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Good News! Carti Road Reopens!

Ok, first the good news:

The Carti Road is reopened as of Sunday the 27th of March to tourist traffic. For awhile there, we thought it was never going to happen. And it could not have happened a moment too soon.

Now for some not so good news:

The Kuna Congreso (their tribal government) has decided that tourist traffic in and out of Carti needed to be more “controlled” and regulated more than it had been prior to the atrocious rains and mudslides that forced the road to be closed back in December 2010.

During this shutdown, which was clearly due to natural circumstances, it was decided to be a good time to instill new policies and controls on the road for when they were going to reopen it for tourism. Despite the fact that the road was fully passable back in mid-January, the Congreso seemed insistent that the road was still “unsafe” for tourist passengers. Even though it was apparently considered safe for the Kuna themselves and supplies that were being transported in and out with little or no problems the whole time. They did announce that the road would reopen to tourist traffic “fairly soon”, and even threw out some dates, however unofficially. First it was around February 20th, then it was March 1st, then it was March 15th, and so on. But the dates would come and go with nothing happening.

Finally, without any fanfare or advance notice, it was haphazardly announced the road was open as of March 27th. But not without a few new rules. Essentially the new rules, which are still being clarified, takes much of the coordinating ability out of our hands. And we are not all that happy about that, of course, but it is what it is. Everything should still be manageable and fairly painless to travelers, at least that’s what we hope.

We are still getting the details of the process worked out, and will email our guests on upcoming trips everything they need to know regarding this option. For at least the next trip or two, we will keep them going out to San Blas via air, until we are sure of everything.

While we’re happy that the road is indeed finally open, the changes to how transportation will be coordinated and planned over the road adds some new logistical challenges. The changes add a new layer of planning to getting our guests out to San Blas via the Carti road. Most of which will be borne by the guest rather than us. Understand that whatever the process is, it will all still be worth it. Just remember that things may be cumbersome and not without some unnecessary hassles and delays, especially in the initial weeks of the reopening.

I will be updating the site information and our FAQ page to reflect these new developments as well as our new air add-on option VERY shortly.

In closing, the biggest problem I have with the new developments is that we lose most of our ability to plan and coordinate guests’ transportation in any real manner. The onus will be more on the guest to make arrangements via the new procedure, and to get to Carti on time for the sailing trip. We will gladly assist as much as possible, no worries there.

All this said, let me say that overall the flight route we’ve been forced to utilize since December has been INCREDIBLY effective, both cost and time-wise in my opinion, and quite reliable for the most part. It’s a very scenic half-hour flight, and you’re in the islands. No sweat. There is no argument that utilizing the air option is money EXTREMELY well-spent. For what amounts to about an extra $40 each way. It will also give you greater flexibility and choice vs. the road route and the new system.

If you want to save yourself some logistical hassles take our recommendation and fly! Make no mistake about it, it will be worth it. More details about our air add-on option is on our San Blas Sailing Trips Page!

Any questions or comments? Please post here or email us!

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