Stand up paddling in San Blas

We recently booked a trip with Yacht Latina with the express purpose of not only taking a sailing tour of the islands but to do some stand up paddle boarding as well. One of our issues was how to transport our large paddle boards to Panama and even worse, to San Blas. When we found out that Yacht Latina had inflatable boards available for rent it made booking a trip a no brainer. San Blas is one of the most beautiful places in the world and ideal for stand up paddling. Like paddling on top of an aquarium!

Booking the trip through Lita at Yacht Latina was effortless and once we got to Panama we were treated like royalty. We would highly recommend them!



An interview with Captain George

We recently had a chance to sit down and visit with Captain George Salley, who has been pleasing Yacht Latina guests with iconic sailing cruises aboard his 42′ catamaran in the San Blas Islands.  George is an expert cruiser and wonderful person to hang out with.  Here are a few tidbits from our conversation.

Capt George

Captain George Salley

YL – How long have you lived in Panama?

CG  – We have been in Panama since December 2008.

YL – Tell us about your yacht?

CG – Southern Belle is a 42-foot Fountaine Pajot Catamaran built in 1995. We bought her in 2003 and have lived aboard since 2006. She is well equipped for blue water cruising. You can get a much more detailed description of how she is outfitted on the Yacht Latina website.

YL – What are your favorite islands to visit in the San Blas and why?

CG – We love the Lemmon Cays because they have outstanding beaches and great reef for snorkeling. We also adore the Robeson Cays because the people are fantastic.

YL – What are your favorite aspects of the Guna Yala?

CG – The clear blue water, the beautiful islands, and the wonderful Kuna Indians

YL – What is your most memorable moment with guests sailing in the San Blas?

CG – Playing music on the foredeck while we watch the sun set into the Caribbean Sea

YL – Well, thanks for the chat Captain George (and also Melinda & Josh…).  Great to catch up with you!

Yacht Latina cruisers: If you’d like to meet captain George or get pricing on a sailing trip click the Contact Us link on the website.


New Trip Calendar – updated to end of December 2012!

We have several dates available for Sailing trips in Panama (San Blas, Bocas Del Toro, and Pearl Islands). Cruises range from 3 to 5 nights each.  Min 2 persons per trip.  Pricing depends on number of guests and vessel selected.  All yachts are fully crewed and provisioned.

Saling in the San BlasYacht Latina sailing in the San Blas


3 nights on Monday, September 10th  to Thursday, September 13th

See the Calendar :



SV Sogno

SV Sogno – 48′ Ted Brewer Cutter

Designed by renowned architect Ted Brewer U.S. Naval and equipped to meet the requirements for

offshore sailing. The ship boasts a canoe stern typical of the typical legendary “blue water” boat.

With a GRT of 21 tons and a beam of 13′ she is no baby. Stabilised by keel ballast of 11 500lbs a good

stable ride is assured. The built-in fuselage keel is part of the ‘secure’ concept and goes beyond the

typical “Brewer Bite” on the outrigger skeg rudder. Solid 25mm glassfibre hull with timber decking and

interior, she has a lovely feel to her. Fully appointed. Well insulated coachroof makes her nice and cool.
Perfectly maintained this gorgeous sailer is available for 2 to 4 day trips is San Blas.

Interior : forward to aft
The bow area is accessible through a door in the forecastle berth. “Pullman” berth on the port side with

plenty of storage space underneath. It has three drawers under the bed.
Located directly behind this berth is the foward toilet and shower which includes a sink, mirror and

ample storage space.

Midship is the large saloon with pilot berths on both sides. The table can be lowered and makes room

for another double bed. Plenty of storage space as well as an overhead and linen closet on the starboard

side. A large pantry can store the food safely. The galley is on the port side. Doppelspühle, 3-burner stove with oven and broiler, Grosse top-to-open fridge with freezer compartment and another large freezer for storing drinks and fruit etc. Various cupboards and drawers to take all the kitchen utensils.

A double step leading to the pilot house. The engine room is accessible by two large hatches insulated from here. The hot water tank is also located here. On the port side is the navigation table to the electrical panel. Navigational equipment includes a GPS from Garmin as well as a laptop computer with Max Sea maps, a 24 nm by Furuno radar and a forward-looking sonar. With the Nexus server, you can leave all data in the transponder display on the laptop.

On the starboard side there is another table, which can be converted into a double berth if required also. Here also is another pilot berth with plenty of storage space.

Aft large cabin with double bed to starboard. Underneath it has plenty of storage space and a total of 5 drawers. On the starboard side is the bathroom with a shower. Behind is the sink with additional storage space. Large wall unit with additional storage space. The interior wood is oiled, the floor and the stairs are painted.

and for the Techno-sailors:

Perkins 4-154 (b / n NAP271154V31260) 4-cylinder diesel, fresh water cooled with Borg Warner hydraulic gearbox (2:1) in excellent condition. 2011 major service including new water pump and alternator 70A. 18-inch 3-blade fixed propeller, Runs like clockwork and has an estimated 5000 hours of operation.

Isomat aluminum mast with double spreader rests on the keel, aluminum tree with “quick reefing system.” All stays are 1×19 type “Norseman” terminals (2004) and are as follows:

Sail inventory:
• 35 m2 large-9oz dacron Sails sail by Lee (2008)
• 36 m2 large-sail North Sails Dacron 10oz (reserve)
• 51 m2 Genoa 7oz Dacron North Sails
• 15 m2 of sail Stag-9oz dacron Sails Lee (2011)
• 25 m2 of Yankee 9oz dacron Sails Lee (2011)
• 18 m2 of top Yankee Sails 8oz Dacron
• 11 m2 Storm Jib Dacron 11oz
• 9 m2 Storm Trysail 8oz Dacron
• 170 m2 radial head drifter from Lee Sails (2011)

General inventory:
• 4hp Yamaha outboard (2010)
• 8hp Mercury outboard (2007)
• Yamaha 4 person dinghy
• Large-Sunbrella sail cover (2008)
• Sunbrella Bimini Cockpit (2008)
• folding table in the cockpit in teak (2009)
• Instrument panel in teak (2009)
• 2 Ritchie “Powerdamp” Compasses
• Edson wheel tax
• Reverse osmosis filtration system for drinking water (2011)
• cushions with washable microfiber cover
• Pressure water system with hot water heaters (2008)

Electronic Inventory:
• Furuno 24 nm radar with LCD display (2010)
• Interphase advance sonar with LCD display
• Garmin GPS 152 plotter
• Uniden VHF radio with DSC (2008)
• masthead antenna
• Nexus Autopilot with remote control
• Nexus depth sensor with display (2009)
• Nexus Log with display (2009)
• Nexus wind control with display (2009)
• Nexus Server (2009)
• Compaq Evo 600 Laptop with
• MaxSea navigation software and the current set of maps (all world)
• Automatic tuner for SSB
• Cat II EPIRB with GPS transponders
• smoke and CO2 detectors
• 100-watt solar panel with indicator and regulator
• Air-X wind generator
• LED navigation lights

Inquire about our Sogno : Here!

SV Trophy Girl

Trophy Girl sails San Blas
Trophy Girl is a neat little sail boat. Well no so little actually a fair double V cabin forward and two full length salon beds midships. Lots of shelf and cabinet space. Oh and there’s a 1 1/2 bed cabin starbaord aft. I say one and half since it is a double for a couple who are smaller people, but the average heavy build seadog would need the cabin to himself. Take a look at the double sinks in the galley photo. Its enough open space for party meal preparation! A good head (toilet) shower central in the boat. Skipper /owner Antonio hails from Barcelona and is quad lingual. (En/Fr/Es/Catala) He knows about running yacht fun trips. His zooty little vessel made many happy faces on the French coast and the Balearics before coming Caribbean way. He is a man of the earth, or to use a cliche, of the sea. Save to say he has been around. A pleasant and capable fellow. See more photos below…and keep reading.

Anyway back to Trophy Girl. She earned her name through reputation. She is pretty quick. Antonio has her turn 15knots, albeit in a huge following sea, but he didnt lose her and she didnt fail. For the sailors think….37′..thats cracking on. Actually what she will do more readily is be a responsive fast little sailor in moderate breeze. You see, she is an Oyster. Built for strength and speed. She is a little legend girl since she survived the great Fastnet race, a while ago, where she was one of only two in a fleet of 50 that returned from the Irish Sea in diabolical conditions. So she is strong, she is light and carries her 120% genoa on very firm standing rigging. Antonio wrenches up the running backstays, to squeeze each and every square foot of wind power. You will have fun! Come and ride her in San Blas!
[Read more…]

An inside look at the Kuna – New issues for an emerging culture

Palm Trees at dusk

Dusk in the Kuna Yala

Here again to talk about why and how various rumor is about. Rumor about difficulties of operating yachts for trips in the San Blas (Kuna Yala). It is June 2012 and I was only this week again in the local congresso ‘hall’. (A quaint place where three or four ‘elders’ lay in hammocks and smoke, and presumably listen, but also every so often erupt into dialogue with no one in particular.)  There does seem to be a point to the proceedings somewhere, but any one discussion moves from one evening to the next with the focus being more on how much can be said on the matter. Still, where we come from perhaps we have learned impatience?

So some time in the past, like more than 2 years ago, a few island ‘cabana’ owners, or hotels as they call them too, became a little jealous that some visitors chose the relative comfort and freedom of seeing San blas from a yacht. Since the incumbent older congresso members appear to be unseat-able (or unhammockable) they eventually have felt pressured into speaking up on behalf of these hotel owners. (-by the way I have several hotel owner friends and allies out here) So – the way of all bogged down political structures, slowly more and more congresso members have defaulted to the line of least resistance and verbalized that maybe its better to discourage the yachts from operating here.

Thing is, all those Kuna people around me, that I see almost daily, include the most active younger business men, one of the customs officials who issues boating permits, several hotel owners, and families of congresso members not only poo-poo the subject (as in ‘its so much talk’) but in fact I do not know of any actual control mechanism with respect to which vessels are unwelcome. In fact on the contrary, they ask me when my next trip is!

We have a mixture of old style Kuna and new Kuna. So I said ‘new’ Kuna. That’s what’s happening in San Blas. The real progressives are making good lives in a stunning landscape. They are doing business. Of course, however these are the guys who try and find something of more value than settling into political positions and pointing fingers. As I say -they are doing business -not just putting their hands out for money. (I stop at naming the well know location) Rumors abound too. Like Guna Yala and Kuna Yala. Who wrote that on the web? None of these locals know anything about that.

Anyway, back to being here…these fellows I mix with do not show the resistance to gringos or yachtsmen or the like. As I see it they want to do business, not just put their hands out for money. (un-like some other well know locations). So what’s wrong with that?

Up to early last year I was operating yachts for trips in San Blas. This year I return with much bigger and more comfortable craft. Wow! It was nice. (but what is nice?) What is nice is that despite all the talk I am welcomed with my plans. I don’t really understand people who face open resistance? What of it? We run excellent trips here. We use the local transport. (and that’s also ‘nice’, these guys I knew who worked doing fairly menial stuff for me last year, now have their own lancha businesses. Wouldn’t you? )

So as an ex Civil Engineer I give the local Kuna people real technical help on their much needed water projects. Twenty thousand dollars and no design from a well meaning open sandaled, Europe based ‘fundacion’, is not going to work.  (Though I applaud the sentiments) It needs the correct grade of pipe to be used.

Anyway I am getting to the point soon………

…and the point is………..we do great trips in the (web rated) 5th most unspoiled place in the world. We do yacht trips of three, to whatever, days… tailored to suit your but also very ‘digestible’, since we offer several options like your choice ‘cabin fill’ or charter the whole boat. For digestible read ‘value for money’.  We do great trips and darn if I am not fazed by any talk.  (see above) Have you picked up and browsed Eric Bauhaus ‘Cruising guide to Panama’ recently? I have. Actually I use it every second hour. Why? Because it’s brilliant. Also because he is a pioneer and I like to go where the other yachtsmen don’t bother to read. Hey – German mapping! It’s like German engineering.

So come on out and join us!  We have many San Blas cruises available for this summer.  The San Blas is a magically wonderful place to experience – the idyllic coco-palm lined islands, tranquil and transparent blue seas, a culture of wonderfully friendly peoples, and memories that will last a lifetime.

Cheers and hope to see you soon!


Photos from a recent cruise

We checked in with Yacht Latina guests Mike and Martha Vuytowecz, Jamuna Berry, and Kara Patrick on their recent trip out to the San Blas Islands and were amazed by the photos they brought back.  The San Blas region never seizes to amaze me with how photogenic it is.  Here are a few highlights from their trip.  Let us know what you think…

San Blas Paddle Boarding

Paddle Boarding in the San Blas

Children in San Blas Islands

Children of the Islands

San Blas Outhouse

Anybody know what this is?

Kayak with Yacht Latina

Kayaking in the San Blas Islands

Lady Lu Image

Relaxing on the Lady Lu

Relaxing on deck

Relaxing on deck

Cultural visit to the islands

Cultural visit to the islands

Huts in the San Blas Islands

Huts in the San Blas Islands

Evening dining aboard Yacht Latina Cruise

Evening dining aboard Yacht Latina Cruise

Trolling at sunset

Trolling at sunset







Cuisine while cruising…


Girls with Lobster

Catch of the day

Check this out.  When we all thought it was quiet… out of the water comes the original and best lobster and crab from San Blas.  Just ask Randall, Angela, and Mari’ and Joana!  We have been lucky, and of course i put the poor – still live – creatures straight to their culinary heaven.

Well I don’t know if that’s what seafood thinks when it’s being put to the knife…but it sure tastes good.  Apart from the ‘regular’ seafood above we had on board some rather hefty bellied Bonito and several snapper in there various shades and species, with some large red snapper, soft crisp white flesh.  (i do the shellfish ‘al ajo dulce’ (con lima) and I like to do the whole line fish grilled, it all really works well)



crab dinner on cruise in san blas




Believe it or not another addition the Latina Lady Lu freezer this month was fresh Carti Prawns. Still wiggling in the bag as i pushed them into the icy depths of the freezer. Anyone feeling guilty yet?  I doubt it.  ha ha.



snapper fish

snapper dish


So what else has happened out San Blas?  Well my beloved yellow canoe took a beating in very strange circumstances and will need a major repair (here comes West Systems epoxy…) so I was very unhappy about that (Darn just after the coffee press incident and all)

All in all we had another really fun trip but was relieved to drop anchor back at Nalunega just in front of their great little beach and the ‘old’ Hotel San Blas…so i could take stock again. Very pleased about my man Eric and his team who’ll wisk you off in his brand new lancha directly from their ‘muelle’, just in front of our anchorage, out to jeep pickup  at Carti, and on to the city.


Panama City

Panama City


Talking about the city I have just arrived here for about 5 days to get specialized materials for Lady Lu, and took this great shot. I have to say the noisy hot city does grow on you and has some great aspects to it. Panama generally grows on you…come out and visit us.  Next trip from the 20th april. cheers for now.



Review from Yacht Latina guest Johan Risselborn – March 2012

Sun setting over San Blas Island Kuna Yala

San Blas Sunset

What was your favorite part about the cruise to San Blas islands?

“Everything. Hanging out with the crew, everybody helping being like a small family, snorkeling and going out to islands, just the general activites that you can have onboard. If everybody joins in and helps and plays along, people will surely have a great time. ”

What would you like to see changed or improved?

“Maybe the weather and some more big fishes when snorkeling! Other than that, nothing to complain about at all, had a great time”

Other comments about your trip?

”Yacht Latina claims they are the only one who runs this kind of [MotorYacht] option for San Blas – don’t miss this highlight”

-Johan Risselborn – March 2012

Lady Lu Has Arrived in Panama

Lady Lu has arrived from Honduras this week. We’ve been working hard getting her all stocked up and ready to go for her first San Blas charter.

Lady Lu will be making her inaugural boat trip, a 3 day, 2 night repositioning trip from Portobello down to the San Blas Islands.   There is limited space available!  Boat leaves Thursday March 1st and arrives in San Blas on Saturday March 3rd.  An optional 3rd night in the San Blas Islands is available.  Special discounted rate for this trip is $95/night per person (includes accommodations, water, snorkeling and gear, island visits, plus breakfast lunch and dinner each day).Itinerary:
Day 1 – Depart from Green Turtle Cay Marina at 10am , 6 hr cruise to san blas islands
Day 2 – Island exploring and kayaking west lemon keys
Day 3 – Snorkeling shipwreck at Isla de Pero, return to carti
*Day 4 – More Island cruising and beaches (optional)Other info:

See attached images of Lady Lu, a 63′ Goudy and Stevens classic motor yacht
Guests supply their own snacks and beverages
We can help arrange transportation to portobello and from carti

50% deposit to reserve via cash or Paypal
Agents welcome – just be sure to adjust fees accordingly
Interested? – Email Lita Huber to reserve your spaces – or by phone 6822-9714