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About Cacique Cruiser
CACIQUE CRUISER guided and non-guided packages to experience Panama's premier destinations. We are most popular as a provider of amazing island hopping trips through the gorgeous islands of Guna Yala (formerly known as San Blas). However, we also offer equally stellar trips to explore amazing caves & jungles near Panama's Darien province and a range of customizable beach, surf and island eco tours.
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Cacique Cruiser
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traveltibor wrote a review Jun 2020
Bratislava, Slovakia33 contributions16 helpful votes
If you are in Panama, you must visit San Blas on the Caribbean side. Getting there individually is not difficult, I was looking for a solution, but in the end I chose this operator. Cacique are pros. Really. I was surprised by the accuracy, perfect electronic management, everything was still under control via a smartphone. I was alone with my 10r daughter and it was a perfect experience. Be sure to stay for at least 1 night. And importantly, pack only small things, only slippers, but definitely an ordinary plastic bag, otherwise the backpack will get wet.
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Date of experience: February 2020
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Mike D wrote a review Mar 2020
Orlando, Florida267 contributions62 helpful votes
We’d been traveling through Central America for 6-7 weeks and this was one of the highest attractions on our bucket list which unfortunately turned into a underwhelming flop. Firstly, after visiting and asking around other tourists most of these companies seem to do the same thing which is act as a third party, middle man between guest and native islander. We hardly saw the Cacique logo during our entire trip other than on on the main guides t-shirt. Most importantly I’d like to point out the facilities, safety and transportation.... FACILITIES Taking island life to a new meaning, the toilets were stinky, unsanitary and absolutely gross to use. The showers are literally a pipe with salt water pouring out, you might as well just wash in the sea. OMG, the dorms and private rooms, it’s literally a hut made of sticks. The nets that are suppose to keep away the pests had massive holes in them and the beds are damp. Don’t plan on sleeping much here. SAFETY Day 1, Next to the volley ball court ( less than 3-4 meters away) you’ll find thin clothing wires & strings hanging between coconut trees which are barely visible unless you know they’re there. I ran directly into one at eye height, splitting the side of my eye open and basically ruining my vision for the rest of the trip. These wires are scattered all over the place, be careful night and day. After telling the guide, he merely shrugged off the hazard. Death from above, be deadly careful of the falling coconuts hanging from dozens of palm trees around the island! TRANSPORTATION I read the previous reviews regarding driver safety and on returning to Panama City I completely understand. Dodgy and wreck-less driving at times. One of the biggest let downs was the boats for two reasons. #1 they’re pretty small (maybe 12-15 seats), we were expecting something a little nicer for money we spent. #2 DO NOT RIDE IN THE BACK unless you want a free salty shower. They don’t warn you and if you have your backpack for the entire trip please put it in the dry box at the front of the boat. In summary the San Blas Islands are absolutely stunning with turquoise blue water, palm trees and Instagramable beach heaven BUT that comes with a big sacrifice when it comes to your hygiene. I’ve asked myself if I’ve become too bougie but it appears the feelings we’re mutual with the majority of our group. Where does the $250 go?! San Blas Island 5 🌟 Cacique cruiser 2.5 🌟
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Date of experience: March 2020
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mrumble wrote a review Feb 2020
London, Canada8 contributions10 helpful votes
This review isn't about the tour... It's about the owner and the type of stand up guy he is. My family was having dinner at Nomada when I got notified my San Blas tour for the next day from a different company had been cancelled. Dickey (owner of Cacique Cruiser) overheard me when I was outside complaining that I'd have to cancel my plans and politely introduced himself. He answered all our questions, showed us his website and I booked a trip with him on the spot. He even called the office and made sure they were running their trip and would have room for us. Honestly, he seems like a great guy and was nothing but helpful and not pushy. After booking, we had great communication about details via WhatsApp. Funny ending to the story: we ended up having to cancel for completely different reasons at the last minute. Again, the whole team was understanding and great to work with. Based on this, I have no doubt the culture at this company would be excellent and I would book them again in a heartbeat... In fact, I hope to soon! :)
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Date of experience: February 2020
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Response from staffcc, Owner at Cacique Cruiser
Responded Feb 22, 2020
Thank you so much for this really nice review. I much appreciate it. We hope you make it back to Panama, you will have a great offer from us if you do ;) Happy travels!
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JBG825 wrote a review Feb 2020
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada29 contributions41 helpful votes
First and foremost, the San Blas Islands are remote and beautiful. I do recommend that you see them (and it is my understanding that there are only a few companies that offer tours given the remoteness and need to cross into indigenous territory). Second, please note that it is a very long (2-3 hours each way), roller coaster drive through the mountains and then a 1 hour boat ride each way, meaning up to 8 hours commuting for about 4 hours of island hopping. This is very trying and causes car sickness for many, but the drivers are skilled, the terrain is gorgeous and the difficulty of this trek is well advertised, so I can’t say I wasn’t warned. This con is not considered in my 3/5 review given I knew this going in. It was a fun experience, but here are my complaints: 1. It is not that well organized: for example, after the 3 hour drive (driver spoke no English), we arrived at the port and had no idea who we were looking for. The driver did not point us to anyone and there was no Carique Cruiser logos or shirts anywhere. There may have been 1 person who spoke broken English, but otherwise only Spanish speakers. Eventually, someone found us by name and directed us to a boat. If I remember correctly, they actually had a DIFFERENT tour company shirt on. The same thing happened on the way back. We also met some very nice people on the way there (same exact tour) and for some reason, we weren’t allowed to be on the same boat as them. Made no sense. 2. Time wasted: we were then taken to an overnight island and told to just wait around for 15-20 minutes as they dropped off other guests. This may not seem like much, but after 4 hours of driving and boating, 20 minutes is over 8% of the entire time we had on the islands, not to mention the extra boating. 3. Not exactly as advertised: we were told there would be an English guide, but there was no guide. There were Spanish speaking boat operators only. Also told there would be water, but none was available until over 5 hours in. The lack of communication also meant that my bag got soaked in the boat because nobody told us there was a covered area for bags in the front of the boat. Similarly, I asked the night before if we needed to separate the Kuna tax out from the remaining owing for the tour and they said no. But then when we arrived, we were asked for $20 separately. If I had brought 100$s or $50s this may have been an issue. 4. It is now fairly touristy: while it was beautiful, it did not feel like a deserted island on account of the 10-20 people on each island (not the tour operators fault). 5. It is not for those with limited mobility as it is quite difficult to get in and out of the boat and there was nobody there offering any help. This wasn’t really an issue for me, though. Despite this, I still recommend the tour, just given the natural beauty, but there could be a lot of improvement.
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Stefani M wrote a review Jan 2020
3 contributions1 helpful vote
We did an overnight in an island. Very nice accommodations. Our meals were amazing!!! The islands are beautiful. The tour guides provided lots of history and information to us. We had Mel and Eddie as our tour guides and they were so cool! Very accommodating and very nice people. A trip we will never forget.
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