Panama is a diverse country suited for tourists and adventure seekers alike.  For many visitors, Panama offers opportunities to explore the mountains, rivers, volcanos, and many land filled activities. But for those wanting to explore the world that lies below the country’s crystal blue waters, one can look no further than Santa Catalina

If you are an avid reader of PTY Life then you have probably heard of a little piece of paradise located in the Chiriqui province. It’s a quiet town, no parties, no major stores, a few restaurants, and hostels but mostly you, nature and the ocean. However, you and the ocean is all you need because every day the ocean puts on a show and, you can get front row seats. Sitting quietly next to Santa Catalina is the island of Coiba. A place that was once a prison is now a beautiful and very popular place for scuba diving and snorkeling.  

Crystal clear water in Coiba is perfect for snorkeling & diving

Whichever adventure you choose, you are sure to see an array of fish and sea turtles playing along the shores of Coiba. For those who want to explore the ocean life a little bit deeper, there are many options for scuba diving certification such as the Panama Dive Center.  Here you will be taught by highly trained and very caring staff and greeted by smiles and cups of warm tea and coffee.  

What is unique about getting certified in this area is that you can get real hands-on experience. In many programs it is common to start training in a swimming pool however in Santa Catalina you start your training in the ocean, amongst coral reefs, fish and giant manta rays. Granted training in open water is challenging with currents, underwater creatures, and no pool wall to hold on to if you get nervous. But this real-world experience will only make you a more competent diver. 

Keep in mind that Scuba diving is usually a two or three-day experience, and luckily there are many different options for places to stay.

Those looking for my privacy and comfort can stay at places such as Casa Maya, with comfortable rooms and suites and with a delicious breakfast serviced every morning you are sure to feel at home. 

For more of a backpacker’s vibe, one can stay at Villa Vento hotel, which is located on the main road just up the street from the dive center and close to many other dive centers as well. 

Playa Estero is where you’ll find all the surfers

So if you are planning your next trip to Panama and you want to experience something that will create a lifetime of memories, I say you have to go scuba diving. But of course, if scuba diving isn’t your thing you can grab a surfboard head over to the surfer’s side. Throughout the area, there are many great locations for surf including Playa Santa Catalina, and Playa Estero.  All in all Satana Catalina is your connection to nature, serenity, and ocean.

Kiersten Brown is a Travel Coach whose mission is to help women of color create their dream life by living in their dream country. You can get her free guide to living abroad here. Or follow her adventures on @kikimarieb15. Have an article, idea, opinion, tips, or just about anything else Panama related you would like to write about on PTY Life? Become a guest blogger like Kiersten by sending a message to hola@pty.life.

Kiersten Brown
Author

Kiersten Brown is a Travel Coach whose mission is to help women of color create their dream life by living in their dream country. You can get her free guide to living abroad here. Or follow her adventures on @kikimarieb15.

Leave a Reply