Booking & Payment
Five nights accommodation onboard
All meals, tea, coffee and water
One fresh lobster/seafood dinner
Standard immigration agent and port authority fees
Entry visa/fees to Colombia (Most people do not require however please check)
Guna Yala Congresso taxes $20USD
Alcoholic drinks, sodas etc
Please be aware that you may find our services advertised online with various agencies. These companies are totally independent booking agencies and have no control over our boats, crew or service in general, which has been around for many years before most of these agencies and other boats. The other services that they may advertise and reviews you may find online about them are in no way related to Wild Card Sailing.
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 – A member of crew will meet you in Puerto Lindo on the morning of departure. Most people arrive by specially arranged group transport (25USD per person) which will take you directly to the meeting point. Passengers arriving independently will be given instructions where and when to meet.
After a trip briefing the captain will collect passports. Everyone will board the boat early afternoon before setting off at around 2pm. The boat should arrive in San Blas during the evening and anchor overnight.
Day 2 – This will be the first full day in San Blas. Remember, because you departed from Puerto Lindo the day before you will already be in the islands when you wake. Many other trips start their first day in the islands which means passengers dont get on board until around 10:00am after arriving from Panama City.
Day 3 – Another full day in San Blas. This time you will head further east towards the outer more secluded islands.
Day 4 – The final day in San Blas before heading towards Cartagena. Coco Bandero is a favourite place to stop on this final day to relax before setting off in the afternoon, beyond the islands
Day 5 – All day and night at sea
Day 6 – You should arrive to Cartagena in the morning or early afternoon. After the immigration formalities have been completed by the captain’s agent you will be taken ashore near Club Natico Marina, a short taxi to the main hostel area.
Getting To Puerto Lindo
Group Transfer $25 Per Person
Private direct group bus transport will be available from Panama City leaving early in the morning of departure from any downtown hotel/hostel.
You will be taken 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.
Public Bus $10
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
The crew will do their best to cook tasty meals for anybody who is Vegetraian/Pescatarian or Vegan, however they will need to know with as much advance notice as possible. Gluten free meals are also possible however options are extremely limited, so you should consider taking some snacks for yourself.
Unfortunately it is simply not possible to prepare separate meals for you if you have a dislike for certain foods. You should also think about taking some snacks in case you do not like what is on offer.
If you have a genuine allergy, such as nuts, lactose products, shellfish or anything else then you should take appropriate measures, we can not guarantee that meals will be free from ingredients or products that may cause a reaction.
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.
Beach parties, bonfire, volleyball, meeting with the local Guna indians, snorkelling, swimming, relaxing and coco locos on the beach are some of the possible activities.
We have plenty of snorkel sets and we will take you to some of the islands best spots for marine wildlife and reefs.
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.
We remind everyone to be sensible regarding the amount they drink. We want everyone to have a good time and try to confine partying and drinking to the boat and uninhabited island areas so there are no negative impacts on the local indigenous communities.
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.
Refunds & Cancellations
CANCELLATION BY PASSENGER
If you need to cancel your trip for any reason you should notify us at the earliest possible opportunity. Refunds of your reservation deposit will only be issued if we are able to replace your space aboard the boat with another full paying passenger. A refund will not be applicable if the space is filled by a third party agency where a commission is required to be paid
CANCELLATION OR DELAY BY OPERATOR
In very rare cases your trip may need to be cancelled or delayed in advance owing to events including but not limited to; mechanical failure, sickness or unavailability of crew, unsafe sailing conditions, local protest/industrial action, government department closure (Immigration or Port Authority)
If your trip is delayed by more than 48hrs before departure you will have the opportunity to cancel your booking with all pre-paid reservation deposits refunded in full. If departure is delayed by less than 48hrs the trip will go ahead with a revised itinerary and finishing date to compensate for the delay. Therefore no refund or compensation will be applicable.
Any delays occurring after the start of trip will be managed by the captain after consulting with all passengers. For example is the trip cannot be completed in full.
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
Preparation Before Leaving Panama City
– Be sure you have all cash ready before departure to pay the final balance
– Make a photocopy of your passport photo page and the page containing the entry stamp issued to you on arrival in Panama. This will be needed for immigration
– 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. The larger luggage should be protected with plastic trash bags
– You should consider taking sea sickness pills much early on departure day for them to start working in advance. Dramamine is recommend. Be sure to buy before leaving Panama City.
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.
- High UVA Sun protection
- Wet wipes to freshen up (fresh water showers may not be possible)
- Photocopy of passport and Panama entry stamp
- 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
Immigration In Colombia
Your captain will call our maritime agent on arrival in Cartagena. He deals with all boat arrival paperwork and immigration. You will likely stay on the boat after arrival whilst the captain meets the agent, who will return later with passports stamped.
Onward travel tickets will not be required.
Remember to check if there are any special conditions entering Colombia for yourself (ie Canadians, entry tax)
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.
Illegal and inappropriate activities
Illegal drugs are not permitted, including marijuana. All passengers and luggage will be searched by police before boarding the boat. If any illegal substances are found, you will be refused passage and no refunds will be issued
You can bring your own alcoholic beverages. For safety reasons the Captain may ask you to restrict the consumption of alcohol in any situation that is deemed unsafe.
If at any time during the trip you feel the actions of another person is unsafe, threatening or inappropriate it should be reported IMMEDIATELY to the captain. This includes actions of fellow passengers, crew and members of the public or other tourists on the islands
We are unable to adress incidents after the trip.
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.
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.