IMPORTANT SAN BLAS DISCLAIMER - PLEASE READ! While San Blas is a beautiful island archipelago with stunning beaches and clear waters, it also has its downsides, for which we would like to make you aware off. In San Blas only the Kuna population is allowed to work in the territory. The services and infrastructure are not what most of us are used to. Kunas are not very service oriented and can often seem shy or reserved. A stay in San Blas can be compared to a camping vacation that offers minimal comfort, services and amenities. We strongly advise those who have 5 star expectations to think twice before embarking on this adventure. We do have alternative tours in Panama with more high-end services. We really care about our reputation and we want our guests to enjoy their vacation with us. We attempt to be as transparent as possible in order to set guest expectations from the start. We do not own any of the islands and we pride ourselves in providing excellent service during your booking process and attempting to assist you during your San Blas vacation. However, please remember that we cannot guarantee the same excellent service during your stay in San Blas. Please read all the below information well! San Blas is very rustic without the amenities and standards you might be used to from home. Compared to places such as Tahiti and Maldives that are managed by international hotel chains, San Blas has remained autonomous without the influence of outsiders. When visiting San Blas, it should be viewed as a cultural experience where guests live with the Kunas and respect their traditions and their primitive ways of living. No air condition - None of the islands offer A/C, some cabins don’t have fans either. No Wifi - You can buy a prepaid SIM card (Tigo or Digicel), which may or may not have signal. No luxury facilities - Bathrooms may be dirty, sinks may get clogged, sheets may be old Electricity is only available between 6:00pm and 6:00am. Cabins don’t have outlets. Electric devices can be charged in the restaurant. Water is a precious commodity in San Blas. It is either brought in by boat or pumped from the island well, which may have a significant salt content. Oftentimes pumps can malfunction and cause water outages. Beds and mattresses can be uncomfortable and sheets are old and worn. What seems like trash and clutter around the local huts, are items and tools that Kunas re-use for their daily lives. Please respect the fact that you will spend your time living alongside the Kunas who have different traditions and values. All services will all be handled by the indigenous Kuna. While we strive to provide the best service possible and train the Kuna in customer management, some of the below services are often out of our control. Car transportation - the ride to San Blas takes 2.5 to 3 hours, with 1.5 hours over slow, curvy roads with potholes. For those with motion sickness, please prepare accordingly. The transportation is in a shared 4x4 SUV, with one seat up front, three seats in the middle row and 2 seats in the back row. Seats are assigned randomly. Those who require additional space in the car must purchase an extra seat. Pick up from your lodging is scheduled between 5:00am and 5:30am, but can sometimes be as late as 5:45am depending on the timeliness of other guests that we pick up. Out of respect for all others in the car we ask everyone to wait in the lobby of their building at 5:00am. If you are not at the designated meeting point, the driver will make an effort to locate you, but he cannot delay the transportation by more than 10 minutes. No refunds are awarded to guests who don’t show up on time. Boat transportation - depending on weather and ocean conditions, the 20-40 minute boat ride might be bumpy and wet with ocean spray. Luggage is stored in the front of the boat and covered with tarps. Island cabin management - cabins are very rustic and facilities, such as showers and bathrooms are often “home-made” with PVC pipes. Some guests have complained that sheets are old. Please bring your own if you require fresh smelling sheets. Island kitchen - meal plans are repetitive and food might taste bland, without the use of spices. Additional food, drinks and snacks can be purchased on the way to San Blas. The driver will stop at a grocery store. Most Kunas DO NOT speak English. Please attempt to resolve any cabin related issues and requests directly with the island management. Trash is a worldwide problem and unfortunately San Blas has not been spared from the ever increasing issue. During certain tides and ocean and wind conditions plastic trash from throughout the Caribbean ocean accumulates on the beaches of San Blas. While the local Kuna are working hard to collect the constant flood of plastic trash washing up on their beaches, guests will nevertheless find evidence of plastic spread out on the island. Furthermore, Kunas tend to collect certain “trash” and re-use it for their purposes. For instance, a collection of empty gas canisters has been re-used to create a Christmas tree. During the wet months (April - December) or during windless days, all of San Blas experiences sandflies, which are little blood-sucking flies that leave itchy marks. Please ensure to bring insect repellent and prepare to return to Panama City with a few itchy memories. Some islands, such as Isla Wailidup tend to have more than others. Weather: Panama is located in the Intertropical Convergence Zone, which means that the weather is very unpredictable and is impossible to forecast with accuracy. The weather forecast will usually show rain and thunderstorms for most days of the year, when in reality there are oftentimes beautiful, sunny days in San Blas. Please do not rely on the weather forecast in Panama. Due to the tropical conditions in San Blas rain can occur at any time and we do not offer refunds for rainy days. Guests who stay in cabins and would like to return earlier than their scheduled departure date must notify our reservation team one day before by 5:00pm via WhatsApp found on your ticket, in order for us to arrange your return transfer. No refunds apply for early departures. Due to the complexity of the logistics involved with each reservation in San Blas (arranging cars, boats, tours, cabins and meals), we kindly ask our guests to adhere to the itinerary schedule sent to them in advance of their trip to San Blas. For any changes in schedule, you must first contact our office at least one day before by 5:00pm and we will attempt to accommodate your request. Travel Emergencies: The San Blas islands are located in a very remote region of Panama. We ask all guests to be responsible for their own well being and to be aware that medical assistance can often not be provided right away. The closest medical facility in San Blas is very basic and can only provide assistance for minor issues. Guests with injuries such as broken bones that require more specialized treatment need to be transported to Panama City. Guests are responsible for all charges arising from a medical emergency, such as boat and car transportation and medical care. We suggest all guests to carry a Travel Insurance to cover emergency expenses. For more information, please check your ticket for the travel insurance link. We kindly ask our guests to lower their expectation when visiting San Blas and to focus on the beautiful remote paradise that San Blas has remained despite the effects that modern society has caused to them. The Kunas are very gentle and kind people, but can also be somewhat shy at times. When approaching them with a smile and an open heart you will be guaranteed an innocent, happy smile in return. Arriving with the right mindset and expectation usually guarantees an unforgettable experience, where guests are able to focus on the beauties of the islands, beaches, ocean and the people, rather than on the limitations that we mentioned above.