We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Decent diving but....” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Coiba Dive Center

Coiba Dive Center
Calle Principal (Main Street), Santa Catalina, Panama
+507 6780-1141
Website
Improve this listing
Certificate of Excellence 2014
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Best Diving in Panama. Coiba Dive Center is located in the heart of Santa Catalina, Panama, just a one-hour boat ride to world class diving. Coiba National Park has been described by many as the "New Galapagos" and the "New Cocos," Isla Coiba is by far the best diving Panama has to offer.
Dallas
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Decent diving but....”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2012

The day before I was going to go diving a bad storm blew through. When I dropped off my dive gear I asked Glen, the shop owner, what the forecast was for the next day and he treated me like it was a stupid question. Being the safety sort, I wasn't enthralled with the attitude and didn't want to be out in one of their little panga boats in high wind and seas. I really didn't like the attitude -- it was clear he sent people out no matter what.

We lucked out and had great weather -- a little rain, but calm wind and seas. The diving was good and the divemaster Luis did a great job. Easy going dives where he pointed out as much stuff as he could. Lunch on Coiba Island was interesting.

I suggest you bring your own bottled water. They had water in bottles but they were already open and I suspect filled from the tap. If you're doing a day trip get a box lunch at the Panaderia. I don't see the logic of paying an extra $100 to stay in a dormitory on the island and get very basic food and would also sugget day trips instead of the overnight on the island -- but that's just my opinion...

I spoke to a few people who really love Coiba Dive Center and have had good experiences with them.

It was $145 for 3 dives and they charge an extra 5% if you want to put it on a charge card.

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

62 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    39
    8
    11
    2
    2
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Coiba is incredible, but go with another shop”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2012

While Coiba Dive Center offers a larger and more modern-looking dive shop than others in Santa Catalina, the quality of the actual dive trips is really poor. While there are some seemingly friendly faces on staff, the owners have the worst customer service and attitudes towards their guests, who come from far away and pay heft amounts to dive beautiful Coiba National Park. Their boats aren't even equipped with the basic emergency gear that their website boasts, either, such as oxygen. My suggestion is spend your hard earned money elsewhere since there are other, equally priced and much more friendly shops in town offering quality trips into Coiba.

Visited May 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
308 reviews 308 reviews
76 attraction reviews
Reviews in 119 cities Reviews in 119 cities
113 helpful votes 113 helpful votes
“awseome snorkeling”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2012

We saw some really beautiful fish in large numbers. The highlight was seeing a sea turtle swim by. 2 people in our group did SCUBA and said it was the best diving in all of central america. We went in the water 3 times and saw tons of colorful fish each time. The stop on Coiba Island was nice, its really a beautiful island. My only complaint is the multiple stings from the many tiny jellyfish (medusas in spanish) that are floating through out the water on of the dive sites. I received dozens of tiny stings, and they put a damper on the rest of my Panama vacation as they became increasingly itchy and some painful. When I climbed back onto the boat and told our guide, he just nodded knowingly. I would have worn a wet suit to prevent the stings if one had been offered to me. Overall, yes, I recommend this company, as the snorkeling was first class.

Visited June 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Amazing 3 day/2night snorkeling adventure!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2012

Big thanks to Julie, Pedro, Kenny, Rosie & the rest of the crew, who helped make the trip my highlight of Panama. I chose the snorkeling option while my friends did the diving. The water visibility was amazing and had the opportunity to swim with whale sharks, white tip reef sharks, rays & a huge abundance of fish/sea life! We stayed on Coiba Island in the evenings & would make several pitt stops throughout the day for a quick break on a secluded island to an afternoon beer on another island before venturing back. The food was excellent. Julie's passion about the marine life was refreshing, especially at how passionate she was about not disturbing the sea animals & keeping the area clean! Definitely worth doing the 3 day tour, and they even did it outside the scheduled dates to co-incide with our timeframe! I will definitely be back, when returning to Panama! Thanks again guys!

Visited January 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Coiba Dive Center also viewed

Santa Catalina, Veraguas Province
Santa Catalina, Veraguas Province
 
Santa Catalina, Veraguas Province
Santa Catalina, Veraguas Province
 

Been to Coiba Dive Center? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Coiba Dive Center, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.