Things you should know about boats.
Avoid single hull (mono hulls) of less than 15 meters (50 foot) length. They tend to role (along their length axle) and move a lot in waves. If the weather gets rough (December to April) the passengers may sometimes not get on deck for fresh air, as it is risky to fall over board. Below deck there is no ventilation because the hatches (windows) have to be closed to avoid the breaking waves entering the boat. On the boats that go between Cartagena and San Blas many passengers get stuck inside, some of them vomiting (seasickness). Imagine the smell and the heat!
CATAMARANS do not roll and the longer they are, the less is the movement, size matters!
Look for boats where you can take a freshwater shower every day!
Try to avoid boats, that don’t provide hot meals every day. Many of them can’t cook while on open sea because the boat shakes too much to use the kitchen stove.
Do not book on websites that offer more than one boat, they only want commission. They can not guarantee, which boat you end up on. They also have no influence, what service the Captain finally provides ( size of boat, showers, food quality, drunken captain, drug addicts)
Go to Colombia the smart, easy and intelligent way. Follow the coast until Sapzurro (Puerto Obaldia ). No night runs (every night celebrating on board on anchor in a quiet bay). No open sea crossing for 2 days. With the SanBlasCat you can save 100 on the journey. See the remote parts of Panama and Colombia where there are no roads. Take a short ferry ride from Capurgana to Neclocil or Turbo ($ 25) where there are buses to all of Colombia.
Come from Colombia to Panama with the San Blas Cat. Take the short ferry ride from the mainland to Capurgana. Clear out of Colombia. Take a water taxi to Obaldia to be at the dock before 1pm on Thursdays. You get 28 hours of sailing, including 3 meals, 3 hours of beach time swimming, snorkeling and get to see all the San Blas islands on one journey! $180 pp.