All boats are privately owned vessels and not operated by sailcolombiapanama.com or any other company travel company. Please check you are fully covered for this type of privately operated boat trip.
You must ensure that You have a full passport (and if applicable visa) with a sufficient validity period to allow entry and exit to all countries you are travelling from and two.
If you are unsure you should contact the relevant embassy or consulate to ascertain the entry requirements relevant for you.
You are responsible for obtaining the correct documentation for entry the destination country if required. The cost of travel does not include additional fees for immigration above normal agent administration costs. Any additional fees such as entry visas, extensions or reciprocal fees levied to passport holders of certain countries are not included.
After paying a deposit your booking IS NOT COMPLETE until we have received full confirmation from the operator.Sometimes changes in availability or dates occur that we are not informed about because of the difficulty the captain has with communication in the San Blas islands. If this is the case you be given the option to change your booking to another boat or receive a full refund.
Once we receive full confirmation of your place aboard You will be sent a full booking confirmation by email. This can be printed and used at boarder crossings and airports as ‘proof of onward travel’.
There is no guarantee that your booking confirmation alone will be sufficient to enter the country. Immigration officials may refuse entry at their discretion.
Additionally some airlines also will not allow passengers to board at the destination without having a recognised airline ticket. This is a matter of their company policy. It is likely they will ask you to buy a ticket at the counter that can be refunded later.
SAILCOLOMBIAPANAMA.COM is a booking portal, All boats featured are owned and operated independently. The information provided regarding amenities, services on offer and sample itineraries have been provided directly from the boat operator. While we cannot be held responsible if you feel the advertised service has not been provided, we would still like you to contact us to let us know.
Delays/Change Of Itinerary
The very nature of ocean passages can sometimes result in delays to your journey or changes to the planned itinerary. All of the vessels we deal with are experienced in the industry therefore plan their schedule to avoid such cases occurring, sometimes however it is unavoidable. Unexpected maintenance & repairs or severe under-booking can also result in delays to departure. These are all extremely rare occurrences with the boats that we are in partnership with.
Before booking you should understand flexibility may be needed in your plans regarding departure/arrival dates and locations. Please DO NOT BOOK if you have a flight connection without a comfortable amount of time to spare.
During the months, December to early March there is a possibility that scheduled departure and arrival ports shown below may change at short notice depending on weather reports. Passengers should remain flexible and budget for any potential change of plans. Additionally, changes in the immigration procedure in Panama may also result to a change in the departure/arrival location. In the past it has not been uncommon for the Panamanian authorities to move their services temporarily to different locations in San Blas or the mainland. This could also cause a change to the planned itinerary.
The remaining amount of your trip is to be paid in cash USD$ directly to the captain. Occasionally operators will accept payment in Colombian Pesos when departing from Cartagena. This is strictly at the discretion of the captain and not available in all cases.
- You should be sure to have some extra cash USD$ in small bills ($1 or $5) if you choose to buy souvenirs and extra beers in Guna Yala.
- If you are arriving from Colombia you will need to pay for your transport to Panama City in cash. Please read further on regarding the arrival and departure locations.
- A fee of $20 is payable to the Guna Yala Congresso. Also USD$ cash. If you are leaving from Carti or El Porvenir this is payable en-route to the boat when you enter Guna Yala land territory in your transfer from Panama City. If you leave from Portobelo or are arriving from Colombia it will be collected elsewhere when you are on the boat.
The captain will pay all other island fees for the boat entry, anchoring permission, individual island visit fees, Port costs, immigration and agent administration.
What To Expect
It is very important that all customers are aware what to expect on their trip. Please read all the information in the link below.
All trips are primarily aimed at backpacker clientele. Customers are asked to be flexible and tolerant of other guests. It is likely that you will be sharing a relatively small amount of space with strangers during the voyage. If you do not consider yourself a regular backpacker and are not comfortable in a normal hostel situation for example, then maybe the trip is not suited for you.
You will be making an open ocean crossing meaning that for safety reasons fresh water may need to be conserved. Some boats may offer daily showers however many do not.
Solo travellers may be required to share a double bed with another guest if there are not enough couples aboard or too many solo passengers.
Departure & Arrival Locations
Make sure you are clear of where your sailboat voyages starts and ends. Pay particular attention to the transportation costs and directions to and from your departure points as they differ quite significantly.
Departing From Panama
All immigration paperwork is completed by the captain. They will most likely keep all passenger passports until arrival in Cartagena, at which point they will be handed to a shipping agent to complete the entry process at the local immigration office. You will be free to leave the boat and check-in to a hostel/hotel without the need to go to the immigration center yourself. No onward ticket is required for entry to Colombia by sea. Your passports will be returned at a pre-determined time and place, normally the following day.
There are various departure points for boats departing from Panama. Before booking please remember transportation costs to meet the boat are not included. If you are unsure where the boat will be leaving from please email us before booking.
More Info – Departure & Arrival Ports
From San Blas, Carti/El Porvenir
Carti can only be accessed via road from Panama City. There is no public transport to and from the city however 4X4 vehicles can be arranged by most hostels or travel agencies. They will pick you up directly at your hostel with an average journey time of around 2 hours on the morning of departure.
They will leave the city early in the morning and are a shared ride service, so you may be sharing with other passengers from your boat. On arrival small local tenders/pangas will be waiting to transfer you to where your boat will be anchored waiting for you. Be sure to know if your boat will be waiting near Carti or the island of El Porvenir.
Passengers wanting to take advantage of our free night special offer in Portobelo may do so however can only make the journey to Carti from Panama City.
Carti is remote and without any facilities. Customers should be sure to buy anything they need for their voyage and withdraw sufficient cash before leaving Panama City.
Total Cost – $55-$65 including 4×4 transport, Guna Yala entry fee, dock fees and boat transfer.
From Portobelo/Puerto Lindo
Portobelo and Puerto Lindo are small towns on Panama’s ‘Costa Arriba’. Public transport leaves throught the day from Panama City’s Albrook Terminal.
Take the express bus to the city of Colon (every 20 minutes throughout the day). On arrival in the bus station change directly to any bus for ‘Portobelo’ or ‘Costa Arriba’. Any passengers meeting a boat in Puerto Lindo can stay in Portobelo then make their way to Puerto Lindo on the day of departure.
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 as the buses here are often very crowded.
Total Cost – Approximately $7
Departing From Colombia
Your captain is required to hand over all departure paperwork and passports in advance of departure. They will either meet you to collect your passports, or request that you leave them with a hostel or agency where they will be collected later by an agent.
Most departures are from Club Nautico in the Manga district of the city. A short taxi ride from ‘Getsemani’ where most hostels are located. Full details of departure will be given in advance either by email or in person.
San Blas Adventures
If you are looking at booking SAN BLAS ADVENTURES rather than a sailboat trip please download a read in full the FAQ about this service
DOWNLOAD HERE – San Blas Adventures FAQ
Transfers and Cancellations
Refunds of your deposit or a transfer to another vessel will only be issued in the very rare event that a total cancellation of your voyage occurs before departure.
If you decide against travelling it is in your best interests to notify us rather than just not not show up. As a goodwill gesture we will refund 50% of your deposit if WE are able to re-book book your space aboard the vessel.*
*Not applicable if the vacancy is filled by a different booking agency.