San Blas Islands

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<p>Am hoping someone has a recommendation for the San Blas Islands. Do you recommend a stay at a lodge on one of the islands; or a boat that goes from island to island? Can you recommend a good agent in Panama who can help me book a program? And, how many days might be a good stay?</p> <p>Am hoping to add this after a 11 day land trip to Panama that concentrates on the Canal and the National Parks.</p> <p>Thank you for your assistance! </p>

I lived in Panama years ago. DEFINITELY stay on one of the smaller islands, which may only have four "bohios", each capable of holding four people--and you may be the only visitors to the one family on a small island that you can throw a baseball across. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience! You won't really find a (tourist) boat that goes from island to island. These are really just small islands and in quite pristine state. You'll have to take a small plane from the Panama City commuter airport to get to the airstrip where a small boat from the island you book will pick you up, and get you around for the rest of your San Blas stay.

Ever wonder after all the years of immediate and urgent global warming alarms that they are still running tours to San Blas Islands, or why the Maldives have not yet built concrete sea walls?

Thank you, tjanonymous, for your very helpful response. I've been researching the various Kuna Indian owned lodges and think that is the way to go. I appreciate your taking the time to help me out.

My pleasure. I'm interested in what you decide to do. A workmate is talking about taking a trip to Panama, and perhaps this is something he'd like to do and your current information would be useful. Happy New Year, and Happy Traveling!

Thank you for asking and I do appreciate the advice you gave me when I started the research. I tried to get on a sail trip, but with only one person booking, only smaller (two cabin) boats were available, and I thought they might be too small in the rough winter waters.
I'll be staying at a Kuna-owned lodge. It was arranged by GAPA Travel (www.gapatravel.com), owned and operated by Andre Goetham, a Swiss expat.
These are the prices that he quoted for the San Blas Lodges- In almost all cases they were about $100 cheaper than any other quotes I received
Sapibenega Lodge $675 (two nights) $218 (extra night)
Akwadup Lodge 530 (two nights) 172 (extra night)
Dolpin Lodge 505 (two nights) 158 (extra night)
Kuanidup Lodge 335 (two nights) 85. (extra night)
In all cases, the lodge package includes hotel transfers, air from Panama City, all meals and excursions while on the island.
The other companies I asked for quotes were:
Anacon Expeditions www.anaconexpeditions.com
and
Adventuras Panama www.adventuraspanama.com
I hope this info. is useful to your workmate and feel free to ask any additional questions.

Wow! This brought back memories, which made me seek out old photos of where I went in San Blas. Found it! I stayed at the Dolphin Lodge, although at that time I think they were only referring to themselves as Dolphin Island. Considering that the prices you mentioned included air from Panama City, and the transfers to the island, I don't think any of them are bad deals. So am curious as to which one you choose? I'll share your info with my workmate. Thanks!

Visted the San Blas islands 3 years ago- stayed 2 nights - it was owned and run by Kuna's- in that part of Panama they own all the land and have their own government-
it was a very small island- and we were the only guests- we got to interact with the staff who were kuna and owned it themselves- the snorkeling was a bit disappointing but the tour of their village on another larger island was very interesting and we had a trip to a snorkeling sight but that was disappointing- yes you fly in and are met with staff and taken by boat to your place
very peaceful people

We took a tour to Panama including staying 2 nights on the San Blas Island years ago. The company was Wildland Adventures and it was part of a 10 day tour that was terrific. You can contact them to see if they still offer it.

This has nothing to do with your San Blas question (although I found the back-and-forth postings interesting as I had never heard of the islands).
My intenet for this message is to say thank you for your reply about my Egypt question. I can't wait to check out the resources you so kindly shared! THANK YOU!!!!

AN UPDATE:
The visit to the San Blas Islands (now known as Kuna Yala) turned out to be a very good experience. I stayed at Akwadup Lodge in one of  their 7 over-the-water bungalows on a private island. (www.sanblaslodge.com). GAPA Travel (www.gapatravel.com) based in Panama City put the package together and arranged the transfers from my Panama City hotel to/from the  Albrook (domestic) Airport, the 50 minute flight on Air Panama to Achutupu (the closest airstrip to the lodge), and the four day stay at the lodge on an all-inclusive basis. There are two different tours offered each day including snorkeling, hiking, exploring villages on neighboring islands, a river trip and visiting sites on the mainland. If you go to Kuna Yala, you should take the following with you: flashlight, snacks, reading material and insect repellent. You need to buy bottled water when you get there as water on the islands is not potable. The small planes hold 20 passengers and there is a 25 lb limit for checked luggage and 5 lb. for carry-on. It was a great stay and a good end to two weeks of traveling in Panama.
Thank you to those who helped me on this forum!