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“Scuba heaven”

Ranked #137 of 350 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.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Scuba heaven”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 2, 2014

We were in Santa Catalina for 3 days. Having witnessed heavy rain in the Caribbean side, Santa Catalina provided a welcome break. We lodged at Oasis, it's one of 2 hotels/ hostels by the sea. Other hotels are a lot inward so you have to walk 15 mins to get to the beach.
Santa Catalina is a surfers paradise, for sure. I had recently got my Scuba certification from Roatan, Honduras, and was told diving in Coiba National Park is a charm. We booked with Panama Dive Center. It was a 90 minute boat ride and we did 3 dives throughout the day. Maximum depth we went to was 81 feet. Throughout the day we saw sharks (about 30 of these), turtles swimming across, moray eagles, mantra rays and lots of marine life. Water was blue and crystal clear. We stopped for lunch at Coiba island and the beach is amazing- white sandy beach with blue water. Was a whole day trip, we set off at 8.30 and was back by 4pm. Definitely worth it and recommend it- although it is a bit pricey at $170 per person, but lunch, gear and transportation is included.

Visited January 2014
3 Thank Aveek G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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47 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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English first
Kralendijk, Bonaire
Level Contributor
107 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Surfside inn”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 3, 2013

Santa Catalina is a laid back small surfers town on the Pacific side of Panama. We stayed in the Surfers Inn. The hosts were just fantastic and were wiling to help with everything. We were unlucky - due to the heavy rainfall the trip to Coiba was cancelled and since the weather forecast was not very good we decided to leave. Our advice is not to go in October/November and to go in the whaleshark season.

Visited November 2013
1 Thank Marijke W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orosei, Italy
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Pamanas Surfer and Diver paradise”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 21, 2013

Santa Catalina is a very small town on the southern tip of the Veraguas Penisula, west of Santiago.
Here you will find Panamas best waves for surfers and the Coiba Marine Park, a real paradise for scuba divers and snorkelers. Scuba Diving and Snorkeling at the dive sites at Isa Coiba means the close encounter with whale sharks, giant manta rays, white tip sharks and turtles. It takes about one hour boat ride over there and the the fun begins, after the first dive/snorkel you usually check-in at the ranger station and will have lunch - don't forget to bring your own lunch! - and after a relaxing stay on thes tropical paradise beach you will do a second dive/snorkel on a different location and hide home then.
Coiba Dive Center organize 2/3 night stays on the simple bungalows on Coiba and you will have the possibilities to dive the most remote places rarely visited.

Visited February 2013
1 Thank ChrigelKarrer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
631 reviews
279 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 474 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2013

I enjoyed the atmosphere and quiet of Santa Catalina, Panama. However, after the bus dropped me and my friend off, we had to hike to our hotel. This is a great place to stay for a few nights if you like peace and quiet with minimum tourism. I enjoyed the seafood plates prepared, there is a local supermarket to buy food (if you wish to cook), beer, water, and soft drinks. The restaurants in the area are all fairly priced. I would come here again but with an automobile. I would call it a nice weekend get away from everyone and everything.

Visited August 2012
1 Thank Easylivingtravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
El Palmar, Panama
Level Contributor
87 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Santa Catalina”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 1, 2013

Only stayed for two nights - way too short - very relaxing end of the road treasure. Planning another trip for January for Coiba and sailing...can't wait!

Visited March 2013
1 Thank Carmen I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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