SAN BLAS ISLANDS & THE GUNA INDIANS

3 days / 2 nights

TOUR DESCRIPTION Without a doubt the best preserved of all of the indigenous cultures of the Americas is the Guna. The Guna people are so determined to protect their heritage that they have maintained their autonomy. In Guna Yala, known to the rest of the world as the San Blas Islands, an indigenous independent Congress still rules. Comprised by some 365 islands, less than 60 of them are inhabited. Turquoise waters surround white-sand beaches dotted with palm trees and thatched-roof Guna villages.

PACKAGE PRICE

Oceanfront cabin
US$625 per person + 7% tax (double occupancy) in an ocean-front cabin - minimum 2 passengers - 
Surcharge for a single cabin: US$110 + 7% tax for both nights
Consult us for additional nights.

Cabin over the ocean
US$655 per person + 7% tax (double occupancy) in a cabin over the ocean - minimum 2 passengers -
Surcharge for a single cabin: US$130 + 7% tax for both nights
Consult us for additional nights.

Yandup Lodge requires special cancellation policies due to their limited amount of cabins:
- 25% penalty of total applies for cancellations within 35-30 days prior to check-in
- 10% penalty of total applies for cancellations within 45-36 days prior to check-in
- 5% penalty of total applies for cancellations within 60-46 days prior to check-in

INCLUDED Lodging, meals as specified in the itinerary (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner), all land, air and water transportation within Panama, all airport/hotel transfers on scheduled arrival and departure dates, local guides´services and expenses, park and related entrance fees, services of an in-bound land operator for airline re-confirmations and tour operations.

NOT INCLUDED International airfare, Panama City hotel, meals not specified in the itinerary, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, personal equipment, gratuities and extras in hotels, snorkeling gear (can be rented on-site).

DISCLAIMER Prices and itineraries are correct at the time of printing, however they are subject to change due to tidal/weather or local conditions, availabilities or factors beyond our control.

ITINERARY


Day 1 San Blas Islands & the Guna People

Around 4:30 a.m. this morning you are picked up at the lobby of your hotel and transferred to Albrook Airport. You depart by small plane to San Blas early this morning and arrive at Playon Chico where a representative of Yandup Lodge will meet you.

Yandup Lodge is located about 15 minutes from the airstrip via dugout canoe in the center of the Guna Yala reserve. A thousand meters from the Ukupseni community or Playón Chico and 1.300 meters from the tropical forest and the airport.

Yandup is a paradise island that has its own little beach and is surrounded by coral reefs and calm, crystal clear water. Yandup belongs to a small archipelago, where you can even go swimming from one island to the other, crossing channels of various depths. Owned and operated by a Guna family the accommodations are very basic but comfortable in traditional Guna-style huts with cozy beds, ceiling fan, private bathrooms and a hammock on the front porch. Family-style meals are served in the dining room overlooking the Caribbean.

There is no hot water on the island. Electricity from solar panels is available 24 hours at 110V and small generators provide even larger electricity voltage. After settling in and having breakfast, your daily morning excursion varies between visiting inhabited beautiful islands where you can snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean and relax on the beach or a visit to a nearby waterfall where you might take a refreshing swim after a 45 minutes hike in the dense tropical forest. Here you can observe varied vegetation, including some agricultural forest farms.

Return to the lodge to relax at one of the hammocks before having lunch. In the afternoon you will have more tour options such as more snorkeling, beach time, rainforest walks, sailing around the island in a typical Guna dug-out canoe or sailing in boat through mangroves near the island to an area that seems like a natural swimming pool due to the clear water and the fact that it’s surrounded by islands and coral reefs; visiting neighboring Guna villages with an excellent opportunity to learn about the Guna way of life and their traditional ceremonies, visit a traditional cemetery or arts and crafts market. Visit the communal house of “Sahilas” (Guna chiefs) where decisions in favor of the community are made, advice on all aspects of life is offered and the local laws are enforced. Learn about the construction of the typical Guna house, the economy, the traditional “mola”, and the processing of sugar cane into the local drink.

2 Nights at YANDUP LODGE

(BLD + 1 Bottle of water per meal included. Additional non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages at own expense)

Day 2 Explorations in San Blas

Your daily morning excursion varies between visiting inhabited beautiful islands where you can snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean and relax on the beach or a visit to a nearby waterfall where you might take a refreshing swim after a 45 minutes hike in the dense tropical forest. Here you can observe varied vegetation, including some agricultural forest farms.

Return to the lodge to relax at one of the hammocks before having lunch. In the afternoon you will have more tour options such as more snorkeling, beach time, rainforest walks, sailing around the island in a typical Guna dug-out canoe, visiting neighboring Guna villages with an excellent opportunity to learn about the Guna way of life and their traditional ceremonies, visit a traditional cemetery, arts and crafts market. Visit the communal house of “Sahilas” (Guna chiefs) where decisions in favor of the community are made, advice on all aspects of life is offered and the local laws are enforced. Learn about the construction of the typical Kuna house, the economy, the traditional “mola”, and the processing of sugar cane into the local drink.

Night at YANDUP LODGE

(BLD + 1 Bottle of water per meal included. Additional non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages at own expense)

Day 3 Return to Panama City

Early this morning you have breakfast and then will take the short ride to the airstrip where you board your domestic plane back to Panama City. You will be met and transferred to your hotel upon arrival at around 8:00 a.m.

Due to your early return we recommend verifying up front with your hotel if you can do an early check-in today since regular check-in times are after 3:00 p.m. Another option is to contact us in advance for booking a day tour after your return from San Blas. This way you can enjoy even more of this beautiful country and do not have to worry about early check-in at your hotel in Panama City. (B)

B (Breakfast), L (Lunch), D (Dinner) – meals included

DETAILS


TRIP CLASSIFICATION

  • Very easy walking and hiking, for all ages, flat trails with non-slippery terrain.
  • Island lodge accommodation very rustic in traditional Kuna style, but comfortable, with private bathroom

DEPARTURE DATES

Upon request

TRIP NOTES

Weight restrictions apply to luggage in commercial and chartered flights within Panama:

  • For domestic flights within Panama each passenger is allowed 1 bag of up to 30.8 lbs (14kg)
  • Carry-on luggage is limited to 8.8 lbs passenger (4 kg).
  • Passengers are responsible for excess baggage fees and are subject to approx. US$1.00 per extra pound and only allowed depending on flight occupancy.
  • Name or date changes on flight tickets are subject to a penalty of US$25 plus 7% tax (per change, per route)
  • Ticket cancellations with more than 30 days before your trip are subject to a service fee of US$25 per ticket (taxes included). Within 30 days from your arrival our regular cancellation policies apply.
  • Penalty for no show is 100% of all applicable fares, taxes and surcharges.
  • Surcharge for transportation of a pet or a surf board is US$30 per item per route.

WHAT TO BRING

  • Binoculars (preferably 7x35 or bigger, also available for rent at Ancon Expeditions of Panama)
  • Camera with extra batteries & memory
  • Flashlight with extra bulb & batteries
  • Hat, Day pack / dry sack
  • Water bottle
  • Lightweight/quick dry cotton clothes
  • Rain gear, Windbreaker
  • Bathing suit, Insect repellant, Sunscreen
  • Sandals, sneakers / aqua shoes
  • Money in small denominations
  • Toiletries & personal medications

TIPPING

Ancon Expeditions is Panama’s top eco-tourism operator. Our Natural & Cultural History Guides are the country's finest. Due to frequently asked questions from our clients about suggested guide & staff gratuities, we would like to provide you with the following universal tipping guidelines:

  • Naturalist guide/Tour leader: US$10.00-US$20.00 per person/day
  • Day tour guide: US$10.00 per person/day
  • Transfer driver: US$2.00 per person
  • Tour driver: US$5.00 per person/day
  • Tour boat driver: US$5.00 per person/day
  • Hotel bellman: US$1.00 per person per suitcase

LODGING


YANDUP LODGE

Owned and operated by a Guna family, Yandup Lodge is located in the center of the Guna Yala reserve on a private island at approximately 50 minute flight distance from Panama City and then about 15 minutes via boat from the airstrip Playon Chico to the island. The accommodation is basic but comfortable in traditional Guna-style huts with two or three beds, ceiling fan, private bathrooms and a hammock on the front porch. The lodge has 10 cabins and the sea-breeze provides a good source of room ventilation. Meals including freshly caught seafood are served in the open-air dining room overlooking the Caribbean. Electricity from solar panels is available 24 hours at 110V and small generators provide even larger electricity voltage. Yandup is a paradise island surrounded by coral reefs. It has a little beach with calm and crystal clear water and miles of sand within walking distance.

Yandup Lodge requires special cancellation policies due to their limited amount of cabins:
- 25% penalty of total applies for cancellations within 35-30 days prior to check-in
- 10% penalty of total applies for cancellations within 45-36 days prior to check-in
- 5% penalty of total applies for cancellations within 60-46 days prior to check-in

REVIEWS


"Just wanted to touch base  to thank you and Karina for the wonderful accommodations in San Blas.  We were very pleased with the hotel and beauty of the islands.  The food was delicious and the tours fun and informative.  We will definitely recommend Ancon Expeditions to others visiting Panama."

Gabriela Ames De Gracia (February 2014)

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