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Old 15-07-2014, 08:00   #1
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Where to Provision for San Blas (Panama)

Folks,

Next months we are flying in to Panama to get on our boat which has been sailed there by our charterer. They are leaving the boat for a couple weeks while we cruise the San Blas Islands.

We'll be coming from Panama City to either Shelter Bay or Turtle Cay marinas to get on board. (I think I'd prefer Turtle Cay as it's closer to San Blas)

Does anyone have some suggestion as to where we can provision well near either of these places? We will likely have a rental car available.

(Also - commentary on these or other nearby marinas is also welcome)

Cheers,
Colin
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Old 15-07-2014, 08:21   #2
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Re: Where to Provision for San Blas (Panama)

Provision in Panama City and bring it with you. There is no place around Turtle Cay to provision. Shelter Bay is a 30 minute drive into Colon, which does have good provisioning.

Mark
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Old 15-07-2014, 09:18   #3
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Re: Where to Provision for San Blas (Panama)

Thanks Mark.

Any thoughts on Turtle Cay as a marina generally?

I may have to leave the boat for a week or two until the charterer returns from an inland adventure. I know Shelter Bay is well equipped, but have little familiarity with Turtle Cay.

Cheers,
Colin
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Old 15-07-2014, 09:31   #4
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Re: Where to Provision for San Blas (Panama)

I have never been to Turtle Cay, but I know the main yard guy there and he is good and responsible. It is a very isolated marina - difficult to get to by automobile and absolutely nothing around it if you need parts, etc. I imagine it is less expensive than Shelter Bay, which is horribly expensive.

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Old 15-07-2014, 09:54   #5
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Re: Where to Provision for San Blas (Panama)

If you need a big provisioning, there is a pricesmart in panama city (actually 2 of them). It is essentially a costco but unless you can find another cruiser with a card it will coat you $35 to join because they dont take costco cards. They are lax about sharing cards. Riba Smith is a US style grocery store.

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Old 15-07-2014, 10:05   #6
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Re: Where to Provision for San Blas (Panama)

We left our boat in Turtle Cay and went to the USA a few years ago for a short term visit. On our return we contacted Capt Jack at Portobelo and he arranged for a cab from Panama City to Turtle Cay and we were loaded with provisions.
Shelter Bay is incredibly expensive.
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Old 16-07-2014, 22:35   #7
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Re: Where to Provision for San Blas (Panama)

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I have never been to Turtle Cay, but I know the main yard guy there and he is good and responsible. It is a very isolated marina - difficult to get to by automobile and absolutely nothing around it if you need parts, etc. I imagine it is less expensive than Shelter Bay, which is horribly expensive.

Mark
Have popped into to Turtle Cay a few times to take on fuel (last fuel dock before San Blas) and tie up for the night. It is less than Shelter Bay which, at least for the W Carib is way expensive. Don't recall their transient rates but the monthly rate is a flat $500 per month regardless of LOA or beam.

Re provisioning in San Blas. Stock up in Colon or elsewhere before arriving, but.... there are now multiple vegetable boats working the popular cruising anchorages which is very handy. Some even bring beer/wine. You can get some basic staples in the Kuna stores on the more populated islands, some stock beer and have even found boxed wine a couple of times. Kuna fisherman will likely drop by selling fish/lobster/crab, please don't buy undersized/out of season ones from them.

Fuel, a few places sell diesel/gas, expensive at $5.50 -$6.00/galllon, but no proper fuel docks...jerry jug it and filter well. Motor oil (crankcase) is less common...I've only found it at Nargana.
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Old 16-07-2014, 23:24   #8
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Re: Where to Provision for San Blas (Panama)

There is a "San Blas Cruisers" facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/kunayala/ with lots of user contributed information. If you are renting a car, provision in PC and transport it yourself.
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Old 26-07-2014, 15:04   #9
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Re: Where to Provision for San Blas (Panama)

We have used Riba Smith and found everything we needed. However we did overnight in the city :certainly a long day trip from Shelter Bay.
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Old 16-11-2014, 18:12   #10
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Re: Where to Provision for San Blas (Panama)

Thanks all for the input. We ended up provisioning in Panama City, but had a rental car to get everything to Turtle Cay. Btw, Turtle Cay is a great gateway to the San Blas and Yogi there is great. His wife also runs a nice little restaurant on the beach. All highly recommended.

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