We feel the most meaningful and inspiring travel experiences are those that make a connection between the natural beauty of a destination and the history & culture of it’s people. Our goal is that each guest returns feeling that their trip with Cacique Cruiser was their best experience in Panama, and that they will take away memories for a lifetime.
Cacique Cruiser is a licensed tour agency in Panama. However, Guna Yala is an autonomous indigenous region not under the control of Panamanian authorities. All regulations and enforcement of laws and practices are the responsibility of the Guna government. This includes the licensing and conduct of indigenous boats, captains, guides and everyone else conducting operations in their territory.
Only Guna are allowed to operate in the territory. No foreigner, including Panamanians, are allowed to directly work, manage or enforce policies inside the Gunas autonomous territory. The vast majority of the cost guest pay is paid directly to locals with whom we contract services. At no point is this money in our possession and at no point do we have the authority to decide to give refunds on behalf of these providers.
With each of the trips we offer we request in our agreements that all local contractors abide by internationally recognized standards or safety and professionalism. We also have daily processes on our side to monitor and attempt to influence our local contractor conduct. Our staff works very hard 7 days a week in an attempt to manage excellent outcomes for visitors from beginning to end.
However, ultimately only the Guna government is allowed and able to dictate and enforce standards. Additionally the Guna government does not provide any support for guests or tour agencies in resolving complaints. Sometimes the Government decides to send all visitors out of the territory with little or no notice. Generally this is done due to concerns with weather or closure of the only road in and out. When this happens we must comply. If additional costs are incurred by visitors due to evacuations or closures the Guna government considers those costs the responsibility of the visitors.
Please understand that Guna Yala is unlike anywhere most people have been. It is remote, rustic, and primitive. The behaviors and practices of the locals that conduct operations is not always in line with the level of professionalism that many expect in international tourism. Guna Yala is a beautiful and fascinating place, but it is more of an adventure travel destination than a traditional service oriented tourism destination.