Guna Yala Explorer: Selecting a San Blas Islands Tour

In Beaches, Panama, Tours, Traditional Villages & Markets by Erik @ DIY Travel HQLeave a Comment

Guna Yala Explorer can arrange virtually every way to visit the San Blas Islands in Panama. Find out the key attractions & how much time you need to spend in the archipelago.

San Blas Islands Attractions

There are typically two types of people that visit the San Blas Islands, one the highlights of Panama.

You have those that want to understand the indigenous culture more, & others that want to enjoy the pristine Caribbean water & beaches.

Obviously you can do both, but that will entail staying at least one night on an island in the archipelago.

Visit our post San Blas Islands Day Trip with Guna Yala Explorer for more information about the destinations we visited!

* Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before any trip to Panama. We’ve been using World Nomads for over 10 years – it’s the best-value provider we’ve found & we’ve also never had any issues on the few occasions we’ve had to make a claim.

San Blas Islands Kuna in a Canoe

Even if you are just interested in the Caribbean Islands, you will still see the Kuna around.

Kuna Culture

If your main priority when visiting the San Blas Islands with Guna Yala Explorer are the Kuna & their culture, then you should consider the Cultural Tour day trip ($165).

You can always extend your stay overnight, but the Guna Yala Explorer tour takes you to two community islands & a resort style island for relaxation after a full day learning.

San Blas Community Island Guna Yala Explorer Cultural Tour

A typical hut on a community island with Molas.

You can expect to find out about the traditional clothing that the Kuna women wear, lifestyle, architecture, artwork, & spiritual beliefs.

Your multilingual guide will be happy to answer any questions you may have, or act as a translator so you can communicate with the local residents.

The tour also includes a visit to the Guna Museum where you can see excellent examples of their artwork, Mola.

Guna Yala Souvenir Store & Museum

The Kuna will all have Molas, but a few will have other artwork to view & purchase.

Caribbean Islands

For many people, their initial draw to the San Blas Islands are due to postcard worthy pictures and words of praise from other travelers.

The palm tree lined islands, surrounded by crystal clear Caribbean water, rarely ansappoint. In fact, there is roughly one island for each day of the year for you to explore in the Gulf of San Blas.

San Blas Dog Island Clear Water

The Natural Pools are just under sea level, but the other 363 islands aren’t much higher.

Guna Yala Explorer has selected the best places to visit on a day trip ($135), or for staying overnight.

Although most of the attention is on the beautiful beaches with palm trees providing shade, there are also wonderful reefs surrounding most San Blas Islands. It is also possible to find schools of squid & sardines.

The two islands DIY Travel HQ visited on a day trip with Guna Yala Explorer had soft sand that led down to shallow water to swim & play in.

Icodub Island (Isla Aguja) had a great beach volleyball court for some activity on what could be an otherwise lazy day island.

San Blas Icodub Island Beach Volleyball Court

Soak up some sun & see how good your volleyball skills are on Icodub Island.

We were surprised by how great the snorkeling was on both Icodub Island (Isla Aguja) & Dog Island (Isla Perro).

Icodub Island had some fish and squid near the shore, but there was also a reef that ran further than I felt safe swimming.

There was a healthy mix of both soft & hard corals to view with depth ranging from 1-7 meters.

Icodub Island Snorkeling Hard & Soft Coral

Reefs are just meters from most San Blas Islands! Take advantage of the walk-in snorkeling.

Dog Island is a great place to snorkel due to a sunken gunboat with covered with coral & abound with reef fish.

The ship wreck is in shallow water & you can cover the entire 30 meters in safety since the area is cordoned off.

Another hot spot included on some of the Guna Yala Explorer tours is a visit to a Natural Pool.

This is a great place to spot starfish and enjoy shallow, crystal clear water with a sandy bottom in the middle of the Caribbean!

San Blas Islands Natural Pool

When you wish upon a star…

San Blas Islands Accommodation

Accommodation on the San Blas Islands can differ greatly from one island to the next.

The price levels reflect proximity to the mainland, quantity or lack thereof of day trips, housing quality, & other amenities.

Each San Blas Island includes three meals in their package prices since they are so remote.

Lunch on Icodub Island in San Blas

Yum! Yum! Who doesn’t love fresh from the ocean seafood?

Housing can range from private cabins to dorms to tents, even on the same island.

Quality also varies for each level between each San Blas Island, but expect more primitive structures unless you visit a true resort.

All the San Blas Islands are owned by indigenous Kuna and most structures reflect the traditional construction methods.

Icodub Accomodation Huts & Tents

Icodub has some of the best food & budget accommodation in San Blas.

If you want to get away from it all and unplug from society it is possible when staying overnight on a San Blas Island.

Some islands do get cell phone coverage, but you won’t find Wi-Fi or even 24 hour electricity most places.

The San Blas Islands are a great place to unwind, enjoy beautiful nature, & read a few books that you have been meaning to.

Icodub Island Huts & Hammocks

Make sure you have some books to while away the day.

Guna Yala Explorer details several San Blas Island tour packages on their website. They cover the following islands:

  • Icodub Island (Isla Aguja)
  • Isla Yannsagladub
  • Isla Senidup
  • Isla Diablo
  • Isla Chichime
Accommodation on San Blas Islands

This is one of the pristine islands Guna Yala Explorer regularly frequents.

Top Tip – There are no ATM’s on the San Blas Islands so remember to bring adequate cash for day trips, drinks, and hammock or snorkel gear rental.

Know Before You Go

Location: Guna Yala Explorer runs tours for the San Blas Islands from Panama City

Price: Multi-day tours start at $145 & varies based on accommodation & tour options; Cultural Tour – $165 (minimum 4 people); Beach Hopper Tour – $135 (minimum 2 people)

Included: Transportation to & from Panama City, covered speed boat, meals with a drink, port & island fees, guide during excursions

Extra: Additional excursions not included in an island’s package, $20 entrance fee to Guna Yala, additional drinks, hammock or snorkel rental

Contact Information:

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Guna Yala Explorer can arrange virtually every way to visit the San Blas Islands in Panama. Find out the key attractions & how much time you need to spend in the archipelago. Enjoy beaches, palm trees, seafood, snorkeling, crystal clear Caribbean water, sunken ships, Kuna culture, & more!

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Not recommended DIY travel; take a tour instead

***You can have a very enjoyable day trip with Guna Yala Explorer & see the highlights, but you need to stay overnight if you want to have time to relax on a remote Caribbean island.***

How long sounds like the perfect timeframe for your visit to the San Blas Islands?

* We received a complimentary day trip with Guna Yala Explorer. Thank you to Osiris for hosting us. We only recommend fun, value for money activities & experiences that we believe our readers would enjoy. As always, all opinions are our own.

Visited in February 2017

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