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“Surfside Inn and Santa Catalina”

Ranked #149 of 356 things to do in Panama
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Attraction details
Owner description: Due to its world-class wave action, this beach is a popular spot for experienced surfers.
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Surfside Inn and Santa Catalina”
Reviewed February 11, 2013

We just returned from Panama a week ago and can't wait to go again. Santa Catalina was such an unexpected treasure that our 4 days quickly turned into 8. This is not the place to be unless you enjoy a tiny, tranquil, seaside town with few amenities and enjoy walking in very hot conditions for supplies. We loved it for all the reason above and many more! We stayed at the Surfside Inn with the most amazing view of the ocean possible. It was alittle out of our budget but we made up the difference by using their well-equipped kitchen and eating at the "chicken man's" stand "downtown". He offered a plate of chicken and plaintains for $3 which was enough to fill us up on a budget. I am hesitant to write a review as I hate to see this beautiful town become a tourist destination that it is destined to be. All the ingredients are there. We hope to return before that happens.

Visited January 2013
4 Thank lovinglifeColorado
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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48 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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Austin, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
77 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed November 11, 2012

I dove with Panama Divers 4 days and was very pleased! They appeared professional, accomodating, and knew the waters.
I orginally made arrangements with Coiba Dive Center, but was berated by Glen when I didn't show up for a trip they scheduled but didn't let me know about. Last email: nothing confirmed.
Panama Divers chose dive sites according to the level of divers on the boat. The boat carried O2, which was explained. They take snorklers, also, who had their own guide, radios etc.
Freddy was excelent with divers that had not been for a while, and anxious.
I would defintiely dive with them again.

Visited November 2012
2 Thank bmax101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Surfside Inn”
Reviewed May 25, 2012

May 11-19, 2012. We stayed on the second floor (middle room) at the Surfside Inn and we felt as though we had the best room in all of Santa Catalina! The room was large (2 beds,private bath) very clean, and had a regular size fridge which was very convenient! Due to the other two rooms not having been rented, we were able to have the terrace to ourselves. The view of the point was amazing and if you plan on surfing the point, it's an ideal location to stay! It's also only a short walk to Estero beach for beginners.The staff was so kind and helpful (A big thank you to Erika, Alex and Kelly!) They kept the grounds/rooms very clean, there's also a community kitchen which was well kept, and they always have a pot of free coffee brewed each morning. You can't go wrong booking with Surfside Inn

Colorado, USA

Visited May 2012
10 Thank dawn v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
grand junction, colorado
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Love this wave. And the diving. And the town's nice too.”
Reviewed February 24, 2012

Catalina is spread out, don't expect a tight little town center right beside the waves. It's either hot long walks or hitchhikes, or a rental car or bike. The locals sometimes use horses. But feet work just fine, its just takes longer. The place is not first-world, don't expect anything fancy like hot water. You go here for the ocean.

There's quite a few places to stay, many of them owned and run by ex-pats and other non-locals. Many are overpriced dumps, but our experience and others we spoke with agreed that Surfer's Paradise is the best deal, the kindest folks, and the best view and location of all of them. It's locally owned and the ex-pro surfer Italo and his wife welcome you as if into their own home (which it actually is.) It's simple but comfortable.

The restaurants vary from pricier tourist places ($12-25) to local spots ($3-6). It's good food. There's not much happening as far as a grocery store, so come prepared if you want snacks and such. It's a bonus that the water is safe to drink right out of the tap.

Check out Coiba island. It's in the same chain as the Galapagos and is amazing. I got to dive with whale sharks! Truly mind-blowing.

Just go. You'll be glad you did.

Visited December 2011
6 Thank travelerz17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Favourite find in Panama!”
Reviewed October 24, 2011

Santa Catalina is a gem of a place. Small, cozy, full of character - you have amazing surf for both experienced and beginner suffers. There are lots of small, adorable accommodation options: we stayed at the Buena Vida and loved it. It was so cute and well designed and Mike was a great help! The town has some AMAZING restaurants that you wouldn't expect to find there - my personal favourite was the adorable Jamming Pizzeria. And finally, for divers and snorkellers - the sea-life off of Coiba is just incredible.

Santa Catalina is a must visit if you're passing through Panama.

Visited November 2010
1 Thank PinguWingu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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