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“5th stay in Coiba”

Coiba Island National Park
Book In Advance
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$160.00*
and up
Full-Day Diving for Beginners at Coiba National Park
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$1,300.00*
and up
One Day Offshore Fishing Trip in Santiago
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 6, 2013

I visited Coiba first time in 2008 after i was reading some good reviews.
Santa Catalina - the getaway to Isla Coiba - was then a tiny town,
no Internet, frequent power failures and a few cabinas and small hotels.
Santa Catalina is well known for two reasons:
1: World Class surfing and probably the best surfing in Panama
2: Access to Isla Coiba National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site

The boat ride to Isla Coiba is about 45 minutes to 1 hour and usually you do a snorkel/dive tour on the way, move then to the pristine beach where the Ranger Station is and after lunch a second snorkel or dive on another site. and then hide back to Santa Catalina.

Isla Coiba has at the Ranger Stations some 6/8 bed cabins to rent and some of the dive operators offer multi night stays directly on Coiba. The reason for that is that staying on the island it is possible to reach the more remote snorkeling/dive sites of the Islands around Coiba.

I was this year lucky that Coiba Dive Center - the dive center i always dove with - already planned a trip during my stay in Santa Catalina, so i could join the party.
We stayed 3 days and spent 2 night on Coiba, staying in one of the Buildings just on the beach. Julie from Coiba Dive Center was leading the trip with the help of a cook, the boat captain and the snorkel guide. Their service was absolutely perfect, tasty and abundant food was always ready when we came back, they set up at 2 a.m. a power generator to run the ventilators in our rooms as the power on the Ranger Station failed and Julie lead the dives with her long experience diving the Coiba National Park.
Visibility ranged between 45 and 60 feet and water temp between 75 and 85 but the incredible amount of marine life was again and once more unbelievable. Unfortunately we could spot no whale sharks and manta rays while diving - last year in same time of year i saw plent of them, but hey come and go - but the dives and days in Santa Catalina and Coiba where simply great and Coiba Dive Center did their work professional and with a incredible knowledge.
Sleeping on Coiba was a very nice experience and i will do it certainly again.
Staying on Coiba is not a 5 star resort, you will sleep in 6-8 bed rooms and have to share the small bathrooms, but dawn and dusk on Coiba, fullmoon over the bay and the great, remote dive sites make the simple but clean accommodations more than worth.

8  Thank ChrigelKarrer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (139)
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65 - 69 of 139 reviews

Reviewed March 2, 2013

In February I spent three nights there with a tour company. First, beware! If you read the reviews, you will read that at least one cruise ship company makes a day stop there. When that happens, the beach and services are swamped with cruise passengers and cruise staff!

The generator is not working. There are no fans in the room. The nights can be extremely hot in an airless room. I did not meet one staff person who smiled. Each group is responsible for their own food and prep of same. There are multiple groups who come so one night we were bumped from the lighted eating area and ate in the dark. Some of us had head lanterns.

If you come for the day, you have a three-hour round trip from Santiago. If the waters are not rough, this is ok. If they are rough, the ride will not be pleasant.

3  Thank cecilia k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2013

We visited Coiba in February as part of a small group with Tanager Tourism. It was a terrific experience, one I highly recommend. Coiba was in fact one of the most amazing places either of us has been to, so remote, so beautiful, and remarkably pristine. We stayed on the island for two nights, and the ANAM bunkhouses were basic but comfortable and the setting in the area where you stay was low-key and relaxing. The boat rides to and from the mainland were great as well (and a terrific way to get a sense of that part of the coastline), as were the boat trips around the island and to smaller islets and snorkeling spots. There are few trails on the island, but they were great for exploring; and each place we snorkeled we remarkably had entirely to ourselves! As avid birders and snorkelers, the terrestrial and marine life that drew us there did not disappoint. I should mention that neither of us typically participates in group tours when we travel, but this was a great and logistically simple way to visit Coiba (it would have been hard for us to get there independently), and the style of the tour was ideal for us. My only regret was I wish I could have stayed a week!

2  Thank artemisia575
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2013

We spent a night at the rustic cabins at the ANAM station. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the cabins! The one we had contained 6 beds for dorm style accomodations in a realitively clean environment. The toilet in our room was not working properly, so we used the public facilities in the middle of the beach area. They were also clean and fully functional. After a few warnings about how rustic things were, my expectations were well exceeded.
There are also white-faced moneys that come in the jungle behind the kitchen on the opposite side of the beach from the dock. There is a little museum you can walk through which talks about the park. There is a dock that you can walk out on. It is a little run down, so be careful.
Overall we were very happy here, and the diving around the island was amazing!

3  Thank JGG112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2013

Our Cruise ship ferried us to this beach for a barbeque. The beach looked very nice and the water was crystal clear. people enjoyed the snorkeling.

The beach our ship used had minimal facilities for a barbeque. It was like going to a small lack in NJ that you pay $ 5 for a car load of people. This complaint is all about the cruise ship.

It was popular to hike to the top peak about 45 minutes. great views and wildlife.

1  Thank fnct
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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