IN THE ISLANDS
- AT TIMES THE BOAT RIDES WILL BE WET AND BUMPY, sometimes very wet (this is part of the adventure). Make sure to protect all your valuable items such as phone, camera etc. There is not always a dock to help guests in and out of the boat. Guests must be in good enough physical condition to board the boats from the beach.
- TOURISM IS RELATIVELY NEW IN THE ISLANDS AND LUXURY CANNOT BE EXPECTED. Most accommodations are rustic, meals are basic and timing often not exact.
- Guna Yala is a semi-autonomous indigenous Comarca (territory). The comarca, it's residents and approved agencies such as ourselves are under the authority of the Guna Congreso (government) when operating within the territory. As guides and an agency for Guna Yala law requires us to work within a network of approved Guna contractors for island accommodation and staff and within a similar network for approved regulated transportation services. Non Guna staff members are prohibited in the islands, as are non Guna owned assets being used for commercial purposes. We are required to prepay our contract partners for accommodations and transportation. As such, In the event of a service error we cannot guarantee refunds will be given. Despite regulating the options for contractors the Guna government does not provide support on any level for us to be able to enforce standards or reap compensation from contracts that do not provide the agreed upon service.
- Guna Yala is simple and away from civilization, therefore no running water, no internet and only limited electricity. Most accommodations are built on sand, the quality of the matrassess is mediocre. The food is very basic, the portions usually small. We have not much influence on the quality of both. No foreigner are allowed to own any assets or work in the islands and all agencies operating there are subject to the Guna governments rules. So please DO NOT EXPECT ANY LUXURY OR GREAT SERVICE.
- You will have the pleasure of being away from everything, experience a unique culture and just relax and enjoy the moment.
MOST ACCOMMODATIONS AND RESTROOM FACILITIES IN GUNA YALA ARE BASIC AND SOME ARE EVEN RUSTIC. Please be sure you are well informed about the facilities of the island you have chosen to ensure your expectations are met. If an island does not directly offer private bathrooms then it generally means they are shared. No islands offered here have air conditioning, some offer solar or generator power in the rooms and fans, others do not. The quality of mattresses and pillows at most islands is mediocre.
- El Original, Original Chill and El Tranquilo: 3 meals per day starting with lunch on day 1 and ending with lunch on the last day plus 1 snack on the day trip.
- Coconut Express - lunch and a snack. We recommend to bring some cash for breakfast and or snacks for in between, it will be a long day!
- 1 Island Trips - : 3 meals per day starting with lunch on day 1 and ending with breakfast on your last day. .
- FOR ALL TRIPS we can recommend to take some more snack in case you have special dietary restrictions or you do not like a meal.
- Breakfast is not included the morning of pick up.
- Some dietary restrictions such as vegetarian or vegan can be met but meals will be basic and limited options. If you have very special dietary requirements contact us, we may suggest you bring some of your own food. The options in the islands are limited.
- Guests are responsible for providing their own beverages including water. (Exception: drinking
- You have the chance to buy drinks on most of the islands (water, beer, soda etc.) and the Guna’s are also selling little homemade souvenirs like bracelets for example. Prepare and bring small bills (US Dollars are accepted).
- DECEMBER through APRIL are the months of the windy season. The ocean can be rough, boat rides can be wet, sometimes very wet. Please make sure to protect all your items. We recommend you purchase plastic bags for your luggage and zip-lock bags for your valuables (available in the supermarket in the morning of your departure). Bring a wind / rain jacket for the boat rides if you have one.
- MAY through NOVEMBER are the months of the rainy season. Boat rides can be wet, sometimes very wet. Cabanas are made out of natural materials and may leak at times. Please make sure to protect all your items. We recommend you purchase plastic bags for your luggage and zip-lock bags for your valuables (available in the supermarket in the morning of your departure). Bring a rain jacket for the boat rides if you have one and a sweater for the evenings.
Mosiquitos & Bugs
The beds in dorms don't have any mosquitos net because there are not many mosquitos on the island. Most of the bug bites that do occur in the islands come from sand flies. When it is not windy occasionally sand flies can be present and annoying. The sand flies are not so dangerous but they do bite. Generally they bite feet and ankles when you are in the sand. We do our best to avoid islands where this is a problem, but San Blas is a very rugged and natural place so not everything can be avoided.
The best thing guest can do to protect against bugs is to:
Wear long sleeves, pants and bug repellent when entering and exiting the main land port in San Blas. The main land is where most of the mosquitos are. The ports where the boat trips start and finish are muddy, a bit dirty and near rivers.
Use bug repellent in the mornings and evenings.
When it is not windy or breezy wear light long pants that are tight around the ankles in the evenings to avoid sand fly bites on your ankles.
Yes, thats true. Coconuts used to be the primary currency and are still used for trading within the islands. The Guna people trade them for food and other things, so don't take them from the palm trees and also dont take the ones you find on the ground. You can nicely ask them and they will sell it to you and enjoy a coconut in paradise for usually $2 - $3. You are basically on their family owned island and taking a Coconut would be like taken an apple from your garden.