Where to stay in San Blas – Our recommendations and how to choose the best accommodation

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Elia Tabuenca García
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Not sure where to stay in San Blas? The rustic island has options from cabins, hotels and even sailboats in the balance of the Caribbean sea. Check out the options that best suit your profile here.

Finding where to stay in San Blas can seem quite complicated, as the place has a large number of islands and has a very rustic look. That's why we've created this guide to simplify this choice for you and also give you some suggestions for worthwhile locations.

The San Blas Archipelago is a destination for those who want to enjoy immersion in nature, beaches and local culture. It's a unique experience – and it's not a destination for everyone. But how so? Calm down, we'll explain.

San Blas is a group of islands that retain their original characteristics, and are cared for by the Kuna Yala Indians. Therefore, we have already said that it is not a good place for those who prioritize the services of five-star hotels, rooms with whirlpool baths and certain pampering — or even less.

The islands of the San Blas archipelago are REALLY rustic! There you will find a perfect retreat from the urban world, and an incredible opportunity to experience nature intensely. Be open-minded and open-hearted to discover and be enchanted by one of the most beautiful beach destinations in the world. Want to know more?

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  • How to choose where to stay
  • Accommodation in cabins
  • Indication of Hotels and Lodges
  • Boat Accommodation Option
  • Honeymoon in San Blas
  • Dicas of San Blas

San Blas is made up of more than 300 islands – Photo: Arden via Flickr

How to choose where to stay in San Blas

With over 365 islands, knowing where to stay in San Blas can be a daunting task. There are few islands actually inhabited by the Kunas Indians, and even fewer offering accommodation services.

The archipelago is an indigenous region of the Kuna Yala — or Guna Yala. They are the only ones who can invest and profit from the region, whether with transport or accommodation for visitors. Therefore, there are no large resort chains or hotels installed there.

Among the many island options, some stand out as suggestions for where to stay in San Blas – each with its differences:

  • Dog Island
  • Chichimè (or Weindup)
  • Aguja Island
  • Guanidup (Kuanidup)
  • Devil Island
  • Iguana (Aridup)
  • Isla Franklin
  • White Coconut and
  • Star Island

The most common lodging for those going to San Blas are the cabins. Hotels and lodges are also available and may provide more comfort, but they are in smaller numbers. Another option is to sleep on boats or sailboats, or even take your own camping gear.

#Tip: Before closing your reservation, take into account some important points such as the proximity to the mainland or other islands, if “your island” has beautiful beaches, or if you will have to take boats every day to enjoy the best of San Blas.

There are islands of different sizes, with huts like this – Photo: Mark Veraart via Flickr

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The islands in San Blas

Each island in the San Blas archipelago has its particularities. To know which one best fits the type of trip you are expecting, it is good to pay attention to the characteristics of each one.

There are those more rustic, where the native experience is very strong, and others with a little more structure, which are already used to receiving tourists – but still, nothing luxurious.

For those looking for something a little more tidy, Aguja Island is a good option, being one of the favorites even of Panamanians (and therefore the most crowded).

Other good choices are: White Coconut, Franklin Island, Devil Island (Niadub), Chichimè (or Weindup), Iguana (Aridup) e Guanidup (Kuanidup), all with amazing beaches and cabin options.

A Small Dog Island is one of the most beautiful, and also has cabins. She has a sister, Big Dog Island (or Perro II), which is bigger and just as beautiful, but without cabins. To stay there, just camping, as with the Star Island. These two are suitable for those who are really roots.

>> Read more tips on how to get to know San Blas in Panama.

Isla Aguja, with more structure – Photo: Guillaume Baviere via Flickr

Cabins where to stay in San Blas

Most lodgings follow the same pattern of housing as the Kuna Yala Indians, in thatched huts. Staying like this is actually experiencing the simplicity of life for these people. Many of them sleep in hammocks but rest assured, visitors have beds and mattresses to spend the night.

Currently, San Blas has invested in infrastructure, and it is possible to find wooden huts in some of them. Isla Diablo, for example, is one of the most organized, with accommodation in bungalows.

There, it is not necessary to make a reservation in advance (you can leave it for the month of your trip). If you can't contain your anxiety and want to keep everything organized, that's okay. Just contact your accommodation a few days before departure, and make sure everything is confirmed.

We have some tips on where to stay in San Blas in the cabins, write them down:

Tripsyala Guanidup Cabins

As cabanas do Tripsyala stay in island of Guanidup (or Kuanidup), one of the most paradisiacal of San Blas. But remember, don't expect too much luxury.

Accommodation is simple, with two or three beds and a shared bathroom and shower. Daily rates with breakfast start at R$1.900 for families of up to five people.

See prices and availability and make your reservation by clicking here.

Simple cabins Tripsyala but with a beautiful view of the sea – Click on the photo to find out more and make your reservation

Enjoy San Blas

O Enjoy San Blas is on Isla Diablo, one of the most structured options in the archipelago.

The cabins are made of wood with simple beds and the bathroom is shared. All inclusive rates (breakfast, lunch and dinner) from R$306 per person.

See prices and availability and make your reservation by clicking here.

The huts with a little more structure than the Enjoy San Blas – Click on the photo to learn more and make your reservation

Restaurant with a view at Enjoy San Blas – Click on the photo to find out more and make your reservation

Other cabin accommodation options:

  • Discover Guna Yala – Located in Waisalatupo, rates from R$ 311 with breakfast paid separately
  • Arridup Island – Located in Mamartupo, daily rates from R$ 414 with all meals included
  • Private Cabin in San Blas Islands – Located in Waisalatupo, rates from R$ 414 with all meals included

Hotels and Lodges in San Blas

Generally, hotels and logdes in San Blas offer a more personalized service to guests, such as tours and meals included in the price. Comfort could be a little better but nothing much more than simplicity.

Some are located away from the most famous beaches of San Blas. Pay attention to this detail, as it can make a lot of difference in your trip. You will certainly have more privacy, but you will depend on daily walks to really get to know the archipelago.

Access to some islands that have options for hotels and logdes is often done by plane, from Panama City.

We separate some indications:

Yandup Island Lodge

O Yandup Island Lodge offers options for cabins in the sea, on islands and also on the island itself facing the sea. In addition, it has a bathroom, double and single beds, fans and electricity 24 hours a day.

Bar do Yandup Island Lodge – Photo: Publicity

Hotel El Porvenir

the rooms of Hotel El Porvernir are masonry, private bathroom and overlooking the sea at Playón Chico. The hotel also offers a restaurant and breakfast is included in the rate.

Rates from R$ 310 with all meals included.

Hotel rooms Future – Click on the photo to learn more and make your reservation

See other options for your stay in paradise in San Blas:

Accommodation options in San Blas by boat

If you are looking for a unique option in your search for where to stay in San Blas, it is worth taking note of this suggestion: book your stay on a sailing boat.

There are options included in the crossing price between Cartagena and Panama City (like the one I did), which is an amazing experience.

For those who will opt for boats, a tip is to take few things, such as a small backpack just to spend the days at the beach and sea. In any case, on the islands of San Blas you don't need much – take the opportunity to let go of material items and travel light.

Saving on fresh water there is vital too. It is normal to bathe in the sea (using eco-friendly soap, of course) and just rinse the body salt off in the bathroom. If you need a morning shower to wake up, just go to bed prepared for a swim first thing in the morning. This is one of the best ways to start your day in San Blas.

An advantage of staying on boats is that the captain is in charge of taking you to the tours and islands, which does not usually have an extra cost. It's also worth checking with your captain to see if tours and snorkeling gear are included.

The boat Good luck, in El Porvenir, is one of those offering the opportunity to live this experience in the Caribbean Sea (but without crossing from Cartagena). Daily rates start from R$ 1.600 for the couple with breakfast.

Other options is The Sailing Experience in San Blas with daily rates from R$ 704. SailingFerm with daily rates from R$ 900 per person.

The boat Good luck – Click on the photo to make your reservation

inner part of Good luck – Click on the photo to make your reservation

Floor of mail in San Blas

For those looking for San Blas as a honeymoon destination, it’s good to keep the following facts in mind:

SUPER simple and rustic accommodation. Even being surrounded by the sea, a freshwater bath can be rare and should be short. Shower water is not always hot and bathrooms are usually shared.

The cabins are very simple accommodations, made of straw or wood, and there are private options, the beds are not the most comfortable. Oh, not to mention that it is not in any accommodation that you will find electricity 24 hours a day.

A good choice for those going on a more romantic trip is to choose the boats, these are exclusive and offer extra comfort.

Some other accommodation options on boats are:

  • The Sailing Experience in San Blas – R$ 1500 for two people, with breakfast
  • Play to live – R$ 1700 for two people, with breakfast
  • Myblue4you – R$ 3 thousand for two people, with breakfast

O Myblue4you Sailing Yacht – A good option for your honeymoon in San Blas – Click on the photo to learn more

The boat Play to Live in the beautiful sea of ​​San Blas – Click on the photo to know more

Dicas of San Blas

  • Don't forget your passport. It never hurts to remember about this. Spaniards do not need a visa, but your document will be collected, checked and stamped by the Kuna
  • In addition to beach items, bring a bath towel. It is also interesting to bring your own bedding if you are going to stay in the cabins – the ones there don't look the best, lol
  • Bring extra batteries and/or laptops for your electronics. Many islands do not have 24/XNUMX power, and outlets can be difficult to find.
  • Books, balls and games are welcome to spend the day on the beaches. It helps to spend time
  • Waterproof bags and padlocks can come in handy while traveling
  • The diet is very restricted, always based on fish and seafood. If you have any restrictions with these foods, bring some snacks or sandwiches. It is not always possible to change the menu

To close: enjoy paradise a lot! ? – Photo: Mark Veraart via Flickr

Did you like the tips on where to stay in San Blas? Want to know more about the destination?

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