A canoe by a small island in Panama
A remote white-sand island with palm trees in Panama
Orange intricate leg beads on a cultural tour of Panama
Two young girls in traditional outfits from the Guna Yala culture in Panama
A remote island with trees and small huts in Pananma
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Central America Panama Land Tour

Exploring San Blas & Guna Yala Culture

On this 3-day Exploring San Blas & Guna Yala Culture adventure in Panama, spend time snorkeling and swimming in Yandup, an island paradise surrounded by coral reefs and calm, crystal clear waters. Sleep every night in traditional Guna-style huts with comfortable beds, ceiling fans, private bathrooms and a hammock on the front porch. Family-style meals are served overlooking the Caribbean Sea, which create a sense of ease and relaxation critical to any vacation. Daily optional activities offer a wide range of choices that include important personal interactions with local Guna culture, revealing how this ambitious culture maintains their values, makes decisions and sustains a local economy.

Without a doubt, the Guna is the best preserved of all indigenous cultures of the Americas. The Guna people are so determined to protect their heritage that they have maintained their autonomy. In Guna Yala (the land of the Guna), known to the rest of the world as the San Blas Islands, an indigenous independent Congress still rules. Of the some 365 islands, fewer than 60 of them are inhabited. Turquoise waters surround white-sand beaches dotted with palm trees and thatched-roof Guna villages. 

Home base is the Yandup Lodge, which is owned and operated by a Guna family and is located an approximate 50-minute flight from Panama City and a 15-minute boat ride to Yandup Island.

Read on for details about this trip, or view all of AdventureSmith’s Panama tours.



Itinerary

Exploring San Blas & Guna Yala Culture Itinerary

On this 3-day Exploring San Blas & Guna Yala Culture adventure in Panama, spend time snorkeling and swimming in Yandup, an island paradise surrounded by coral reefs and calm, crystal clear waters. This Panama cultural trip begins and ends in Panama City, Panama. This adventure is a trip extension designed to be booked in conjunction with a longer Panama tour or a Panama small ship cruise. Please contact an Adventure Specialist for more details.

Route map of Exploring San Blas & Guna Yala Culture land tour trip extension, operating between Yandup & Panama City.
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Day 1
Arrive Yandup & Exploration in San Blas

Early this morning, be picked up at the lobby of your hotel and transferred to Albrook airport. Depart by small plane to San Blas and arrive at Playon Chico and be met by a representative of Yandup Lodge. Yandup Lodge is located about 15 minutes from the airstrip via dugout canoe in the center of the Guna Yala reserve.

Yandup is located a half mile from the Ukupseni community, or Playón Chico, and just under a mile from the tropical forest and the airport. This paradise island is surrounded by coral reefs and calm, clear water. Yandup belongs to a small archipelago, where swimming from one island to the other is a delight. Owned and operated by a Guna family, the accommodations are basic and comfortable in traditional Guna-style huts with cozy beds, a ceiling fan, private bathrooms and a hammock on the front porch. Family-style meals are served in the dining room overlooking the Caribbean. There is no hot water on the island. Electricity from solar panels is available 24 hours at 110V and small generators provide even larger electricity voltage.

After settling in and having breakfast, choose to snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, relax on the beach or hike in the dense tropical forest to a nearby waterfall for a refreshing swim. Observe varied vegetation, including some agricultural forest farms. Return to the lodge to relax in one of the hammocks before having lunch.

In the afternoon, choose from more activity options such as snorkeling; beach time; rainforest walks; sailing around the island in a typical Guna dugout canoe; sailing in a boat through mangroves near the islands; visiting neighboring Guna villages to learn about the Guna way of life and their traditional ceremonies; visiting a traditional cemetery or arts and crafts market; visiting the communal house of “Sahilas” (Guna chiefs) where decisions in favor of the community are made, advice on all aspects of life is offered and the local laws are enforced; learning about the construction of the typical Guna house, the economy, the traditional “mola” and the processing of sugar cane into the local drink.

Accommodations

Yandup Lodge

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 2
Exploration in San Blas

Today’s morning excursions vary between visiting inhabited beautiful islands where you can snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean and relax on the beach or a visit to a nearby waterfall where you might take a refreshing swim after a 45-minute hike in the dense tropical forest. Observe varied vegetation, including some agricultural forest farms. This afternoon, choose from a similar menu of options offered in the afternoon on day 1.

Accommodations

Yandup Lodge

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Return to Panama City, Panama

After breakfast, take the short ride aboard a dugout canoe to the airstrip to board the plane back to Panama City, Panama. You will be met and transferred to your hotel upon arrival. Due to your early return, we recommend verifying up front with your hotel if you can do an early check-in, otherwise book a day tour in advance and enjoy even more of the beautiful country of Panama without worrying about early check-in at your hotel in Panama City.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All lodging, land, air and water transportation within Panama; all airport/hotel transfers when arriving and departing on the stated arrival and departure dates of the group; meals as specified in the itinerary; hotel taxes; entrance fees to National Parks, museums and places of interest in effect at the time of booking (unless otherwise specified); guide services as specified in the itinerary.

Exclusions

Airfare to Panama; Panama City hotel; excess baggage charges; 7%  tax; port fees; gratuities to transfer assists and naturalist guides; items of a personal nature such as additional non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages; snorkeling equipment (can be rented at Yandup Lodge for $5); and insurance of any kind. Note that the local Guna staff speaks fluent Spanish and little English.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 50% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 91 days – 50% of deposit
90 to 31 days – 50% of total trip cost
30 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Exploring San Blas & Guna Yala Culture adventure begins and ends in Panama City, Panama (PTY). A pre- and post-trip hotel night is required. Please plan flights to arrive one day prior and depart one day after the outlined itinerary from Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the guides can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include hiking, swimming, snorkeling, beachcombing, sailing in a modern boat or typical Guna dug-out canoe, cultural visits and wildlife observation.

Families & Children

Children 11 years or younger receive discounts. Please inquire for pricing.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

The Exploring San Blas & Guna Yala Culture trip is a trip extension designed to be booked in conjunction with a longer Panama tour or a Panama small ship cruise. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, National Park regulation or at the guides’ discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of adventure travel unique.

Rates & Dates

Trip Rates & Details

This itinerary departs only on Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Sunday.

Contact us for current rates and availability.

Accommodation

Learn About the Lodge on Your Itinerary

Lodge
Yandup Lodge

Yandup is a family owned lodge with seafront and over-water cabins in a small private island near the Playon Chico community in Kuna Yala. The island is surrounded by coral reefs and a small beach with white sand and crystal clear water.

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Exploring San Blas & Guna Yala Culture

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