Sailing in Panama: The Islands Of Dreams

The latest instalment from Hannah’s adventures through the Americas is here! In this post, she continues to make us envious of the incredible experiences this region has to offer its guests, reliving her time of Sailing from Colombia to the tropical islands of Panama. – Ash.


Remember when you were a kid and you used to scribble pictures of deserted islands, dreaming of one day exploring such places? Maybe you still do it now while sitting in your office, dreaming of your next vacation?

Well, that same picture that you drew of white sandy beaches, clear blue water and palm trees filled with coconuts actually exist!

Sailing in Panama

I’m talking about the five days I spent sailing from Colombia to Panama through the incredible San Blas Islands. An experience I would do again in a heartbeat.

It’s a shame that more people are catching on to this great adventure because a couple of years ago, you would have only paid half of what you do now however, $550 is still great value for this experience of a lifetime.

Sailing in Panama

I started in Cartagena, Colombia, a town with a notorious history of pirate activity and attempted invasions by both European and American forces in its colonial era. It has a real mystery about it that has your mind imagining what it was like during this era.

It was here in Cartagena that I boarded a catamaran named “The Jacqueline”, owned by an Austrian by the name of Fritz and captained by a lovely French-Vietnamese man. Unfortunately just 15 minutes after we left shore, we lost our captain! A heated argument with Fritz lead to the Captain making a rather quick and rowdy exit at the last dock before the open sea. After wondering if it was all a joke, my fellow passengers and I quickly realised it was now Captain Fritz leading our journey. All went well though, he fed us like kings and told us both hilarious and frightening stories of life on the Caribbean.

Sailing in Panama

The first two days are not even worth a mention.

30 hours of sailing the open seas to get to the islands had me vertical the whole time. I became well acquainted with the roof of the boat and the ice bucket.

If you a plan on doing this trip, just be prepared to suffer slightly because not even sea sick tablets can prepare you for the washing machine experience.

Sailing in Panama

Sailing in Panama

We finally made it to the San Blas and the previous 30 hours of pain soon left as we sat watching in awe of what we were sailing towards.

The San Blas is made up of over 300 islands and cays, 49 of which are actually inhabited by the Kuna people. Officially part of Panama, the Kuna Indians prefer to be a separate people and don’t consider themselves a part of the main land at all.

During our three days amongst the islands we did plenty of snorkelling, sunning and exploring. Most of the time the only to an island was to swim there, but sometimes we were able to take a smaller boat to the bigger islands and mingle with the local Indian people.

Sailing in Panama

All the food was included in the price and seeing as Fritz was a chef in his past life, we had a very fine dine experience. Fresh fish, lobster, roasts and an endless supply of fruit kept us very happy and stocked up for our daily adventures.

This was one of the most memorable parts of my time here. You can’t help but make great friends with the other travellers on your boat, making great memories to last a lifetime. I highly recommend the trip and know that I will be back. My only regret is that I didn’t stay longer.


Hannah Watkins in BoliviaAbout Hannah: Hannah has spent the last seven years living, working and studying in Sydney, Australia where she worked professionally in the corporate event industry. She is a recent full-time traveller deciding to quit the rat race and explore the world. She hopes to inspire people to live their dreams as she lives out her on. Only new to the writing game she hopes to captivate people with the lessons learnt and the stories gained from the travellers road. You can read more about her travels and experiences on the road on her personal blog “Blue Marble Adventures”


Have you ever travelled by means of sailing? What were your experiences of it? Let us know in the comments below…


12 thoughts on “Sailing in Panama: The Islands Of Dreams

    • Oh no! I couldn’t imagine it like that at all. So sorry that was your experience. You will just have to go back again :) H

    • Thanks for checking it out Ian. Colombia is bliss and I will be going back for sure to finish it off. Will defiantly hit you up for tips when I venture to Asia. Thanks again. H

  1. Loved my time in Colombia, only robbed the once, of dos pesos, and I wouldn’t be surprised that the robber ended up in a ditch somewhere, as one of the bar owners took umbrage at a gringo being robbed near the bar area. Came screaming up at the young bloke, who shit himself and wanted to hand me back the money, but I told the screamer that is was solo dos pesos, es okay. Don’t mess with bar owners and the like.
    Cartagena is one of my favourite cities in the whole world.
    Your trip sounds wonderful, except for the mal de mer, of which I suffer greatly, and sailing on a twin hulled sailing vessel would not make for easy sailing.

  2. Pingback: Backpacking & Travel advice for Ometepe Island, Nicaragua.

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