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Ways to Experience San Blas Islands
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Reviewed January 5, 2012

We ( 7 of us, 5 adults and 2 young kids) visited Panama in Jan-2012 and were fortunate to spend a couple of days at San Blas, specifically Kwanidup island. San Blas comprises of 378 small islands in the Caribbean. We got to San Blas via SUV and then a boat. Kwanidup has 7 bamboo and thatched-roof cabins with firm beds, a lantern, a platform to place your baggage on, sandy floors and outdoor bathrooms. The kids weren't too sure about sleeping in the "stick houses" with sand floors, but they loved it once they spent a few hours on the island. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is included and since these islands are home to the Kuna Indian Tribe, you must be open to eat whatever they make you for meals. Most meals except breakfast comprised of some fresh seafood served with rice or plaintains. We were concerned at first about the kids, but they liked the food, even my 5yr old that "hates" fish. The local Kuna family that live/run the Kwanidup catch the fish or seafood fresh for the meals. They also had coconuts that they would cut up for you if desired. They have a small bar at Kwanidup. All in all, Kwanidup and San Blas is a must visit if you are open to natural paradise experience, white sandy beach, crystal clear water, hammocks and friendly folks.

Date of experience: January 2012
5  Thank VTNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2012

We booked a 3 nights/4 days sailing trip with Andiamo at the end of December.It was a very average experience becasue of the following points:- if you can spend a little more, go with another tour.
1. respect of time
a) we had to pay deposit the day our departure and we arranged that Mitzy come to pick it up at 8am the morning, all confirmed via email. At 9 am and getting a littel frustrated,... no Mitzy. so we check our emails and she is asking when she can pick it up. so we called her back and she "totally forgot" and we arranged for her to pick it up at night.
b) they tell you you will be picked up around 5:30am...we woke up VERY early and we were picked up at 8am... not happy.

2. Boat in average condition
The boat is not very clean...be prepared it's very rustic. we saw bugs at night crawling in the washroom. the lights on the mast were not working. It needs some TLC and some fixing. Even if the boat was cleaned with bleach, it would still feel drity as it needs repairs, new corking, etc...it's not in good condition.
the snorkeling gear had mold... it was discusting. we had to clean it very well before using it...so we would not get sick from breathing in extremely dirty tubas.

3. Food
Very basic foodyou are expected to cook and clean for others - we ran out of vegetable oil and butter... I'm vegetarian and I ate a lot cheese sandwiches...I am easy going but it was a bit hard at the end. and don't expect lots of seafood/ fish...

4. Overcrowding
If you go, demand that there is no more than 6-8 passengers+ the crew.. we were 9+2 and one passenger had to sleep outside... not OK because he paid the same price. 2 girls had to share a double bed... it was overcrowded. when 3 left the 3rd day (BTW- some paid for 2 nights, some fro 3... so check before... it wasn't clear we coudl do 2 nights!), we were 6 and it was fine.

4. Lazy people- ok not Andiamo's fault there.- but still had to share.
some didn't bring money with them... some borrowed money and never paid back, some didn't bring alcool and drank other people's alcool...some were expecting the others to cook, clean and serve them and were not even thankful. that pissed me off.

The positive
Dino and Fabio are AMAZING! They really did the best with what they had. They had a very positive attitude, we learned a lot from them. Fabio is an amazing cook and Dino gave us the nice treat of visiting his village and meeting his family.

Isla Perro and the Kunas
We had coconut water on Isla Perro and drank Seco with the Kunas. the island is a paradise.- and we were lucky, it only rained at night, the weather was great.

Overall, I would have spent a littel more and picked another tour . But if you are very budget concious, don't mind overcrowding, dont' mind waiting, waiting and waiting , rustic and not so clean environment and basic food you will have to cook yourself... this is for you.

Date of experience: December 2011
1  Thank IsaNorthYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2011

The attractive concept of The Andiamo as well as most favorable opinions on the Web decided me to book in June 11 for my husband and I the pack 4 days/3 nights for the Panama Fiestas Patrias´s bank holidays from November 3rd to 6th, clearly indicating that the dates of the trip were unchangeable. The booking was accepted and I paid in advance 150 USD.

At the end of September, Mitzy of The Andiamo contacted me to ask me to change my trip from November 7th to 10th. She gave several versions for this change: first, the maintenance of the boat until November 6th… Next version was that some days before they had received a booking for a private trip for the same dates I booked.

As I had indicated clearly when booking, I could not change my dates. As there was only a short lapse of time before this November bank holidays, it is very difficult, indeed nearly impossible to find another reservation in Panama for these holidays. So, for lack of professionalism of The Andiamo, our holidays are spoiled.

An incident is comprehensible, but it was not the case. The Andiamo merely preferred not to respect their engagement made in June to accept the latest one.

No matter my advance was paid back; The Andiamo showed no interest in providing an alternative solution.

By doing so, this company doesn´t inspire confidence. Their employees are, apparently, neither serious nor professional, so I absolutely do not recommend their services.

Date of experience: October 2011
2  Thank Leti28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2011

Went to Isla Aguja, San Blas on a last minute whim for an adventure, and it turned out to be a disaster! We drove from Panama City to Carti (if you decide to do this, make sure to rent a 4X4. The road has potholes, is steep and has lots of tight turns). The drive was fine. We got to Carti and negotiated a boat ride ($15 round trip) to nearby Isla Aguja, which is run by Kuna Indians.
Tip #1 - do not go during rainy season. although the island looks like a postcard photo, it's no fun when you are stuck on the island because of a tropical storm.
Tip #2 - get ready for serious roughing it. Accomodations consist of thatched roof huts with sand floors and plastic-covered matresses. There is one light bulb that provides light from 6-10pm because that is when the generator is on. The common toilets & showers are about 50 feet away.
Tip #3 - If you are any kind of finicky eater, pack some provisions. We were served salty mystery seafood stew and stale patacones for dinner.
Tip #4 - Make sure that you get the costs explained upfront. We were told $45 per night including food (there were 2 of us). Upon leaving the next day, that turned in to $45 per person. For $90 per night, this was just a rip off.
Overall, it could have been a better experience if the sun were shining, but it is not a place I would ever recommend anyone to waste their money on.

Date of experience: July 2011
1  Thank BelgaPolska
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2011

I found San Blas Sailling simply googling over internet, and it was a nice discover. People over there were kind and prompt to replay my queries. I was looking for a sailling experience in archipelago of San Blas, and they proposed me a couple of options, the more attractive was from an Italian couple who own the Dream boat (and it was actually a Dream!). Piero, the captain, and Simonetta, the queen of the kitchen, were really friendly and full of nice information on the location and the Kuna people.
Piero and Simonetta sail the archipelago since ten years, then you are pretty sure to touch every nicest spots over there, and indeed I had one of my best vacation experience. The food was simply delicious, in particular fresh fish, as lobster and grouper (the second catched by Piero himself!). Simonetta has a good friendship with local Kuna, therefore you can easily get in touch with them, useful if you seek for some ethnic shopping. A particular bonus for the 'happy hour': a nice 'ti punch, with rum, cane sugar and squeezed lime. The boat is not new, and you should comply with some flaw in comfort, but this a part of the game if you want a real kiss with an (almost) lost nature.

Date of experience: February 2011
Thank Cesare_Riccardo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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