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Things To Do


Santa Catalina offers an array of activities from some of the best surfing in Panama to exceptional fishing, scuba diving and more. This quaint little village is also home to a wonderful community with a mix of local artisans and expats from all over the world.

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Things To Do


Santa Catalina offers an array of activities from some of the best surfing in Panama to exceptional fishing, scuba diving and more. This quaint little village is also home to a wonderful community with a mix of local artisans and expats from all over the world.

Looking for an adventure?

You've come to the right place!

Continue scrolling to learn about the various adventure opportunities here in santa catalina!

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Coiba National Park


Coiba National Park


AN underwater world

Coiba National Park is an UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site and a must see while you are in PANAMA.  Coiba is located just 37 kilometers (23 miles) from our shores, making Santa Gatalina the gateway to the national park.  This ecologically rich archipelago includes over 1,687 square miles of both marine and jungle habitat. Spanning over 430,000 hectares in all, makes it one of the world’s largest marine parks.  Due to the influence of five major currents, this region named, “The Tropical Eastern Pacific” is rich with nutrients and abundant with larger fish and greater numbers of fish than are found in most other locations around the world.  Snorkeling you can expect to see reef sharks, sea turtles, eels, puffers, parrot and many other colorful tropical fish.  Diving allows opportunity to see other rare species such as sea horses, frog fish and spotted eagle rays.

Whale sharks are commonly seen by both divers and snorkelers from December through March.  Humpback whales are seen in migratory route from August to November.  They both mate and give birth in this area.  It is not uncommon to see a female humpback with a newborn calf.

On land some up to 147 bird species can be seen including 21 endemic species and rare birds such as the Crested Eagle, the Coiba Spinetail and the Brown-backed Dove plus many other sub species.  In addition, Coiba National Park serves to protect it’s population of Scarlet Macaws which is nearly extinct form its mainland habitat, thus making it nationally endangered.

There are a total of 36 species of mammals, many of which are unique to the park as well, such as the Coiba Island Agouti and the Mantled Howler Monkey.  We hope you will visit this Panamanian gem during your visit.

The following are links to REPUTABLE dive shops who arrange
tours with a focus on diving and snorkeling:

http://panamadivecenter.com/

http://scubacoiba.com/

http://coibadivecenter.com/

 

 

FOR A LOCAL OPERATOR WHO GUIDES SNORKELING TOURS WITH A BIT OF HIKING, WE RECOMMEND:

Watching Dolphin -Jorje Espinosa (507)6664272

PRIVATE TOURS WITH AN ENGLISH SPEAKING GUIDE:

Bird Coiba www.birdcoiba.com

Fluid Adventures (December - April) www.fluidadventurespanama.com

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Surfing


Surfing


 

Buenas Olas

The Point Break (La Punta) is the most famous surf spot here in Santa Catalina, and one of the most consistent in Panama or all of Central America!  If you are not an advanced surfer, not to worry, there are a few more options, including a beach break which is great for beginners.
The following is a list of locations and their distance from La Buena Vida:

Santa Catalina "Town" Beach – Gets good when the point is SCARY HUGE and
is just a few minutes walking from La Buena Vida.

La Punta – 10-15 minutes walking, a few minutes in car.

Punta Roca – 30 minute walk down a footpath from the town beach.
This left needs a decent swell to be surfable, but tends to tube when it gets going.

Estero Beach – 15-20 minute walk, a few minutes in car.
No rocks, all sand, a great place to learn or practice before you go to the point.

Punta Brava – 30-40 minute walk from La Buena Vida.  Continue to the end of Estero Beach and around the point, OR a 10-15 minute drive from LBV taking the car onto Estero Beach to the end (around the rocks), parking and walking the rest at low tide which is when this wave is at its best.

Surfboards are available for purchase or rental at various shops/hotels/restaurants upon arrival.

SURF LESSONS can be arranged via www.fluidadventurespanama.com

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Fishing


Fishing


World Class Sport Fishing

Panama boasts world class sport fishing and Santa Catalina is no exception!  Reel in super sized Wahoo, Tuna, Snapper, Mackerel, Jacks and more.  There are various local captains who can be hired upon arrival, or contact: 

David Diaz david2670@gmail.com
Franco Alfonso #(507) 6395-8200

VIA Puerto Mutis:

Captain Tom Yust www.coibadventure.com

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Kayaking


Kayaking


 

Visit Santa Catalina Island

Rent kayaks and stand-up paddle boards through Fluid Adventures Panama.  
It’s a 30 minute paddle to Santa Catalina Island which is a perfect half day trip,
or organize a multi-day excursion in Coiba National Park (in season).
www.fluidadventurespanama.com

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Horseback Riding


Horseback Riding


See the beaches with help of a furry friend

Visit our friends at Hibiscus Garden.
Gallop on the beaches of Montijo Bay, beach comb, and have lunch or a few drinks.  
www.hibiscusgarden.com

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Hiking & Nature


Hiking & Nature


Hiking Locally

There are a handful of local trails here in Santa Catalina...

The coastal trail to Punta Roca is easily navigable and provides a wonderful way to see local residents still living “off the grid.  Cross the river at town beach and you will find a trail where the land meets the sea.  There is a few rolling hills and local homes you pass through as you walk through nature, and eventually see a small swimming cove and then Punta Roca surf break.  This is about 1.5 hours round trip.

Crest Trail is the latest edition to a slew of activities here in Santa Catalina.  It provides 360 degree views from the top of a hill, including the valley towards Agua Blanca, all surf breaks and the Gulf of Montijo.  To access Crest Trail walk up the main road as if you are going out of town toward Sona.  You will see an entrance on the left side just past the cantina “Brisas del Mar”.  The trail is a loop, quite steep in parts, but well marked.  It’s 2.14 kilometers, or about 1.5 miles and can easily be done in less than an hour.  Definitely take a camera!

Agua Blanca- This hike should be done with a local guide.  It is about 12 k roundtrip, so you may want to consider doing it on horseback.  To access the “Camino Real” or public right away to Agua Blanca, continue straight on the road where Crest Trail begins and go through the red gate.  This meanders along the river, through the valley and eventually to another village, Agua Blanca.  You can arrange lunch with a local family, or buy some refreshments at the local store before you head back, either the same way or returning along the coast.  There are about 30+ cow gates involved in this, hence the guide.

 

Hiking in Coiba National Park

 Hiking in Coiba National Park will provide you a greater opportunity to see more wildlife such as crocodiles, monkeys, scarlet macaws, iguanas and the Coiba Agouti. If you prefer to focus your Coiba Trip around hiking, or have a balance of activities, both on land and underwater, we highly recommend eco guide Javier ElizondoOR going with a local captain (verse a dive shop). 
Here is a list of their contacts:

Javier Elizondo www.birdcoiba.com  javier@birdcoiba.com (507) 6544-1806

Jorje Espinosa at Watching Dolphin (507) 66664272

Victoriano Ortega Roja “Chente” at Pana Adventur (507) 67256264