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Scuba Diving

missouri
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Scuba Diving

Does anyone been to Jimmy's Dive Resort? Is there anywhere to go diving that has a bunglow type place to stay. Not really wanting the "hotel" setting, but would like the scuba diving access on site.

Thanks.

Portland, OR
6 posts
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11. Re: Scuba Diving

Hi Andrew,

You seem to know so much about diving in Panama so I'm hoping you can give me some advice. We will be down there the end of July and have been reading lots of guide books and websites on dive sites. There are so many! We will only have about 10 days to travel outside Panama City so need to pick a few. Do you have recommendations for the best diving?

We have Isla Coiba, Islas Secas, Bocas, Baja Escribano, Pearl Islands, Portobelo, Los Santos/Pedasi in the Azuero Peninsula...

If you have any thoughts on how to limit I would very much appreciate it!

Jessica

Portland, Oregon

Panama City, Panama
Destination Expert
for Panama
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1,969 posts
6 reviews
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12. Re: Scuba Diving

Jessica,

Here's my thoughts on the areas you mention:

Isla Coiba: Probably the best overall diving for eastern Pacific - ranks with Cocos and Galapagos in terms of marine life as it's part of the same underwater mountain chain. You can dive out of Santa Catalina on day trips, sometimes you can get on a multi-day trip based at the ranger station on the island itself. Check with the dive shops in Santa Catalina or Panama Divers.

Islas Secas: The resort has closed down after the death of the owner in a plane crash last Christmas. But you could dive here out of Isla Boca Brava/Boca Chica - with other decent diving nearby at Los Ladrones etc. Sylvia Earle dove here and said it was some of the best diving she had seen - so that's saying something.

Bocas: Mixed diving, I wasn't all that impressed but I don't think we were taken to the good spots. Check with Starfleet Scuba who do a good job and have explored opened up new sites.

Baja Escribano: Reachable from Coral Lodge which is a great place, they have their own dive shop now. Not cheap but worth I think. This reef has hardly been explored, I want to take a week off and help the lodge explore but can't find the time. I think this is probably the best diving on the Caribbean side. Rainy season is the best time to dive this side.

Pearl Islands: Mixed diving, not sure who is operating out there now. Water can be very clear and decent amounts of life but not as teeming as Coiba.

Portobelo: Good for training dives, the reefs can be sedimented from river run off, experienced divers would not find it too interesting after one or two days.

Los Santos/Pedasi in the Azuero Peninsula: Exposed coast, there are a couple of smaller islands that people dive around but not an extensive area to explore.

I would put my top spots in this order:

1) Coiba

2) Escribanos

3) Isla Boca Brava and area (Islas Secas and Los Ladrones)

Hope this helps,

Andrew

Portland, OR
6 posts
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13. Re: Scuba Diving

Thank you so much Andrew! What a great and informative post. I wish we had longer to explore. Haven't even been yet and I'm already planning a return visit.

Take care,

Jessica

Panama City, Panama
Destination Expert
for Panama
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1,969 posts
6 reviews
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14. Re: Scuba Diving

We've lived here over 10 years and still haven't been able to explore it all!!!!

Cheers,

Andrew

Portland, OR
6 posts
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15. Re: Scuba Diving

Hi Andrew,

After doing some checking with Panama Divers it looks like we're running into problems. First, they only dive Coiba on 3 night/four day trips and have to have six people. So I am looking into other companies who run day trips from Santa Catalina - do you happen to know of any that you recommend?

Second, they don't seem to be going to Escribano even though their website says they are. They keep suggesting Portobelo, which we had been thinking about anyway. I looked at Coral Lodge and I think it's out of our price range, unfortunately. We are still thinking about it, but do you happen to know if we could dive with Coral Lodge's dive center if we were staying somewhere else, assuming there is somewhere else to stay in the area?

Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide! Really appreciate your help.

Jessica

Panama City, Panama
Destination Expert
for Panama
Level Contributor
1,969 posts
6 reviews
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16. Re: Scuba Diving

Hi Jessica,

I haven't dived with the Santa Catalina shops yet but I think they are both decent.

There's really nowhere else close by to stay near Coral Lodge - that's what makes it unique and why Escribanos is relatively unexplored.

Portobelo is okay and if you can get out to the outer dive sites then as against the near shore sites like Drakes and the Airplane then you will have better diving.

Cheers,

Andrew

Portland, OR
6 posts
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17. Re: Scuba Diving

Hi Andrew,

Well, we finally decided that a splurge was in order and were thinking of the Coral Lodge that you mentioned so that we could dive Escribano. I've emailed them three times and gotten no response (yet to call b/c of cost). Is this common? It's definitely making me rethink staying there, but I don't think there's anything else there. We had been deciding between Bocas and Kuna Yala so now we might end up in Bocas.

Anyway, just wondering if email is not common, or not commonly responded to.

Thanks for your help.

Best,

Jessica

Panama City, Panama
Destination Expert
for Panama
Level Contributor
1,969 posts
6 reviews
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18. Re: Scuba Diving

Hi Jessica,

That's not usual, I was actually at their office on Friday... and Ursula is very good at getting back to people.

I sent to travel agents out there early last week for a familiarization visit and they loved it.

Send me the details of when you want to go (PM them to me or email me to the email in my profile) and I will contact Ursula directly.

We will be starting to represent them soon, so it's no problem for me to help you out...

Cheers,

Andrew

19. Re: Scuba Diving

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