Here are the more frequently asked questions we get about sailing in Panama.
Clothing and personal kit. What do I need?
The answer is as little as possible. You are coming to a warm climate for good reason. Temperatures in coastal panama are seldom below 25 centigrade (77 fahenhight ) and It is usually quite humid. You are aiming at a small duffel (think carry on size) You will probably bring more liquor and electronic equipment than clothing.
We recommend you bring the following:
Your Passport or copy (in case we get stopped by officials)
Extra cash (limited cash machines available on islands)
2 to 3 swimsuits Shorts T shirts
Lightweight, waterproof jacket with hood
Caps or hats
Rubber or plastic sandals or crocs type shoes only
Toiletries and specific medicines of course.
All saves space. You will have much more space in your cabin and avoid hoisting large baggage in and out of transfer vehicles and 'lancha' boats, or the plane. We can discuss making arrangements for leaving your main luggage in Panama City.
Insects and the environment. What do I need to know?
We are in the tropics and near the jungle, you will see some bugs. However the beauty of staying on a boat is that being way out on the water provides a pretty good deterrent for them, and they have a hard time finding us. But we still recommend you bring bug repellent especially if you are sensitive to bugs. The bugs can also be worse at certain times of the year, and day, and for short period, and near certain beaches . We sometimes burn ground coffee in a tin, which chases them away quite readily, if we ever need to.
NOTE: spray all the outside of your luggage with Baygon or other strong insect spray a couple of days before your trip. Reason: the eggs of various insects can adhere to your bags. This is especially true in storerooms of backpacker hostels. Of course we don't want them on the boat, and these eggs can even be carried back to your home, where you are centrally heated, after your holiday. This works well, a simple yet effective precaution.
The sun. What about it?
It is HOT! The sun here nearer the equator and especially out on the water it is much more powerful than the summer sun in temperate climates. Please do not underestimate it. Apply suitable sun screen often.
The sailing trip or cruise, and your other holiday plans?
We advise not to pack your schedule too tight. You are traveling to a wilderness area, which is still largely undeveloped. However do not expect 'first world' organization options available such as just make a quick call to change reservation. Transport can be less reliable. It is best to leave at least a day 'fat' at the end of the yacht trip before the next stage of your Latin American holiday. i.e: don't make any special arrangements the night straight after being aboard.
Who, how, and what people enjoy these trips?
Our sailing trips are for a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 8 guests at normal rates, if you would like to rent the whole boat with less than 4 there is an additional fee. We must ask that everyone who comes aboard be able to climb a ladder. The nature of the boat requires that you have the physical capability to pull yourself up a normal ladder. That said we welcome all ages, nationalities and walks of life!
What about young children?
Our experience has been that young teens who have an interest in sailing or snorkeling enjoy these trips, immensely. Younger children as part of a dedicated family group are more than welcome but the responsibility is on the parents for safety and controlling them. (although the Captain and crew have extensive childcare experience and are happy help!).
Are meals and beverages included?
Yes! For overnight charters all food, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages (which includes water, juices, coffee, and tea) are included. Day charters include lunch, snacks, water and a round of Grog (traditional Pirate drink) Please bring whatever else you wish to consume while aboard i.e. specialty snacks and extra wine, beer and liquor. Unless you have booked the booze cruise, in which case its all on us! If you have any allergies or special diet restrictions please let us know in advance and we will do our best to accommodate you.
Liquor, smoking and water. What do we need to know?
As we have said bring the alcohol that you need for your group. We can load quite a lot, it’s just a matter of lugging it all to the boat! We make the best efforts to have cold drinks as far as possible. Many evenings are fabulous relaxing moonlight dinners. All we ask is be aware that you may be with other folk and a boat is not as big as a hotel. So just think about who you may or may not be affecting, while you are having fun. The Captain is experienced in all these matters and will guide the group. Narcotics can not be tolerated aboard, for several reasons, some which relate to regional security, but mainly for the above reason - that you are in close proximity to our other guests. Please do not bring any aboard. We must also ask that people know there limits while drinking, as it can be dangerous to get too belligerent while aboard. One World reserves the right to cut anyone off at anytime. Tobacco smoking on board is permitted of course, however please never inside the vessel and only 'downwind' when on the deck. This means near the side where the wind blows the ash directly to the Sea.
Fresh water and drinking water: We have several tanks aboard which we fill with tap water and treat and filter it so its safe for drinking. Although we have a large capacity it is not infinite, we ask that everyone who comes on board is as frugal as possible with sink and shower water. This does not mean don't drink water, it is easy to become dehydrated while on the Sea. If you're the type of person that only drinks bottled water, please bring your own.
How do we pay for our trip?
We accept cash, in US Dollars and PayPal. If you need guidance please ask or make a note when you send your inquiry. NOTE: If you are new to PayPal, you may have to go through a verification process before you can submit your payment, so allow some time for that (it can sometimes be 1-2 days or more). Typically, deposits can be paid in advance using PayPal, and final balances can be paid in cash when you arrive to the boat.
Can you “hold” spots for us if we don’t submit a deposit right away?
Reservations can only be confirmed with a paid deposit. With PayPal, it is quick and easy to make a deposit from almost anywhere in the world using your bank account, credit card, or debit card. We also gladly “hold” a reservation pending a deposit being received. But please understand that if we get a reservation with a deposit for those spots before we receive yours, and there is no other space on the trip, the one with the paid deposit will get the spots. In any case, we will do our best to accommodate all requests.
How is the accommodation laid out on your vessels? What is included?
Please refer to the boat description and interior photographs. Many guests elect to sleep above decks on clear, starry nights. We have roll-up mats and cushions for sleeping on deck available for your convenience. We provide fresh linens for all beds, and while we have towels we encourage you to bring your own.
We have a group of friends and would like to do a private trip off the coast of Panama for more than two or three nights. Is it possible?
Yes of course. That would be the Build Your Own charter! We do private sails all the time. Just let us know what you have in mind, and how many people in your group. Give as much detail as possible and we can work out something epic!
How are cancellations handled?
In the very rare event that we have to cancel a trip for any reason on our part, we will notify you as soon as possible. We will work with you to reschedule your trip or refund your deposit. If you have to cancel on a trip, please let us know as soon as possible. If the trip is full, we usually have people who are willing to jump in on a last-minute basis if space opens up. If we get someone else to fill your spot(s) on the trip, then we will gladly reimburse your deposit. However, if you cancel within ten calendar days for overnight charters, or 24 hours for day charter before your trip date, and we are unable to get someone else to take your spot(s), your deposit is subject to forfeit.
Do you have snorkeling and fishing gear aboard?
Yes, our vessels have a good inventory of snorkeling masks, fins and gear aboard for guests to use, plus a few different fishing apparatus for the keen fisherman. (we provide a refundable deposit for the more costly equipment) If you have your favorite mask, or fishing lures -please bring. If you absolutely have to bring your own rod please make sure it is a short boat rod.
What about scuba diving? Anyway we can scuba dive while we are on the trip?
Scuba Diving is not permitted in the San Blas Islands, however some of the best reef is quite shallow so diving is somewhat unnecessary.
What is your tipping policy?
While you are on the boat We are your Captain, your crew, your cook, your waiter, your fun facilitator, your tour guide, your bartender, your maid your driver and your bellhop. We work hard to make your trip special, unique and unforgettable. If you don't normally tip the above professions, then don't leave a tip, if you do tip the above professions then please a customary 10% tip is suggested and greatly appreciated.
What about seasickness?Should I be concerned about it?
You don’t have to worry about seasickness too much. Most of where we sail is protected by an outer reef. This is what makes panama such a prime cruising ground. Thanks to this outer barrier reef protecting the islands, you do not have the waves and swells like you do on the open sea. Be aware however, that at times we will be crossing channels to open sea, and there may be a bit more rolling motion during those brief periods on our sails. If you feel you are extra sensitive and/or feel the need to protect yourself, use seasickness medication. We recommend Meclizine or Sturgeron as a preventative or remedy, or ginger tablets in the event of mild nausea or sour stomach. The magnetic wrist bands evidently work surprisingly well for some people. (www.reliefband.com) However the captain will keep saying, on and on, and on, drink fresh water until it runs from your nose! It is so important for many reasons. Bring your bottle!
Should I be concerned about weather conditions?
Weather conditions in San Blas vary almost all of the time. While you may see some rain and crazy weather during the trip, chances are also good that you will see plenty of sunny, clear weather as well. Bear in mind that Island groups have their own micro climate systems when it comes to weather patterns. It simply does not follow the same weather patterns that affect the rest of Panama. So even if you see a lot of rain on the mainland, it doesn't mean you will see the same thing in San Blas. April-November is the rainy season in Panama and we see more rain and storms this time of year. November-April is the windy season and the weather is clearer with more wind to sail on, but it is also the high season so flights are more expensive and we are booked more often.
How do we book?
Visit our Charters page and check out your options and then visit our Connect page and send us a message! We will get back to you as soon as possible to book your trip!
If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to ask!
Sailing One World
Sailing One World