Wild Card & Sovereign Grace, Panama To Colombia
Please carefully read all the details below if you are interested in taking one of our trips from Panama to Colombia on Wild Card or Sovereign Grace. Along with general itinerary and preparation information there are a number of ‘frequently asked questions’.
Booking & Payment
You can book directly with us via this website. A deposit of US$50.00 per person is required which is deducted from the total cost.
The final balance is then to be payed directly to your captain in CASH US$. We cannot accept PayPal or other electronic payment for the final amount.
What is included in the cost?
- Five nights aboard the boat
- Three main meals per day
- One fresh lobster/seafood dinner in Guna Yala
- Drinking water & Ice for your own beverages*
- All standard immigration agent and port authority fees
* Drinking water is supplied however many people who have been travelling are not accustomed to the taste of fresh water stored in tanks. You may want to considering taking your own.
What is not included in the cost?
- Entry costs to Colombia if required (ie Canadian reciprocal fee, please check your status)
- Guna Yala entry taxes – $20.00pp, cash USD only
- Alcoholic drinks, sodas etc
The length of the trip and what islands you will visit will depend on the weather and the anchoring conditions. You will likely visit 3 groups of islands with a total trip duration of about 5 nights before departing in Cartagena.
Some occasions we may need to leave certain areas earlier than planned, or even stay longer. On all trips we will endeavour to spend 3 days within The San Bas Islands, departing for Cartagena in the afternoon or early evening of final night. This part of the trip averages 35 – 40 hours but again can be affected by wind, sea and currents.
DAY 1 – Depart Puerto Lindo, arrive San Blas in the Evening
DAY 2 – San Blas
DAY 3 – San Blas
DAY 4- San Blas, Night at sea
DAY 5 – All day and night at sea
DAY 6 – Finish trip in Cartagena
Transport to Puerto Lindo
Public transport to Puerto Lindo can only be used if you are planning on leaving from Panama City at least the day the day before departure. Please let us know if this is your plan and we will tell you where and when you will need to meet the crew. Do not attempt to leave Panama City on departure morning by public transport. You will certainly miss the passport drop-off time..
Private direct group bus transport will be available from Panama City leaving early in the morning of departure. $25 per person from any downtown hotel/hostel. (There may be a $2 road tax en route as well) They will take you directly to the meeting point in Puerto Lindo. Please let us know if you are interested. Anything additional you may want to bring along for the trip such as alcohol, sodas, snacks etc should be bought in advance. You will board the boat immediately after arrival so please make sure you have everything ready and packed.
Immigration In Panama
This will be completed by the captain in the islands. He will collect your passports at the start of the trip. PLEASE ALSO TAKE WITH YOU A PHOTOCOPY OF YOUR PASSPORT BIO PAGE AND THE PAGE CONTAINING THE ENTRY STAMP ISSUED WHEN YOU ENTERED PANAMA
– You should ensure you separate your luggage into two bags. One small ‘day pack’ for what you will need for the time on the boat and your main bag/backpack which will be stowed away.
– All luggage and items being loaded onto the boat will subject to inspection by local police. INCLUDING DRUG SNIFFER DOGS. ‘Soft’ drugs like Marijuana are illegal in both Panama and Colombia even small amounts for personal use.
– You may want to consider taking sea sickness pills much early on departure day for them to start working in advance. You should not need them while in the islands. Dramamine is recommend. Be sure to buy before leaving Panama City.
Arrival In Cartagena
You will be due to arrive in the morning however you may need to stay on board the boat until all passports have been given to the boats agent and processed by immigration. You will either get them back before leaving the boat or possibly at a pre-arranged meeting later in the afternoon.
It is very rare that there are any issues resulting in a delay however we advise passengers not to make any plans to leave Cartagena without two to three days free at the end of the trip. Poor weather, mechanical issues or administrative problems with port officials or immigration could all potentially cause a change to the planned departure or arrival day. Over the last several years this has affected less than 5% of all departures.
You should separate your belongings for the trip into a smaller bag as your large backpack will be stowed and difficult to reach. Here are some suggestions of what to bring along in your smaller luggage.
- Sun protection
- Swimming costume
- A couple of T-Shirts & shorts, sandals etc
- Spending money $US (small denominations) Plus $20USD for Guna Yala Fee
- Snacks, juices/soda, alcohol
- Light jacket/sweater
San Blas, Guna Yala
Guna Yala is an autonomous territory or ‘comarca’ comprised of approximately 350 islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama. The inhabitants of the San Blas Islands, as they are often called are indigenous people with their own laws, language congresso and distinct culture.
Wild Card has been sailing in the region for almost ten years, running popular backpacker sailing trips to between Colombia and Panama. The boat has a great relationship with the the inhabitants of the islands he visits who always provide a warm welcome when the boats drop anchor.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the sleeping arrangements like?
Both boats have a limited number of small private double cabins. These are normally reserved by couples well in advance. The rest of the berths are made up of single and doubles in shared cabins. There is very limited privacy on a sailboat. If you are not comfortable in a normal hostel dormitory situation then you should consider if the trip is right for you.
If there are not enough couples on board single passengers may be required to share with another passenger. We recommend booking well in advance to secure a standard berth.
You will be travelling in a tropical climate. Fans are provided in sleeping areas however it still might get hot. Hatches may need to be closed for safety reason when the boat is sailing limiting the amount of fresh breeze entering the boat.
What do we do each day?
What ever you want (to an extent!) Beach parties, bonfire, volleyball, interacting with the Kuna, snorkelling, swimming, relaxing and coco locos (rum & coconut) on the beach. We have plenty of snorkel sets and we will take you to some of the islands best spots for marine wildlife and reefs. If you want to go ashore to the beach or village just ask and we will take you across by motorized tender if you don’t want to swim.
Will I have to show immigration an onward ticket on arrival?
No. You should however check if the passport you are travelling on has any special conditions upon entering Colombia (ie Canadians, entry tax)
Will we actually be sailing?
This obviously depends on the wind first and foremost. plus any safety concerns the captain may have. At certain times of year the simply isn’t enough wind, other times it may be blowing in the wrong direction or even too strong. The comfort of all passengers aboard is paramount at all times.
Can we bring our own alcohol?
Yes. You can bring your own alcoholic beverages and we will even provide block ice to keep them cool. For safety reason the Captain may restrict the consumption of alcohol outside on deck while the boat is under way in open seas between the Islands and Cartagena.
Do you take bicycles and motorcycles?
Yes. Both Wild Card and Sovereign Grace have expansive fore-decks, meaning they can comfortably take even the largest bikes. The total price is $1,100 for a motorcycle up to 1000cc or $1,200 if over 1000cc That is generally cheaper than a shared shipping container would cost plus a passenger airfare. Only available from Panama to Colombia
Bicycles go FREE if we have the space to take them.