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“Wonderful island, poor service booking agency”
Review of Kuanidup

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Kuanidup
Certificate of Excellence
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Wonderful island, poor service booking agency”
Reviewed January 14, 2013

In january 2013 we stayed two nights on Kuanidup, San Blas Island. It's the best place to be and the most beautiful beach I've ever seen. Just white sand, blue water, palm trees and coconuts. There's nothing much you can do, but relax in a hang mat or stay on the beach. The food is OK (basic) and the Kuna people (Indians) were friendly and helpful to us.

Unfortunately we booked this trip at La Estancia / Panoramic Panama. We payed almost 500 USD for two nights and everything should be included. In stead of three excursions we just got one. This was also due of the very unorganized and chaotic transportation of Lam Tours. The first day we arrived so late that we missed our first excursion. We also had to pay more for transportation because it was high season. So the excursions and prizes we agreed were changed at the last moment. We didn't have much options: pay more or stay in Panama City.

You also should be aware of there's no communication between the people on the island and the people at the booking agency. We ordered chicken because we don't eat seafood, but there wasn't chicken.

When we came back in Panama City we explained our disappointment but they were not very helpful.

I recommend you to visit San Blas because it must be one of the best places in the world, but don't book it at La Estancia or Lam Tours.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Harmenjong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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97 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
55 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed January 13, 2013

Gorgeous place. Our huts were comfortable.The beds and pillows were comfy. Some additions since last reviewer - all huts have a solar light inside, the shower/toilet/sink bathrooms are scrubbed clean daily (shower economically - they haul fresh water from island to island to use to bathe), the photo showing the meal of rice, seafood stew, salad and banana is accurate. Bring fresh fruit, wine or other sweets or snacks to augment the limited menu - especially if you have children - seafood is the mainstay of every meal. Everyone eats the same things at all mealtimes.Excursions will happen the day they say, but they are dependent upon the tides, use of the boat, wind or weather, so there's no use trying to discover 'when' you are going, or to plan your excursion time. Just be ready. They'll blow a whistle and you go out and get into the boat right away! Very laid back. All you do is eat, sleep, read, lounge in the hammocks, swim, take pictures, or go on an excursion. Don't miss lights out and looking up at the sky for a view of the stars you don't usually see, or, bring a sleeping bag and sleep right under them. It's rustic, and it's meant to be. It's the most beautiful beach in San Blas. Enjoy!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank PanamaElizabeth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Penonome, Panama
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed January 8, 2013

Best experience ever! looking for exactly that. We really wanted to stay 3 days but tranport wasn't able to get us back in a holiday- but didn't gave us the possibility to get different transport, that was the only bummer. Two wonderful days very well spent. would be nice to get in touch with the friends we knew there!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Adriana040
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta
Level Contributor
20 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed August 25, 2012

We spent one night at Kuanidup after spending a few nights on a charter sailboat exploring the San Blas. First, the good points. The island itself was incredibly beautiful, in fact it was the most picturesque of all the San Blas islands we saw during our trip. There were plenty of hammocks spread around the island making for perfect spots to relax with a book. The food was pretty good, though I can imagine it would get repetitive if you stayed for several days. One guest who had been there for a week complained about a lack of variety and all the rice at every meal. Now, on to the accommodations. The huts were definitely basic. Sand floor, thin mattress and pillow. One of the pillows in our hut was moldy. There were lots of bugs but my bug spray worked well so it wasn't too much of an issue. The shared bathroom/shower facilities were kind of gross but not a big deal for just a one night stay. I think it would have bothered me more if I'd been there longer. The only power on the island is via generator and goes off completely at night so it's a good idea to bring a small flashlight for any late night trips to the bathroom. We didn't do any of the excursions since we'd already been around the islands for a few days before we arrived but it was nice when the other guests left for an excursion since we pretty much had the whole island to ourselves. There were only 6-8 other guests on the island while we were there so even when everyone was there it still felt like you had your own island. The one day we were there the weather was absolutely perfect so we really enjoyed just laying around in hammocks all day with a book and a cold beer. Complete relaxation. However, I'm not sure what we would have done if it had rained. Spending the day in the primitive hut wasn't really an option. Though I'm definitely more partial to lodging with more creature comforts, I appreciated Kuanidup for what it was - a strikingly beautiful island in one of the most unique communities I've ever visited. Visiting the San Blas islands is an adventure from start to finish and though I really enjoyed the sailing trip, a stay at Kuanidup was an integral part of the experience.

Room Tip: I got the impression all the huts were pretty much the same.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank RTWin30days
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Turin, Italy
Level Contributor
39 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed August 18, 2012 via mobile

We stayed 4 nights in this amazing island and the general feedback is good, especially if we consider the peaceful environment and the relax you can get.
Anyway for 75 euro (this is the standard price but fortunately we got a discount in the end) the Kuna could give you little more... The food is quite poor unless you are lucky and get lobster... Bungalows are really basic and the beds are really bad...
You need to get to know Kuna culture first and then everything will be more understandable.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mat79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 30, 2012

Rustic but clean and beautiful, excellent food (kunas cook very well), very economic. Good service. You can swim/snorkel from Kunidup to the nearest desert island, which is very nice. We went during the low-season so we were maximum 9 people in the hotel during our stay and that was incredible. I was just a bit disappointed by the tours they proposed (very short and mainstream)--> we only went to the most touristic islands. However, the last day of our stay, the boat drivers took me and my boyfriend to a magnifiscent island, only inhabited by a family. We loved it!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ravilou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
111 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
Reviewed July 17, 2012

Tiny and very rustic but one of the best tropical islands I have ever been on. The sand was lovely and white and the sea was clear and blue. The huts are basic but dry and have beds which were more comfy than I had expected. The shower was not very appealing but it didn't matter as for just 2-3 day, bathing in the sea does just fine.

The meals served three times a day were better and more plentiful than I had expected. As a vegetarian I had expected to struggle but I need not have worried, they catered for me really well and I was never hungry.

Miguel and the other Kuna guys on the island were really lovely and sweet - I felt really safe there even when I ended up being the only visitor on the island for a day and a night.

I booked my trip through my B&B in Panama city which was called La Estancia and can assist with a number of different trips from the city.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
4 Thank JoannaTUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kuanidup

Property: Kuanidup
Address: Rio Sidra, San Blas, Panama
Location: Panama > Guna Yala Region > San Blas Islands
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in San Blas Islands
Number of rooms: 10
Also Known As:
Kuanidup Hotel San Blas Islands

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