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“Amazing Overall Experience in Panama”

Panama Travel Unlimited - Day Tours
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Attraction details
Owner description: Panamatravelunlimited is a tour operator located in Panama City. We specialize in day tours in and around Panama City and to the San Blas islands. Our day tours include; City Tour, Embera village, Portobelo Ruins, Isla Grande, San Lorenzo Fort, La Pintada cigar factory, San Blas and more. We aim to give superior customer service at budget prices.
New York, New York, United States
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Amazing Overall Experience in Panama”
Reviewed March 13, 2012

I recently booked a trip through Panama Travel Unlimited and had a really great experience. I emailed many times with Olga and many other people at their office and everyone was a big help. I was a little bit nervous because everything seemed very laid back and nothing seemed set in stone even right up until our trip. We booked a trip to San Blas and there was a lot of variables that seemed like they would just not fall into place but I was extremely impressed with how smooth the whole trip was. My only complaint was that our driver Miguel was a little late and then decided to make 3 or 4 stops along the way to run personal errands instead of getting us to San Blas.

The prices seem too good to be true but they aren't. We stayed at Kuanidup and they were all very friendly and definitely fed us well. They didn't speak any English but there were guests that could help us in that department and they were patient if you didn't understand.

We also used Panama Travel Unlimited for our airport shuttle. It was slightly more expensive than taking a cab after a little bargaining but if you don't speak spanish and are uncomfortable getting a cab right when you arrive I would definitely recommend the shuttle because it was very easy after a long trip to Panama.

Lastly, we did stay at Hostel Mamallena and had a great experience there also. I had no complaints about the hostel and everyone was very friendly.

Overall, everything was perfect and I would recommend them to anyone looking for a great travel experience.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
Thank Erika W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PTUviajes, Owner at Panama Travel Unlimited - Day Tours, responded to this review, March 16, 2012
We're really glad that you had a great time in San Blas and in Panama. We try to have a relaxed attitude about our work, but still provide a professional service. You did highlight one of the problems of San Blas though. San Blas is basically it's own little country and the kunas restrict who can do business within the borders, and that incldues the transport to and from San Blas. That means that currently we, and no other travel agency in Panama, cam legally have our own vehicles running clients to San Blas. There are actually only 8 vehicles licenced to run tourists to san Blas and we work with what we consider the better ones. Unfortunately, this being Panama and San Blas being San Blas, this doesn't always go smoothly! We do appreciate your understanding though.
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English first
Toronto
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Great, reliable and excellent value for your dollar”
Reviewed February 28, 2012

We just returned from Panama and did a ton of online research before we left.
Given there are plenty of tour operators in Panama, we decided to give Panama Travel Unlimited a shot. We were definitely not disappointed. Jeanes who works in the office was quick to reply and extremely accomodating to our needs. I was a little concerned about the prices being so low compared to others (sometimes you get only what you paid for), but they were bang on. Their vehicles were clean and new and they picked us up on time and allowed us to customize our day tour. We also used them for our airport shuttle to Tocumen (arrival and departure). They worked with us on day trip for the 5 of us to El Valle and Santa Clara beach. Do yourself a favour and request Byron as your driver, he was friendly, knowledgeable and spoke perfect English (this was very helpful after a week of battling through Spanish). In the end, this was a very satisfying experience. We were even able to meet Jeanes as we left Panama (what a sweet gal). Our only regret was we ran out of time to do our day trip to San Blas (maybe next time). Please take our advice and use Panama Travel Unimited services. If you have any specific questions, please let me know.

Visited February 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank clydesowner2003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
Level Contributor
63 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Professional”
Reviewed February 22, 2012

First off, my contact, Olga, timely responded to my numerous pre-trip inquiries for a day trip to San Blas. She was professional and informative. We booked a day trip to see a community, 1 beach island and lunch at another island.

The day before the trip, I received an email stating that the trip we booked was canceled but there was an alternative of visiting 5 beach islands for a higher price. Because we really wanted to see San Blas, we booked the 5 beach island trip.

On the day of the trip, a driver picked us up early. That's when everything became chaotic. 7 people and a driver (and people's gear) were crammed in a car. We had to wait for late people and drove around trying to fit a lot of tourists going on different trips. By the time we got to Kuna Yala territory, it was difficult to figure out what was going on.

Once our guide finally sorted us out, we were off. The guide speaks only Spanish (which we don't mind - it's their country and their language but some English speaking tourists may find that tidbit important). He first took us to a community island where we saw how the Kuna Yalas live. We had breakfast there (not very good) and walked around the neighborhood. Then, we were off to one of the islands. On the way to an island, he took us to a natural sandbar in the middle of the ocean where we got to wade on knee deep water, which was pretty amazing. Then, we went to an island where we hung out for a couple of hours for lunch (fresh but overcooked fish and octopus). The island was beautiful and a great place to relax. After lunch, he took us to dog island, our first and only beach island. Again, a beautiful tiny island. But that was well below the 5 beach island we paid for.

While the islands we went to were beautiful, we paid more for a trip that was supposed to take us to 5 beach islands. We were very unhappy for having to pay the premium.

On top of that, on the way back, the driver tried to drop us off nowhere near our lodging and told us to take a taxi because the traffic was so bad that it would be better for him if we did that. We said absolutely not and he eventually dropped us off where he was supposed to.

Clearly, although the islands were gorgeous and definitely should be visited, our trip was marred by (1) the higher price we had to pay for 5 beach islands we did not see; and (2) the driver's attitude. We immediately contacted Liz to obtain a refund for the difference between what we would have originally paid and the higher price we did pay. Although it was carnival and late at night, Liz immediately responded. She was apologetic and explained that (1) they had no control over the guides because the Kuna Yala run the tours and they are an autonomous group; and (2) the drivers were approved by the Kuna Yalas and Panama Travel Unlimited could only use drivers approved by the Kuna Yala. She also agreed to refund the difference between the price of the original trip and the 5 island trip.

But for Liz's timely and professional response, I would've rated this agency very low. But because they did the right thing, and we ended up paying the original amount (after the refund), I am assured that they really want to take care of their customers and want to provide the best service they could provide within their control.

Helpful?
Thank sazyrock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PTUviajes, Owner at Panama Travel Unlimited - Day Tours, responded to this review, March 16, 2012
Well, I'm glad we managed to save ourselves at least! We do apologise for any inconvenience, and of course we always do what we can to make things right. Of course we try to provide you with the best possible service, but we are limited in what we can do with regards to our service providors. We're not allowed to run our own tours in San Blas and rely on the Kunas themsleves for the actual tours. They tell us what they will do and we book the trips based on that. In this particular case, because it was carnival time, I think they accepted too many reservations from other travel agencies and were overwhelmed. We try to work with the best people in San Blas, and most trips go without a hitch, but being in a developing country these things do happen on occasion.

Thanks again for your understanding and I'm gald you wer left with a reasonable impression of us. But I'm not sure who Liz was, we don't have anyone by that name working for us!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tel Aviv
1 review
“A once in a lifetime experience”
Reviewed January 25, 2012

We were 4 friends traveling to Panama willing to also experience the San Blas. After hesitations and uncetainity we ended up booking the 2 night 3 days option at Yandup. We chose Panama Travel Unlimited to take care of our reservations mainly because of the very open friendly approach of Stuart.
We first chose one option then changed to another. Then came the stage where we were afraid of all the warnings concerning the islands being rustic to the very low standard level.
We were naging almost on daily basis, however, Stuart remained calm and was ready to clarify each misunderstanding and go into details as many times as needed until we felt secured.
Even when a problem came up with the flights that we booked on our own Stuart offerred us to help and sort out the problem.
When we reached Yandup Lodge we more than just appreciated his efforts.
We felt like being in Paradise. All that Stuart mentioned was real.
The people at Yandup were friendly and warm. They were ready to go out of their ways to meet any request we or other guests had.
The food was tasty, freshly prepared for each meal and consist on the 'catch of the day'. The quantity was more than sufficient and as the restaurant was on the water the atmosphere was very pleasant.
The cabins were clean, comfortable, spacious, nicely decorated and were equiped with everything one needed to feel comfortable. In the bathroom we were surprised to even have soap in addition to the clean towels.
The hamok on the balcony was appreciated especially at twighlight and early morning when the feeling of isolation was real.
The tours were superb. In the morning we were taken to see 2 different islands with most beautiful virgin beaches and amazing snorkel opportunities. In the afternoon we learned about the raditions and way of life of the Kuna people. We visited the cemetary on the first day and the community center on the other day.
We would highly recommend to not miss a visit to The San Blas and Yandup Lodge is for sure a place we would like to visit again. However, one must never forget that the Kuna people live their traditional life and whatever is logical and natural for them may look very rustic to modern eyes.
Time has no meaning out there...
Thank you Stuart for your outstanding services and for being sooooooooooo patient with us. You are maybe new in the market but your professional friendly approach makes you old timer in customer services.
Keep up the good work.
When we return to Panama we will definetely contact you again.

Visited November 2011
Helpful?
Thank rachelso
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Exeter, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Unforgettable trip to san blas”
Reviewed January 19, 2012

We did the 4 day trip to san blas and only regret is not having more time. It's the perfect place to relax and snorkel - and not much more. Only tip would be take some pills if you get travel sick as drive and boat there is quite an adventure.

Helpful?
1 Thank hendytravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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