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“Memorable Experience” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of PBA Holding Group Private Tours

PBA Holding Group Private Tours
Ranked #7 of 152 Tours in Panama City
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Founded in 2002, PBA Holding Group is based in PANAMA. Little by little, & throughout these last few years, PBA's Tour Services have engrained their niche in Panama's tourism market. Dependable, readily-accessible & a solid track record, are qualities that have truly allowed us the honor of being called upon by world re-known hotel franchises in Panama in order for us to provide tours to their Guests. We value & cherish this opportunity (& we don't take it for granted!), & we would hope to have the opportunity of also serving your tour needs while in Panama.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Memorable Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 1, 2014

I went to San Blas today with PBA tours and had an awesome time. While the company was recommended to me, I was still skeptical given how pricey the tour was. I can honestly say that it was worth the experience. PBA came to the hotel to pick us up on time and our guide Dario was amazing. He treated my mom and me like we were family! The drive to San Blas was like a roller coaster given the hilly paths but Dario did everything in his power to make us comfortable! Once we saw the beautiful islands, we forgot about the drive there. The beaches were simply amazing. My family is Jamaican and we are used to Caribbean beaches. The San Blas beaches were just as beautiful! What makes the place really unique is the number of islands! If you are in Panama and want a great beach experience, visit San Blas with PBA tours. They'll make your experience really special! Be sure to ask for Dario!

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
Thank Nikki M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Cleveland, Ohio
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“The magical tour groups”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 31, 2014

This travel group was amazing. Although only in Panama for 3 days, we made the most with very well planned travels. San Blas was our last day and we were well informed of the rough drive and the guides were very good at checking on us to make sure we were okay. I felt very safe and well taken care of. We were welcomed with open arms, the waters were so beautiful and the guides really made it fun. Our guides would take us to amazing spots like a sand bar full of starfish. We truly got to see the most of San Blas while we were boating and with the time we had. We were helped off and on boats, and I truly felt like we were cared about. This was a school trip so we were given extensive knowledge about the place and the food was incredible. Nothing can beat fresh island fruit. It was the most gorgeous day and I have never been to such a beautiful place in my life. The energy of the guides was amazing and they seemed to really love what they do and it showed. I think without this group, we would not have had as good of an experience than what we had.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Meggles M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hiram, Ohio
1 review
“Excellent Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 31, 2014

We had an amazing time, and it is all thanks to Omar and the other guides! There isn't a singe thing I would change about the experiences we had. The trip to the San Blas Islands was unforgettable, and I would highly recommend going with PBA Holding Group.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank HCstudent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CT
Level Contributor
25 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“If it's San Blas, it must be PBA!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 31, 2014

I know I'm being repetitive by praising PBA and Omar so highly - but it's true. They are extrememly reliable, knowlegeable, pleasant and accommodating. And we were most fortunate to have Gus as our driver/guide to San Blas, who anticipated and catered to our every need. Yes, it is an expensive day trip, but it's easy to understand why. I won't detail our trip experience, as it is similar to the many other descriptions on this site, but our only disappointment was the morning weather, over which PBA obviously has no control. (We didn't want to swim with the clouds and wind, and the morning boat rides were choppy. We've since learned that other times of the year may be better for a San Blas visit, although not Panama in general. And when the sun came out in the afternoon, it was pure paradise.) I would definitely use PBA Holding for San Blas or other tours in Panama!

Visited March 2014
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1 Thank martas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Great Trip to San Blas, but Expensive”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 25, 2014

We decided to splurge on the day trip to San Blas with PBA since the reviews were so stellar. I am convinced that this is the probably the most luxurious way to visit San Blas. We were picked up early in the morning in our own private, brand new 4WD vehicle and promptly were on our way to the port.

Unfortunately it was cloudy on the day we went, so there wasn't a lot of sun and it was actually a little cold. We had a rest stop on the first island then visited "One Palm Tree" Island and the Sand Bar with Starfish (we only saw one), both of which were underwhelming. We then went to Dog Island and snorkeled the sunken ship which made up for the first two stops - amazing fish and snorkeling. We spotted a giant spider crab hiding in the ship and a school of very cute cuttlefish, in addition to the myriads of colorful tropical fish. We then returned back to the rest stop island to have lunch and relax.

A few things to note:
- I was under the impression that the tour would be private, and we did have our own personal guide assigned to us. However, we shared the motor boat rides to and from the islands with another couple (who also had their own guide) and had lunch together. While this was fine, just note that it may not be an entirely private tour.

- The boat rides were longer than I had expected - we probably spent close to 2 hours of the day on the boats. The waves were very choppy that day, so the rides took longer, but still something to note.

- Dario, our guide, did everything for us to make sure we were comfortable. He offered to carry our bags, bring us drinks at every opportunity, and was our personal photographer for the day. It was awesome not to think about how to get from island to island or which boat to get on at the dock, since Dario and co. had already handled everything. Also, I was amazed that he had energy to drive 2 hours on the windy roads from the port back to Panama City after a very long and tiring day. Thank you Dario!

- Lunch was delicious - rice, fries, mixed seafood curry with generous helpings of pulpo, fish, vegetables. The rest stop island had a very comfortable beach side restaurant.

Ultimately, I was a little underwhelmed by San Blas - maybe because it was a cloudy day, our expectations were too high, or maybe because it felt like we had spent more time on the car and on the boat than on the islands. Also note that unless you personally seek out the Guna people, there is generally very little interaction with them on this tour. I'm glad we picked the day trip instead of staying overnight because the facilities on some of the islands were definitely lacking (on Dog Island, there was no running water and the toilets didn't flush). Worth visiting, but still not sure if the value was there for how much we paid.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
6 Thank NeoKT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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