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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.
IN THE ISLANDS
Waiver of Claims, Express Assumption of Risk and Indemnity Agreement
Express Assumption of Risk Associated with Recreational Activities. At Cacique Cruiser S.A., Avenida Ramón Arias Plaza Las Veraneras, Local 3, El Cangrejo, Panamá. I, hereby affirm and acknowledge that I have been fully informed of the inherent hazards and risks associated with the recreational activity generally described as outdoor adventure tour , including the rental of equipment and transportation associated therewith of which I am about to engage in. Inherent hazards and risks include but are not limited to: 1. Risk of injury from the activity and equipment utilized is significant including the potential for permanent disability and death. 2. Possible equipment failure and/or malfunction of my own or other’s equipment. 3. This activity takes place outdoors and therefore includes risks associated with exposure to elements, excessive heat, hypothermia, impact of the body upon the water, injection of water into my body orifices, encountering objects either natural or man-made, exposure to animals with the attendant risks of kicking, biting, shying away, running off or otherwise moving in an unanticipated manner causing injury and/or death. 4. My own negligence and/or the negligence of others, including but not limited to operator error and guide decision making including misjudging terrain, rapids, weather, trails, and route location. 5. Attack by or encounter with insects, reptiles, and/or animals. 6. Accidents or illness occurring in remote places where there are no available medical facilities. 7. Fatigue, chill, and/or dizziness, which may diminish my/our reaction time and increase the risk of accident. *I understand the description of these risks is not complete and that unknown or unanticipated risks may result in injury, illness, or death Release of Liability, Waiver of Claims and Indemnity Agreement In consideration for being permitted to participate in the activity(ies) described above the related activities, I hereby agree, acknowledge and appreciate that. 1. I HEREBY RELEASE AND HOLD HARMLESS WITH RESPECT TO ANY AND ALL INJURY, DISABILITY, DEATH, or loss or damage to person or property, WHETHER CAUSED BY NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE, the following named persons or entities, herein referred to as releases. 2. To release the releases, their officers, directors, employees, representatives, agents, and volunteers, and vessels from liability and responsibility whatsoever and for any claims or causes of action that I, my estate, heirs, survivors, executors, or assigns may have for personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death arising from the above activities whether caused by active or passive negligence of the releases or otherwise. By executing this document, I agree to hold the releases harmless and indemnify there in conjunction with any injury, disability, death, or loss or damage to person or property that may occur as a result of engaging in the above activities. 3. By entering into this Agreement, I am not relying on any oral or written representation or statements made by the releases, other than what is set forth in this Agreement. This release shall be binding to the fullest extent permitted by law. If any provision of this release is found to be unenforceable, the remaining terms shall be enforced. This release shall be binding to the fullest extent permitted by law. If any provision of this release is found to be unenforceable, the remaining terms shall be enforced. I HAVE READ THIS RELEASE OF LIABILITY AND ASSUMPTION OF RISK AGREEMENT, AND I FULLY UNDERSTAND ITS TERMS, AND UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE GIVEN UP LEGAL RIGHTS BY ACCEPTING IT, AND I ACCEPT IT FREELY AND VOLUNTARILY WITHOUT ANY INDUCEMENT. BY PURCHASING A TRIP WITH CACIQUE CRUISER I ACKNOWLEGE THAT I HAVE READ, UNDERSTAND AND AGREE TO BE A PARTY TO THE ABOVE WAIVER.