I thought I should put in at this point a little “warning” for those thinking to travel via sailboat from Panama to Columbia (or visa versa) via the San Blas Islands. As romantic as it sounds, as whimsical as it sounds or as much as it seems like it would be a fantasy to sail through 380+ Caribbean islands with water so pristine and beautiful that you can’t imagine a more beautiful place and sunsets and rises that make you realize a God does exist, it really isn’t a trip for the weak!!
Why do I say that? Well, unless you are rich enough to be able to afford your own private sailboat or yacht charter, then you are basically “stuck” on whatever sailboat you have chosen AND all the people (there were a total of 9 others on mine- all strangers) whom have chosen that particular sailboat as well. Which means… well, you tend to have to put up with a lot of interesting things… for example, other peoples ideas of how to stay hygienic… Yes, one particular person was constantly snotting on himself, wiping their hand on their shirt (which became dirty and quite gross quickly) and then actually wore that same nasty shirt for the entire duration of the trip… And you have to put up with the potential of storms, with the reality of having zero privacy for days on end, and for your crew to turn out to be modern day pirates (as my friend so eloquently coined!!). In addition not all the islands are as pristine as one would think. Mainly due to the currents, while most of the islands are quite lovely, there are some that have bits that have tons of trash piled up. This again is mainly due to the waste that boats and people in general dump into the water and the currently simply carry them to the nearest spot of land… All the more reason to take out with you what you brought in, as we did on our boat!!
However, if you are able to withstand all the potential nastiness that I personally never thought of, well then sail away!! I absolutely never regret my trip and wouldn’t trade it for any other experience in the world!! Even though it had a lot of squirrely downs, the ups were absolutely fabulous!! Phosphorescent water, sleeping on a hammock in the open air from the top deck of the sailboat watching the stars (I actually kicked one of the crew out of his bed to sleep on the hammock:)), the islands themselves, the water, the sunrises and sunsets, the yummy meals, the characters met on and off board, the friends I’ve made during the trip and still have to this day. I wouldn’t trade any of it for a minute, but thought it necessary to at least put in a little warning for others planning a similar trip:)