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Dive Review of Scuba Coiba in
Panama/Coiba National Park

Scuba Coiba: "Accommodating service and a great dive experience in Coiba", Jan, 2020,

by Keith Willmott, FL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 8 Helpful votes). Report 11446 has 5 Helpful votes.

Photos Submitted with this Report


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Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations N/A Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Our second trip to Coiba National Park with Scuba Coiba – we did 2 dives in June 2018, and 4 dives in January 2020. We dived around Isla Canales (about 1 hour 15 mins from Santa Catalina) and just opposite the ranger station on Coiba island. Most dives were at around 20-25 m, with varying terrain consisting of sandy plains, rubble, rocky slopes, crevices, boulders and canyons. Fish life around Canales in particular was spectacular, huge, motionless shoals of fish, including Yellow Snapper, Big-eye Jack, Razor Surgeonfish, Blackfin Barracuda. Plenty of white-tip sharks on most dives, typically resting on the bottom or hiding in crevices, plus several moray species, octopus, variety of shelled molluscs. The steeper-sided rocks and canyon walls were usually covered with small but colorful sponges, with a few small fan corals. Visibility was around 15 m and the sea temperature in January was unusually warm, around 27 degrees C, not dissimilar from our visit in June when it is apparently usually warmer, wetter and with lower visibility. We reached the sites in the Cataliniña, a fiberglass boat with shaded top but otherwise few facilities. Scuba Coiba were very relaxed and easy to deal with, we can’t thank them enough for accommodating various changes in plan and fitting in some members of our party who decided to snorkel rather than dive – they were dropped off on wonderful deserted beaches nearby while we dived. Dive guides were also knowledgeable about the local sites and easygoing. The park is spectacular, and not too crowded although there were quite a few other boats when we were there given it was New Year holiday. In Santa Catalina we stayed at Vista Coiba villas, wonderful sunset views, great food, very friendly. We rented a car in Panama city, it's about a 5 hr drive to Santa Catalina. Avis failed to provide the car we initially reserved, fortunately Budget came to the rescue, found a car and gave us a clear price, recommended we get an $8 phone chip so we could use waze, an invaluable guide to the ludicrous number of speed traps on the Panamerican highway.
Websites Scuba Coiba   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Florida, Belize, Panama (Coiba, Pearl Is), UK, Red Sea (Sharm), Myanmar, Sulawesi (Wakatobi), Philippines (Mindoro, Palawan), Solomons (Guadalcanal), New Zealand (Poor Knights), Papua New Guinea
Closest Airport Panama City Tocumen Getting There Rented car from Budget in Panama City, about 5 hour drive to Santa Catalina.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 27-27°C / 81-81°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 12-15 M / 39-49 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Keep with dive leader and begin ascent surface when on 1000 psi.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available?

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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