. Sleeping spaces are limited and most people on board are looking to party. Saying that we didn't get any nasty surprises. The crew and food were good but there were not many snorkel sets for everyone at the same time to use. There are probably better boats around however we felt we got the service and experience we thought we would and spent 3 amazing days in San Blas.

Gitano San Blas

★★★★★
5 5 1
Sail with Gitano del Mar for a great time! I had great fun at met so many friends. This is the best boat if you are travelling alone and want to have fun and meet great people

El Gitano Del Mar

★★★★☆
4 5 1
My boyfriend and I took Gitano from Panama to Cartagena recently and had a great time with our captain David. We didn't really know what to expect and were a little apprehensive about going on a large boat with so many people. We immediately felt at ease by David and our group was a fantastic mix of people. The boat itself is a little grubby. Nothing too bad at all but its clear there is wear and tear and they don't have much time for to make little improvements. We would recommend Gitano definitely but just be open minded and don't expect total luxury.

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