As we ride the big blue sea. Boat trips from Cartagena to Panama

Sailboat trip from Cartagena to Panama 124

With half of 2018 now past and a little time to reflect on what the season thats past has brought.

I am happy to advise that during our trips Sailing from Panama to Colombia or from Cartagena to Panama;

  • Less than 5% off of our passengers have experienced seasickness.
  • We have seen way more dolphin activity. Including much more frequent visits by dolphins while anchored in San Blas.

Thank you to all the great people who have enjoyed these sailing adventures with us. It’s been a pleasure to meet you all.

If there is one experience that you MUST have while traveling in South/Central America, this trip on Ave Maria is it! 

Blue Sailing San Blas Adventure boat Panama to Colombia

Review by: Nicole Lane – Dec. 2016

It is much more than just transport from Colombia to Panama, but is a once in a lifetime opportunity to sail amongst and visit stunning islands that are untouched by tourism, which is a very rare opportunity in today’s world.

Trip Details: The trip leaves from Cartagena (we boarded around 8pm, and set sail by 10pm) where you will sail through open ocean for approx 36 hours, meaning the first full day is spent at sea (keep an eye out for dolphins, they paid us a visit on our first day!) If you are concerned about sea sickness, just take a good supply of dramamine with you on the trip- no one on our boat was sick, because we all took the precaution of using the medicine. When you wake on the second day, you will be in San Blas. Climbing out of the cabin to see tiny white sand islands overflowing with palm trees is a view that you won’t soon forget. You can spend your days on the islands doing whatever it is that you want, from sunbathing on the boat, lazing in a hammock on uninhabited islands, snorkeling the numerous coral reefs, swimming between the islands, or continuously questioning how lucky you are to be in the presence of such natural beauty 🙂 The boat is anchored just off the islands through the first day and night, and you will sail to a different cluster of islands on the morning of each of the next two days! (thats 3 full days visiting different islands!) At sometime during the evening of your 3rd day in San Blas, you will set sail again for another 12 hours approx, to Portobelo, which is where you will sadly make your departure for wherever is next in Panama. Keep in mind that the sail boats that make this trip are not luxury cruises. This is all a part of the experience and giving up your modern luxuries is a small price to pay for experiencing nature in its rawest form.

The Boat/ The Crew: This trip can be made infinitely better if you do your research and choose a reliable boat and Captain. For our trip we were lucky enough to be on board Ave Maria, a beautiful, classic sailboat, with captain Paul and his partner and culinary genius Sindry. From our orientation the day before our trip to our goodbyes in Portobelo, Paul and Sindry went above and beyond for us in every aspect and made our trip so much more special. They have made Ave Maria their home, and they truly make you feel like welcomed family. Every day we were greeted with a smile and a good morning before being given lots of insider information about the best snorkeling places as well as the islands themselves. In between exploring the islands we were treated to huge portions of healthy and DELCIOUS food! Sindry seriously makes magic happen in the small kitchen in the cabin and you will LOVE her for it! On our second day in the islands we had a pork barbecue on the beach for lunch and a lobster dinner made from FRESH lobsters that were delivered to our boat by a local man the morning of. As if our day couldn’t get any better, Sindry also made us cocktails using fresh coconut water, rum and lime juice-YES, we were that spoiled. It is clear that Paul and Sindry have put a lot of thought into the small details that make this trip that more enjoyable such as, coolers with ice for your beverages, snorkeling masks and fins to use, and hammocks that you can bring to the island to relax on. Most importantly, Paul and Sindry’s experience in sailing, dealing with weather conditions, and general knowledge of the islands is evident which allows you to feel the comfort of being in safe hands.

Overall: As a backpacker living on a backpackers budget, the price might seem like a stretch and if you’re wondering if its REALLY worth it… IT IS. We walked away from this trip knowing that we got way more than our money’s worth and memories that will stick with us forever. Definitely do it! You can get in touch with Captain Paul via Ave Maria’s Facebook page or through their website, which a quick google search will turn up!

Sailing Away on Ave Maria, our voyage from Colombia to Panama.

Blue Sailing San Blas Adventure on Ave Maria Sailing Panama to Cartagena

Review by: Sky Lane – October 2016
Absolutely worth it !

With our extended holiday coming to an end we were faced with a dilemma I’m sure most travellers experience. The clock is ticking, we don’t have enough days left before our flights home and the cruncher is that we have totally blown the budget.

We then start looking at options to get from Colombia to Panama and of course we have heard about cheap direct airfares and boats going through the San Blas. At first we planned on saving money and taking the cheapest option. Then we started running into people as we traveled who had done the boat trip. We must of met 3 or 4 different people who had sailed with Ave Maria. They all told us to not even consider other options just book with Ave Maria Sailing. Everyone of them told us that the boat was beautiful, clean and safe. That the Captain and his partner were great hosts. That the food was to their surprise excellent and that the days in the San Blas Islands were just fabulous.

Along the way to Colombia we did a little research and before long we had sold ourselves on the idea of sailing to Panama from Colombia and Ave Maria had availability on a trip that suited our schedule perfectly. So we booked it.

Well all those people who said it was a fabulous trip of a lifetime… They were all right…. we loved the trip. What a way to end travels. Just fantastic.

Thank you Captain Paul & Sindry for that extra effort that made this trip so memorable.

What we liked the best about this trip.

1. Before booking we asked lots of questions to which Paul & Sindry responded quickly and super informatively.

2. The boat, Ave Maria is a timeless gem. A real head turner, comfortable, plus it felt safe & sturdy.

3. Great food at every meal… we where eating better than we had since leaving home. To be honest maybe better than at home!

4. The days in San Blas were like being in another world. Tiny uninhabited islands with no other people at all except for a random indiginous fisherman in a dug out canoe from time to time. Postcard perfect in so many ways. So refreshing.

5. Snorkeling the beautiful reefs and encountering the many different fishes, manta rays, turtles, octopuses etc.

6. Seeing a pod of dolphin in the wild! They just came alongside the boat and started performing and playing while we were cruising along!

Yes totally worth it !

Now it’s back to work with these fantastic memories.

Awesome sailing trip from Portobelo Panama to Colombia with Ave Maria

San Blas Adventure Blue Sailing boat Panama to Colombia

Review by: Kyle Davis – Sep 2015

Ave Maria was an incredible five day experience travelling from Panama to
Colombia sailing through the beautiful San Blas Islands.

Captain Paul and Sindry were an absolute treat to Sail with. They took us away from the main tourist areas to more remote unihabited islands with amazing coral reef to snorkel and beach bonfires at night.

Paul is very professional and laid back and his beautiful partner Sindry is an amazing
cook who spoilt us all with fabulous meals.

Ave Maria beautiful classic sailboat kept in great condition and is a very comfortable with crisp clean beds for each of us.

An experience that I recommend highly and great value for money.

Panama to Colombia by Sailboat

Sailboat Panama to Colombia 093

“Sail Ave Maria”

Review by: Chris Buckley – October 2016

The best way to Travel from Panama to Colombia! We had our reservations about this method of travel having no previous sailing experience, lots of questions and concern were inevitable.” Would we have rough sea’s “could we handle sea sickness” how much alcohol should we take!? We met Captain Paul the day before in Captain jacks bar “portobello.”A very safe to venture small port town with a grand history! To meet the other passengers and deal with final payments and a safety briefing which straight away put my mind at ease, and all previous concerns to bed. As we boarded the following Eve it became evident that this was the beginning of a trip of a lifetime. The Ave Maria was in pristine condition, clean and more spacious than I had imagined. We met Pauls partner the amazing Sindry who was in charge of the kitchen and 1st mate. Then pulled up the anchor and set sail. After getting to know each other we all slept as Paul sailed thru the night. Arriving at San blas in the morning we were greeted by how truly stunning this location is. We had three days hoping from island groups. We camped on them which I would advise. Solid ground and picturesque uninhabited splendour! Hammocks dry bags and snorkel gear are freely available as is a dingy and cool box for drinks. every day we were fed three proper meals by Sindry who worked tirelessly providing us with a delicious and varied menu. Hamburgers to lobster. I’m a chef and was dumbfounded how she created these dishes in the tiny kitchen workspace. One day we had a BBQ on the beach! The group we had were also great. All of us got on well. Which is something you hope will be the case but it is a gamble. Just remember to look after one and other” your all literally in the same boat! The crossing thru the open Sean to Cartagena was calmer than expected bar 2 hours on the last night but that is the sea! Still felt really safe. These small birds were landing on the boat and my head which was surreal. And the sunset/moonrise accompanied by 8 Dolphins racing us is a moment il never forget. It was kind of sad leaving the Ave Maria when we docked in Colombia, but we were all looking forward to a shower. I will finish by saying this. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappoint by the things you didn’t do than the things you did, so throw off the bowlines sail away from safe harbour, catch the wind in your sails , explore dream discover! ” mark Twain

Visited September 2016