Panama Dive Center
Panama Dive Center
5
Scuba & SnorkellingShark DivingAdrenaline & Extreme ToursBoat ToursDolphin & Whale Watching
6:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
6:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
6:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
6:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
6:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
6:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
6:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
6:30 AM - 6:00 PM
About
At Panama Dive Center, we offer trips for certified divers as well as all PADI courses in Coiba National Park. As the first 5-Star PADI Dive Resort in Santa Catalina, we take pride in offering exceptional diving experiences. Coiba National Park features some of the most breathtaking landscapes imaginable, both above and below the surface and we focus on bringing you closer to the magic that lies underneath, while also taking breaks on the stunning beaches found on many of the parks islands.
Santa Catalina, Panama
Meets animal welfare guidelines

Awards
Travelers' Choice
2024

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(96 reviews)

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles960 reviews
Excellent
901
Very good
42
Average
8
Poor
4
Terrible
5

TravelMika
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
We did a full day 3 tank Dive Tour with them and we can highly recommend it! The staff was friendly and very professional, the equipment was good. Coiba is really impressive! Our Dive Guide Cedric also gave us feedback about our diving and tips to improve our skills. Also the boat helper Nelson did a great job, he prepared our equipment and always had an eye on everybodys self-check and reminded If one forgot anything.
I will not tell what we saw underwater :) of cause they cannot promise you to see a special species during your dive but yeah... we saw it :D
Thanks a lot to everbody!
Written February 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Swiss3rinhO
Esslingen am Neckar, Germany118 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Friends
During our Panama Trip we made the decision to go to Santa Catalina for diving. Two guys of us did the Advanced Open Water qualification and one the Open Water. Reservations for diving and courses are mandatory and can be booked via the official homepage as well as via email. The stuff is very friendly and supportive and reaction time was very quick. Prices for two fun dives per day were USD 140 and separate bottle was USD 20. General entrance fee to Coiba National Park is USD 20 per day which is not included in the general diving costs.
Courses started at about 7 am in the morning. Especially, the instructors Kat, Kim and Cedric were amazing. We learned a lot and developed ourselves further.
Generally, the underwater world of Coiba is beautiful. You can see many different kind of reef fish, sharks, turtles and rays. One of the most craziest highlights were the whale sharks pretty close to us!
In case you are interested in certification or even fun dives, we can highly recommend the Panama Dive Center.
Written January 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Isaac B
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
My wife and I completed our open water dive course with Panama Dive center followed by a couple more days of guided diving. Amazing experience all around. Our dive instructor (Cedric) explained concepts well and communicated very effectively both under and above the water. The teaching did not feel rushed and he made sure that we both were competent in all exercises before moving on. Cedric then served as our dive guide for the next two days and was excellent at optimizing the dive times and locations for maximal experiences of underwater life. We saw whale sharks, Manta rays, stingrays, sea horses, loads of white tipped reef sharks, and a staggering volume of other reef fish, eels, and other ocean life. The other staff we interacted with at the dive center (guide Kat for one) were all very welcoming, friendly and worked hard to make our trip fun and memorable.
Written March 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cristina Maria
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
First of all, diving in Santa Catalina is in itself a treat. For me, it was definitely the best diving area I have ever dived in. That being said and being pretty lazy to write reviews, I cannot thank enough Panama Dive Center for the wonderful experience they had offered to me.
I dived in many places and surely there were very good diving centres, but this one here... was something like flawless. Everything explain to the smallest detail that helped us having a much better experience, very personalised service, very few people for each instructor (like in my case almost private instructor); very friendly people, very good equipment.
And Kat, my dive instructor was so amazing!!! She put so much energy in showing us the beauty of Coiba National Parc and was like an amazing guide in a national park looking for animals. Everything was so organised with her as there were no doubts at all. Animals were there but it was easier to see them with her. I was honest when I told her I just experienced the best dive of my life. Twice!
On the last dive, i think we spent 20-30 mins in the company of whale sharks. There were at least 3, as we saw 3 at the same time. They were curious and were also swimming around us. I am not sure you can live the same but Coiba offers amazing possibilities.
Panama Dive Center was extremely professional, friendly and passioned about their activity and offered an experience to remember at least a lifetime!
Written February 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

cjane99
Washington DC, DC63 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021
We had a wonderful experience diving with Panama Dive Center. The owners answered all of our questions beforehand via email and the dives themselves were awesome. Cedric was a great guide, making sure we kept together as a group and that we were being safe with air consumption. He also took his time during the dive to point our marine life, and after the dive to help us log all of the animals we saw! The boat ride was beautiful and the surface interval on the island was relaxing. I'd recommend doing 3 dives and making the most of the day. We did two days and enjoyed the variety of sites around Coiba. We'd definitely dive with them again if we return to Santa Catalina!
Written April 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Impresionist
Panama City, Panama119 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2021 • Solo
I have dived in most places in Panàma and this is my third in Coiba and my first with Panàma Dive Centre.

I changed because I found the equipment fairly tired in the previous place.

I am a divemaster and I have nothing but praise for this very professional fit-out. Camilo and Sabina run a very disciplined centre. The equipment is brand new, the reservation app works perfectly and you are verified prior to arrival. All your equipment is ready and marked.
The team is really professional and friendly. All the briefs are very clear...Nothing is a problem. Cherry on the cake we saw whale-sharks two of the three days! What more can one ask for:)
Written March 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Tony, estoy casi seguro que has sido tu quien ha puesto este comentario. Te agradezco de corazón el apoyo y compania durante estos dias que pasamos aca,... la fiesta incluida hahahaha Un abrazo y espero que nos veamos pronto de nuevo.
Written April 3, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Crystal W
New York City, NY2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022
I dove with Panama Dive Center at the end of February and it was a great experience. I was a bit nervous since I have never dove in the Pacific before but everyone was extremely friendly and professional. All of the equipment was prepared beforehand and double checked the morning of. It was a full day experience, with three dives and lunch included. Jose, who led the dive, was really knowledgeable about the sites and told us exactly what to expect. He was also really quick in responding when anyone had an issue in the water. The dives themselves were great. There was so much life (a huge school of barracuda, a bunch of white tipped sharks, octopi, etc). The island where we stopped for lunch was also gorgeous (fine white sand, different shades of blue water, islands around).

Everyone at the dive shop was also incredibly friendly outside of diving. My friends and I had arrived in Santa Catalina without accommodation, not realizing that it was carnival weekend and that all places were booked out. Sabina lent us tents and directed us to a place where we could camp.

I 100% recommend diving with this shop and will definitely be returning the next time I am in Santa Catalina.
Written March 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KUO
Germany27 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022 • Solo
Great professional dive center with small group of maximal divers on a boat. I love the breaks at different beautiful beaches in between the dives. Saw even a ‘baby’ crocodile at one.

Both dive instructor Kat and Jose are amazing, great briefings and you feel safe. Plus great guides to show you as much as possible under water, we saw seahorse, turtles, the smallest nudibranch I have seen so far (half a small finger nail!), a lot of octopus of which one was a national geographic documentary worth experience with changing colours while teased by two larger fishes poking him… amazing!

Definitely will come back and dive with them as I couldn’t go to Contreras this time.

Also I recommend to reserve your dive spots at least one week ahead of your arrival through their website. I couldn’t go the first time when I was at Santa Catalina as everything was fully booked already and I came back after two weeks traveling again, this time reserved.
Written April 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ottawac2c
Ottawa, Ontario38 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Solo
First time visit to Panama and chose Santa Catalina because of access to Coiba National Park. One of the best dive locations in the world. Booked three dives and Nitro Certification course with Panama Dive Centre - the best dive shop in Santa Catalina. Thanks to Gabor, Cedric, Kay, Kim, Eva and all the other guides and interns - Sabina, you have a great team.

Each day starts with the statement about not setting your expectations to high - you can’t expect to see a whale shark but you will see lots of interesting stuff. Ended up seeing whale sharks on almost every dive (5 at one time on last dive!). The guides made sure that everyone dove safely to their limit and got as much out of each dive as possible.

Looking forward to my next visit.
Written February 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Enrique B
Panama City, Panama58 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • Couples
This was our greatest diving experience ever.
It began with a friendly and smiling staff who took care of all our needs. They even helped us check our own equipment in order to be sure that everything would go smoothly underwater.
The diving instructor gave us a thorough briefing of the day's program and went pretty much into every possible detail.
We made 3 dives, during which we had the opportunity of seeing all sort of rays (even a manta!), tons of white tip sharks, turtles, morray eels, barracudas, and nothing less than a couple of whale sharks! All in all, an unforgettable experience.
We highly and warmheartedly recommend this option if you decide to visit Coiba National Park in Panama.
Written March 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Panama Dive Center - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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