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SAILING WITH MINTAKA

46ft | 14m

MONO HULL

8

GUESTS

5

NIGHTS

$550.00

PER PERSON

OVERVIEW

Mintaka has been sailing between Panama, Colombia and San Blas since 2011. This sailboat trip has been one of the most consistent operations over the years. The owners invest a significant amount of time and money each year on a two month maintenance project for the boat from September to November. Mintaka then returns back into service sailing from Cartagena to Panama and return trips from Portobelo, Panama to Colombia.

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

Please note this is a small boat and space is limited. This is not a suitable for people looking to spend each night drinking, partying or expecting entertainment from the crew. They will aim to make sure the trip, when possible is completed in full and safely.

BERTHS

$550.00 USD per person*

* Standard trip price. Subject to seasonal changes. Does not include Guna Yala tourist fee of $20 USD

 Private double
 Private with a triple size bed
 Double bed saloon area
 Single bed in passageway area

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 before booking.

CAPTAIN

German captain Manfred has been operating sailboat charters for almost thirty 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.

Manfred and Petra are both owners and full time crew, meaning they take extra special care of the vessel since Mintaka is their permanent home and business.

Manfred Haybich

CAPTAIN

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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

ARE THERE ANY HIDDEN COSTS?

Depending on how you negotiate the final payment with the operator you may incur administration or currency exchange rate fees.

You should budget for the following:

$20USD per person to pay the ‘Guna Yala’ tourist fee when you arrive in the San Blas islands
Transport to or from Puerto Lindo if you are traveling from, or onward to Panama City
Entry fee to Panama/Colombia if required. For most nationalities this is not applicable
Alcoholic drinks, sodas and snacks

HOW CAN I PAY THE FINAL BALANCE?

The final balance must be paid directly to the captain. It is possible that a further deposit of 50% via bank transfer in € EUROS or USD PayPal transfer will be requested one month before departure. It is possible there may be some additional fees.

Any final balance after that will be payable in cash USD on board the boat. Remember that your bank may restrict daily transaction amounts from your card when you are in another country. Please plan accordingly as you might need to make more than one cash withdrawal over a few days before your trip starts.

From Panama

You should be sure to have this ready in advance of leaving Panama City. There are no cash facilities in or anywhere near Puerto Lindo

The official currency of Panama is the $USD, although it is generally referred to as the ‘Balboa’. You will not need to exchange any currency.

From Colombia

US Dollars are easy to get in Cartagena from local ‘Casa de Cambios’ We recommend visiting Calle San Andreas, Getsemani. This is the hostel district and they have experience changing money for boat passengers all the time.

Remember to take additional USD for your arrival in Panama, $20USD Guna Yala Fee and in case you want to buy souvenirs in the islands.

HOW DO I GET TO OR FROM PORTOBELO?

The captain will request that all passengers attend a pre departure meeting one day before departure.

Option 1 – Shuttle Service

$25.00 USD
2 Hours 30 Minutes

If there a minimum of 3 people interested we can arrange a shared group shuttle for you from any centrally located hotel/hostel in Panama City to Portobelo on the day before your departure.

If you are arriving from Colombia, the captain will check with all passengers and can make arrangements for a shuttle to collect you on arrival in Portobelo

This service is provided by non-affiliated local operators. We do not take any commission from them and cannot accept responsibility any lost or damaged items or other issues. You are free to book your transfer with your hostel or a local agency. Prices are subject to change.

 

Option 2 – Public Transport

$8.00 USD – $10.00 USD + Taxi to/from hostel
3 To 6 Hours

 

Panama To Colombia

Take the express bus from ALBROOK TERMINAL in Panama City to the city of COLON. You will need to buy a pre-loaded transport card at one of the kiosks in the departure hall. They depart every 30 minutes or when full. On arrival in the bus station in Colon you must ask for the next departure Portobelo. They normally leave every 30 minutes on average.

It is also possible to connect in the town of ‘Sabanitas’ a small town before Colon, however this is not recommended when travelling with large luggage. The busses here often arrive already full with many locals struggling to board.

 

Colombia To Panama

On arrival you will need to wait for the next bus heading towards COLON for a connection to PANAMA CITY, they leave every 30 minutes on average. You can connect in the town ‘Sabanitas’ to save some time, however you will almost certainly have to stand for the duration of the journey.

CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE MY DIETARY REQUIREMENT?

Vegetarian, Pescatarian or Vegan meals can be prepared only if we are informed with enough notice before the trip.

Gluten free meals are also possible however options are extremely limited, so you should consider taking some snacks for yourself.

Unfortunately it is simply not possible to prepare separate meals for you if you have a dislike for certain foods. You should also think about taking some snacks in case you do not like what is on offer.

If you have a genuine allergy, such as nuts, lactose products, shellfish or anything else then you should take appropriate measures, we can not guarantee that meals will be free from ingredients or products that may cause a reaction.

DOES THE BOAT HAVE SHOWERS?

It won’t be possible to take full showers. Fresh water is extremely important to conserve on multi day offshore sailing trips like this and it is obviously very important that drinking water doesn’t run out.

WHAT SHOULD I PACK?

Before boarding the boat you should separate all your belongings into two separate bags. One small/medium ‘day bag’ for anything you might need for the five day tour. You will keep this with you on the boat by your berth. Your main larger luggage will likely be stored away in a separate area and inaccessible.

We strongly advise you to protect this larger luggage with large plastic trash bags, just in case of water damage. Use one to line the outside of the bag and others to protect the items inside.

Day bag packing suggestions

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
Wet wipes for face and body wash
 Insect repellant
Dramamine seasickness medication

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.

WILL I GET PHONE OR WIFI SIGNAL?

Don’t count on it at all. If you have a phone with roaming enabled, you might get some signal in certain locations in the San Blas islands when in range of a local operator tower, its not common though. We suggest you just disconnect and enjoy yourself for a few days.

DOES THE BOAT HAVING SNORKEL AND FISHING EQUIPMENT?

Snorkel gear is available to share between passengers.

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.

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, nobody is forced to take part or organize activities. You can of course enjoy snorkelling, swimming or just relaxing on the beach or boat.

The captain and crew can help organize beach parties, bonfires, volleyball and visits to local villages, however they are not tour guides and cannot ‘babysit’ guests. Their main responsibilities are on board the boat and might not always be able to join in.

DO I NEED AN ONWARD TICKET FOR IMMIGRATION ON ARRIVAL ?

Entering Colombia

At this moment in time it is not required when you arrive with a sailboat to Cartagena. This might change in the future.

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)

Entering Panama

You should have a printed reservation document showing onward travel within 3 months of arrival in Panama. If you don’t already have a ticket booked please let us know.

WILL WE ACTUALLY BE SAILING?

It isn’t realistic to complete the trip without motoring, especially inside the islands.

The boat will only sail at certain times when there is sufficient wind and if it is safe to do so. 

SY MINTAKA SAILING VIDEOS

MINTAKA – PORTOBELO TO CARTAGENA

DEPARTURE PORT

Portobelo, Panama

ARRIVAL PORT

Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

INCLUDED

Five nights
Immigration agent and port fees
All meals

Tea, coffee, water
Snorkel equipment

NOT INCLUDED

 Guna Yala fee $20 USD
Transport to Puerto Lindo

Entry visa/fee to Colombia if required
Alcoholic drinks & sodas

ITINERARY

Please be aware that the information provided is only an example itinerary.

Your trip and the islands you visit may be different depending on climate and on anchoring conditions. Adverse weather conditions may also result in delays or changes to the departure and arrival locations.

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: Departure

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: San Blas Islands

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: San Blas Islands

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: San Blas Islands

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: Sea Day

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: Arrival

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.

MINTAKA – CARTAGENA TO PORTOBELO

DEPARTURE PORT

Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

ARRIVAL PORT

Portobelo, Panama

INCLUDED

Five nights
Immigration agent and port fees
All meals

Tea, coffee, water
Snorkel equipment

NOT INCLUDED

 Guna Yala fee $20 USD
Onward transport from Puerto Lindo

Entry visa/fee to Panama if required
Alcoholic drinks & sodas

ITINERARY

Please be aware that the information provided is only an example itinerary.

Your trip and the islands you visit may be different depending on climate and on anchoring conditions. Adverse weather conditions may also result in delays or changes to the departure and arrival locations.

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: Departure

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: Sea Day

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: San Blas Islands

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: San Blas Islands

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: San Blas Islands

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: Arrival

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.

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