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S.Y Mintaka

SY Mintaka

SAILBOAT TO PANAMA, COLOMBIA & SAN BLAS

Size

46FT | 14 METRES

GUESTS

8

CREW LANGUAGES

DEU | ENG | ESP

PRICE PER PERSON

$550.00 USD

PANAMA DEPARTURE/ARRIVAL

PORTOBELO

COLOMBIA DEPARTURE/ARRIVAL

CARTAGENA

Overview

Mintaka has been sailing between Panama, Colombia and San Blas since 2012. This sailboat trip has been one of the most consistent operations over the years.

It is especially popular with couples, single passengers and small groups looking for a more relaxed San Blas island experience, and who are keen to avoid a large party sailboat.

Videos

Crew

German captain Manfred has been operating sailboat charters for well over twenty years. He is joined aboard Mintaka by Petra, his partner and first mate. Petra is a great chef, her meals are often highly praised by guests and one of the highlights of the trip.

As they are both owners and crew of Mintaka this means they take extra special care of the vessel. Since Mintaka is their permanent home and business they take no risks.

They invest a significant amount of time and money each year on a two month maintenance project for the boat. Mintaka then returns back into service sailing from Cartagena to Panama and return trips from Portobelo, Panama to Colombia.

Manfred HaybichCAPTAIN

Features

  • Experienced captain with twenty years charter experience
  • Professional chef
  • Charging available for camera and phones
  • Fans installed under deck

  • Competitive all-inclusive price
  • Fresh water showers available at certain times
  • Lobster meal, at no extra charge outside of mating season
  • Fishing and snorkel equipment

  • Portobelo departure/arrival: Reduced travel costs
  • All passengers are insured
  • Charging available for camera and phones
  • Well maintained, safe sailing yacht

 Design

Mintaka is a 46ft (14 metres) custom built sloop with 8 passenger berths. Because of the size of the boat it isn’t recommended for any guests looking for a wild party or anyone uncomfortable in small surroundings.

Accommodation

–  Standard double and single berths in shared cabins

–  One private double V-Berth. Forward section

Mintaka Panama To Colombia

Portobelo 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.

Pre-Departure Meeting

A meeting with your captain will take place the day before departure in Portobelo. A time and location will be confirmed after your booking is complete. The captain will give a briefing and collect your passports at this time

Day 1

Guests will meet and board Mintaka at around 18:00. You will have a meal aboard the boat before setting off for an overnight sail to San Blas.

Day 2

The boat will be due to arrive early morning in or around the Isla Chichime or Cayos Limones area. Breakfast will be served, which is usually scrambled eggs with bacon and fresh bread with French jam.

You can take a swim and go snorkelling during the rest of the morning before returning to the boat for lunch. Isla Chichime has a bar you can visit, a nice beach to enjoy plus some other smaller islands are nearby.

Day 3

After breakfast you will take an easterly cruise through the island chain towards the Western Hollandes. You will have time for more snorkelling on the reef here before lunch.

In the afternoon you can discover the island and small village. Why not buy a a coconut? The crew will provide a shot of rum to transform it into a ‘coco loco’

Day 4

You will start the day with another leisurely cruise through the San Blas Islands before arriving at your final island location, Coco Bandero. This group of islands are some of the most beautiful in the whole of the San Blas and a popular stop off for boats sailing to Colombia.

At around 18:00 the captain will pull anchor to start your sail to Cartagena.

Day 5

This whole day and night will be spent sailing to Cartagena. You will have plenty of time to catch up with a good book.

The 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 6

Breakfast will be served on board before you arrive into the bay of Cartagena in the late morning or early afternoon. The captain will meet with his marine agent who will complete the immigration process.

You may need to stay on board the boat while this is completed or you will given a time and place to meet later in the day or following morning.

What is Included?

  Five nights aboard the boat

  Three main meals per day. Free lobster meal included

   Tea, coffee, iced tea, water

  All standard immigration agent and port authority fees

What isn’t Included?

  Transport costs to Portobelo

  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 Portobelo, 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

The operator reserves the right to ask for a further deposit 50% of the balance by PayPal or bank transfer. There may be some fees  involved depending on the method you use.

HOW CAN I PAY THE FINAL BALANCE?

After we have confirmed your booking the captain will email you directly with details how to pay the final amount.

It is likely you will be required to pay 50% of the balance by PayPal or bank transfers. There may be some fees  involved depending on the method you use.

The final 50% must be paid in Cash $USD

HOW DO I GET TO PORTOBELO?

Public Transport

Busses leave through the day from Albrook Terminal in Panama City. You will need to buy a pre-loaded transport card at one of the kiosks in the departure hall.

Take the express bus to the city of Colon They depart every 30 minutes or when  full. On arrival in the bus station in Colon change directly to any bus marked ‘Portobelo’ or ‘Costa Arriba’. Do not leave the bus station.

Passengers can also depart the express bus before arriving to Colon and change in the town of ‘Sabanitas’ however this is not recommended when travelling with large luggage. The busses here often arrive already full with many locals struggling to board.

Cost: Approximately  $8.00  USD

Time: Approximately 3 hrs

Shared Direct Transfer

A shared transfer may be available however a minimum of three people are needed. If you are a solo passenger or couple we might be able to arrange you share with others if they are also interested. You will be collected from your hotel/hostel in Panama City.

Cost: $22.00 Per Person

Time: Approximately 1.5 hrs

 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?

Mintaka will sail whenever there is sufficient wind and safe to do so.

Preparation Checklist

  • Withdraw all the cash you need to pay the final trip balance, Guna Yala fee and anything additional BEFORE you leave Panama City. There is just one ATM in Portobelo and is often out of service
  • Anything additional you may want to bring along for the trip such as alcohol, sodas, snacks etc can be bought in Portobelo however choices are limited. 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.

Mintaka Colombia To Panama

Cartagena To Portobelo

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 will take place the day before departure in Cartagena. A time and location will be confirmed after your booking is complete. The captain will give a briefing and collect your passports at this time

Day 1

Guests will meet and board Mintaka at around 17:00 near Club Nautico Marina in Manga. This is around five minutes in a taxi from the Getsemani neighbourhood which is popular for most travellers.

Dinner will be served on board the boat before you start your sailing to Panama at around 19:00.

Day 2

This whole day and night will be spent sailing west towards 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.

Day 3

At around 07:00 you should awaken as you prepare to anchor in the first location of your San Blas tour. This is likely to be Coco Bandero a beautiful area of the outer San Blas Islands, popular with most boats sailing from Colombia to Panama.

Day 4

After leaving from Coco Bandero you will take a gentle trip to another picturesque group of islands, Cayaos Hollandes.

There will be plenty of good snorkelling opportunities here along with the usual relaxing on the beach or boat. In the afternoon you can go to the island as a group, visiting their small village. Coconuts will be available to by from the locals and the captain will provide a shot of rum to give them a kick.

Day 5

You will move further east through the island chain to spend your final day the area around Isla Chichime or Cayos Limones.

As the sun starts to set on the islands Mintaka will set off again, away from Guna Yala to start your overnight coastal sailing to Panama.

Day 6

The historic town of Portobelo awaits you as you finish your trip. The captain will go ashore to complete the immigration paperwork and get your passports stamped by the officials.

You will likely be off the boat by midday leaving you free to explore town. The fortifications here are a designated UNESCO World Heritage sites and worth a visit before making your way to Panama City.

What is Included?

  Five nights aboard the boat

  Three main meals per day

  Drinking water, tea and coffee

  All standard immigration agent and port authority fees

What isn’t Included?

  Transport costs from Portobelo 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 Portobelo to Panama City, and the ‘Guna Yala Congresso’ fee.

HOW CAN I PAY THE FINAL BALANCE?

After we have confirmed your booking the captain will email you directly with details how to pay the final amount.

It is likely you will be required to pay 50% of the balance by PayPal or bank transfers. There may be some fees  involved depending on the method you use.

The final 50% must be paid in Cash $USD

HOW DO I GET TO PANAMA CITY FROM PORTOBELO?

Public Transport

Busses leave Portobelo every 30 minutes throughout the day. You will have to change in the town of Sabanitas or the port city of Colon. It is quicker to change in Sabanitas however the connection from here to Panama City will be busy and there may not be seats available.

Time: Approximately 3hrs

Cost: Approximately $8.00 USD

Shared Direct Transfer

A shared transfer may be available however a minimum of three people are needed. If you are a solo passenger or couple we might be able to arrange you share with others if they are also interested. You will be taken directly to any downtown hostel/hostel

Cost: On request

Time: Approximately 1.5hrs

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,  prices may vary.

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 it is not required when you arrive with Mintaka.

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?

Mintaka will sail whenever there is sufficient wind and safe to do so.

Preparation Checklist

  • Make sure you plan to arrive in Cartagena two days before departure in order to meet the captain at 10:00am the day before departure.
  • 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 Portobelo 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.

Mintaka Reviews

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