Charter a superyacht in the San Blas Islands
by Captain Clive Willenbrock
Captain Clive Willenbrock has over 18 years experience as a professional in the yachting industry, Clive has travelled all over the globe as captain on yachts up to 67-metres so far, accumulating extensive charter experience and a large amount of locational knowledge. Here, he offers his exclusive Panama transit itinerary, which he completed on the 54.30m motor yacht Spirit.
DAY 1/2: Panama transit
Join your yacht on the West side of the canal at Isla Famenco. About an hours drive from the airport. Your superyacht will be anchored off the marina and would need to take a Panama pilot for the passage.
Once through the canal, the choices are stop at the Shelter bay marina on the East side, or continue on to San Blas, some 65 Nm cruise.
DAY 3: Isla Porvenir
This island has a Kuna Indian-operated office where both immigration and cruising permits are handled. There is no village, just a small hotel and restaurant. There is a small airport here also. (Carti airport Corazon de Jesus). Here, is a nice spot to go for a walk or play with some of the toys available on the yacht.
DAY 4: Coco Banderas Cays
Uninhabited and said to be the most beautiful Cays in San Blas. With white beaches, towering palm trees and crystal clear waters. Snorkeling, canoeing and snorkelling is excellent here. Snappers and groupers will often approach swimmers here. Take the tender to explore the Easternmost of the islands, too shallow for for your yacht.
DAY 5/6: Holandes Cays
A group of 21 mostly uninhabited islands, behind a 7-mile barrier reef. These are the furthest islands from the mainland and therefore have very clean, clear water.
WESTERN HOLANDES CAYS.
Exceptional snorkeling and fishing, good to explore with the tender.
SWIMMING POOL ANCHORAGE. Between BBQ island and Benedup. Probably the most popular anchorage in the whole of San Blas. Great spot for a beach BBQ.
North of the island, there is a tunnel that leads underneath the whole reef and comes out on the other side. It’s an interesting exploration but can be tricky to find.
DAY 7: Dog Island
Two brothers look after this island and charge US$1 to visit. There is the wreck of a cargo ship that sunk in 1950, it lies in around 5 to 6 metres of water, it is an excellent spot to dive. The captain is said to have beached the ship to save the cargo as the ship sprang a leak and started to sink. The Kuna have more colorful stories about it. You can go for a canoe trip in an original dug out canoe here and enjoy the colorful flora and fauna.
Day 8: Carti
Visit the small museum where the curator will give a talk on the culture and lives of the Kuna. Visit the local school and watch some local dancing. There may be a traditional local festival and you can buy or exchange gifts.
Back to Panama to the airport. (E side)