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Old 05-03-2016, 16:30   #46
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Re: Are the San Blas Islands Worth it?

If u join the San blas faebook group u can see what people are talking about. Kunas seem to be pretty greedy if u believe what people write. From what I've read the kuna now charge $20 per boat plus $20 per person per month. They are taking about making the second month $200 to discourage charters. There are also reports of individual islands charging additional fees. And if your dinghy or kayak comes untied from your boat expect a kuna to "salvage" it for u and demand a fee.

This is all second hand recent info, fwiw


Sent from somewhere in the Pacific
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Old 06-03-2016, 04:09   #47
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Re: Are the San Blas Islands Worth it?

The $20/boat + $20/person per month has been the long standing fee structure. The big flap over fees came up last year when the Congresso proposed outrageous fees ($5/ sq ft based on length x beam). I think this was political grand standing and/or a response to all the illegal charters. Either way, haven't heard of them actually trying to collect it.

Some islands/island groups may charge for anchoring. Usually a one time $10 fee, with a loosely defined duration. Ive never had them ask twice in the same year. You get a receipt for the anchoring fee and just show it next time. We accumulated a collection of them working our way into the eastern San Blas last year.
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Old 06-03-2016, 04:25   #48
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Re: Are the San Blas Islands Worth it?

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Originally Posted by tominny View Post
What is the best time to visit the islands, sailing-wise, spearfishing-wise, snorkeling-wise?


Quote:
Originally Posted by toddedger View Post
And when does the season end?

Panama seasons are divided into wet & dry. Dry is roughly Dec/Jan - May/June. Eastern Panama, inclusive if the San Blas, also has seasonal trade winds that roughly correspond to dry season. Wet season is the rest of the year. Big lightning and more rain in the San Blas during rainy season, but some cruisers stay year round. We bail out when the big lightning starts.

Spear fishing is prohibited under Kuna law, but some do it anyway. Same for kite boarding and SCUBA.

You can find good snorkeling year round. Most popular snorkel spots are inside the reefs in protected waters so not usually affected when the wind/seas pick up. Lots of very good snorkel spots. More cloud cover in rainy season.
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:22   #49
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Re: Are the San Blas Islands Worth it?

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you can find here an extract of the original Kuna new ligeslation...indeed it's 5$ per sq ft!!?

taxes sanblas | Sextan.com

so i'm 43'x14' roughly 600 very sq ft....so is that really 3000$ a month on top of the rest of taxes!!??

was there 18 months ago...so now i think i will do Aruba-Bocas del Toro...bocas has also good diving and fishing ....
One can only assume a world scale obscene tax is intended to deter activity. This is an old and successful method to prevent whatever the government wishes to stop. Same thing happened in Greece until authorities realized how successfully it worked. Sad to say we all should stay away until the Panamanians get reasonable. Curious, what is Panama doing for the Kuna with the booty? Is even 1% returned? Assuming they begin to collect on this, the cruising visitors will leave.
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:45   #50
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pirate Re: Are the San Blas Islands Worth it?

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Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
One can only assume a world scale obscene tax is intended to deter activity. This is an old and successful method to prevent whatever the government wishes to stop. Same thing happened in Greece until authorities realized how successfully it worked. Sad to say we all should stay away until the Panamanians get reasonable. Curious, what is Panama doing for the Kuna with the booty? Is even 1% returned?
Met a couple of the Islanders while in Shelter Bay.. nice folks and the Islanders don't have much else going for them.. apart from their home..
I consider that for what they have to offer the charges are reasonable in the extreme.. much cheaper than entering and cruising the waters of the Capital of the Caribbean which has so little..
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Old 07-03-2016, 16:13   #51
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Re: Are the San Blas Islands Worth it?

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One can only assume a world scale obscene tax is intended to deter activity. This is an old and successful method to prevent whatever the government wishes to stop. Same thing happened in Greece until authorities realized how successfully it worked. Sad to say we all should stay away until the Panamanians get reasonable. Curious, what is Panama doing for the Kuna with the booty? Is even 1% returned? Assuming they begin to collect on this, the cruising visitors will leave.

Guna Yala, the Kuna's name for their territory, is semi autonomous and they set their own policies (within the confines of Panamanian national law). They are self governing in local matters, but must comply with applicable national laws like immigration and drug related. For example, Panama does maintain border security and drug interdiction forces there, but thats about it.

The normal San Blas fees are neither set nor collected by Panama, but directly by the Kuna. Panama per se retains nothing (excluding immigration and Panama cruising permit fees, which can be paid in Guna Yala). When you clear in at Porvenir, the main port of entry in Guna Yala, the only Panamanian official there is an immigration officer, all others are Kuna.

The new fees were drafted by the Kuna, not by Panama, so I expect would be collected directly by the Kuna. But, as yet they are not trying to collect them and I expect they never will. Can't imagine anyone would be willing to pay them.

Panama has funded a few infrastructure projects, solar and water for example, in Guna Yala but the Kuna are otherwise quite self sufficient. They are proud of their heritage and very determined to maintain it...rare in a world where most indigenous cultures have been all but obliterated. This is part of what makes it such an appealing place to visit.
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Old 22-05-2016, 03:44   #52
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Re: Are the San Blas Islands Worth it?

San Blas, Panama, can be a good or a bad decision depending on how good you are at integrating with the local Kunas.

If you are relaxed, treat them nice, respect their culture and donīt mind giving a $ here and there, you will find Paradise and the best caribbean sailing holidays. If you think this is the BVI, forget it, this is hell for you.

I have sailed almost all over the caribbean and San Blas and this is by far the place I want to spend the years to come.

you can see some pictures here:
San Blas catamaran charter: Galleries

some videos here:
https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...tures+san+blas
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