Panama

Coiba Island Diving

Tour:
6 Days
Price From:
$1,998
Pricing Details
Singles:
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SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
Single travelers staying in a room by themselves will be charged this additional single supplement fee, as all of our regular prices are otherwise based on double occupancy.

SINGLE SHARE OPTIONS (if available)
If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room, we will make every effort to find you a roommate of the same gender, in which case you will not have to pay the single supplement fee. The single supplement will be charged until we are able to confirm a roommate for you. If we are able to match you with a roommate, the single supplement will be refunded. In the event that we cannot find a share for you, you will be required to pay the single supplement fee.

New: Click the Singles Find a Share' icon below or check our "Community" page to connect with other single travelers looking to share.

Rating:
Moderate to Difficult

Panama

Coiba Island Diving

Destinations

  • Panama City
  • Santa Catalina
  • Coiba Island

Highlights

  • One dive in Coiba is like 10 dives anywhere else!
  • 3 world-class dives each day upon arrival
  • One of the most extensive marine preserves in the world with 7 islands and 1.1 million acres
  • Pristine reef outside the hurricane belt
  • Expert dive masters

Itinerary at a Glance

  • DAY 1 Panama City / Santa Catalina
  • DAY 2-4 Coiba Islands
  • DAY 5 Santa Catalina
  • DAY 6 Santa Catalina / Panama City / USA

Coiba Island Diving

Our clients rave that one dive in Coiba is like 10 dives anywhere else! Coiba was a prison colony for nearly 100 years before it was made into one of the most extensive marine preserves in the world - 7 islands and 1.1 million acres. The presence of the penal colony combined with its remote Pacific location (outside of the hurricane belt) is why Coiba's reef is so pristine. Coiba's remarkable proliferation of rare corals and abundance of marine life resulted in it being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. All this, and Coiba is only recently starting to see dive tourism!
. Three World-Class Dives Each Day - Upon arrival at Coiba Island.
. Lodging on Coiba Island - at the National Park Ranger Station.
. Expert Dive Masters

Detailed Itinerary

DAY 1 Panama City / Santa Catalina

You will be met in the morning in Panama City by our representative and transferred to Santa Catalina, located in Veraguas Province. Santa Catalina Beach is a major break, where you can nearly always find a decent wave to ride. This area is comparable to Oahu's Sunset Beach. From here you will begin your trip to Coiba National Park to explore the beautiful underwater environment in your diving tours.

Overnight at Santana Catalina Inn. (Breakfast)

DAY 2-4 Coiba Island

After breakfast on Day 2, you will begin your trip by boat to Coiba Island. The National Park consists of the islands of Coiba, Rancheria, Canal de Afuera, Afuerita, Uva, Brincanco, Pajaros, Jicaron, Jicarita, and many more small islets. Around 80% of the area is ocean and contains the largest coral reef of the tropical East Pacific. Coiba was uninhabited except for a prison colony, which closed in 2004, so the terrestrial flora is mainly virgin primary rainforest with more than 1,450 identified plants and home to 36 mammals and 147 species of birds, including the only population of Scarlet Macaws in Panama. Encounters with white tip reef sharks, mantas, eagle rays and turtles is quite normal, as is swimming with schools of sturgeon, butterfly fish, angel fish, barracudas, Pacific spade fish, jacks, and tunas. Also sightings of humpback (July to September) and pilot whales, orcas, dolphins, tiger sharks, bull sharks, and hammerhead sharks, as well as whale sharks are possible at certain times.

In the mornings you will have two dives at Coiba Island. A mid-day break allows you time to visit some of Coiba's brilliant white sand beaches and observe the nesting sites for green, olive, ridley and leatherback turtles. Dolphins are always present, and at least four different species of whales (humpbacks, orcas, pilot, and sperm whales) migrate through the waters of the park at certain times of the year. Whale watching encounters are both common and spectacular. You'll enjoy one more dive in the afternoons.

Overnight at Coiba Island. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 5 Coiba / Santa Catalina

Transfer back to Santa Catalina. Optional tour in Santa Catalina: visit area similar to Coiba National Park. Besides tons of snappers, jacks, tunas, butterfly fish, angel fish, puffer fish, and free swimming moray eels, you can also see whale sharks, white tip sharks, bull sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, dolphins, humpback whales, pilot whales, and turtles at certain times.

Overnight at Santana Catalina Inn. (Breakfast)

DAY 6 Santa Catalina / Panama City / USA

At the appropriate time you will be transferred to Panama City in time for your onward flight.

 

Panama Lodging

SANTA CATALINA

Santa Catalina Inn

On Panama's Pacific Coast, Santa Catalina & nearby Coiba National Park offer pristine beaches, turquoise waters & incredible sunsets. Come visit this beautiful location off the beaten path!

COIBA ISLAND

National Park Ranger Station

Until recently, the only way to dive Coiba was on a dive live-aboard. However, in 2004, the Panama National Park Service fully renovated the old guard barracks from the former prison, and turned them into a comfortable eco-lodge. The station offers several modest 2 room cabins with air conditioning.

 

Panama Activities

At a Glance

In addition to 3 world-class dives each day, there is plenty to see and do on Coiba Island. The terrestrial flora is mainly virgin primary rain forest with more than 1,450 identified plants and home to 36 mammals and 147 species of birds, including the only population of scarlet macaws in Panama. You can also visit some of the beaches of Coiba to observe the nesting areas for different turtles (green, olive ridley, and leatherback). Dolphins are always present and at least four different species of whales (humpbacks, orcas, pilot, and sperm whales) migrate through the waters of the park at certain times of the year.

  • Three World-Class Dives Each Day
  • Lodging on Coiba Island - At the National Park Ranger Station
  • Expert Dive Masters

Other Activities

Three World-Class Dives Each Day

Our clients rave that one dive in Coiba is like 10 dives anywhere else! For those seeking true Adventure Diving as opposed to Resort Diving, Coiba offers offers virgin fauna and flora under and above water, but no touristic infrastructure. In the mornings you will have two dives at Coiba Island. After a mid-day break you'll enjoy one more dive in the afternoons. At the beginning of the dry season in December and January visibility can be best and reaches sometimes 30 or more meters / 100 or more feet. Currents can be very strong this time of the year. Beginning at the end of January or middle of February until the end of March or middle of April, a continuous north wind brings very dry weather but can affect the surface conditions and may restrict the access to remote dive sites in the open sea. The upwelling caused by the north wind and the influence of Pacific currents bring lots of nutrients and with it big schools of migrating pelagic fish like manta rays, giant pelagic sting rays, tunas, amber jacks, even Orca whales and more. But these conditions also bring a thermo clime of 19-20 C / 66-68 F reaching up to 25 - 30 meters / 80-100 ft depth. While the visibility at the surface and also down in the cold water is excellent, a layer of greenish water between the two layers starting between 5-15 meter / 15-50 feet depending on dive sites and tides can sometimes reduce the visibility.
In the rainy season the wind ceases and the water calms, the thermo climes are deeper and until July and August the visibility can range between 12 - 20 meter / 40 - 65 feet down to recreational depth limits, also the water temperature does not drop lower than 24-26 C / 75-78 F all the way down. Thunderstorms and heavy rain should be expected in the late afternoons. Humpback whales are visiting the area from July to October. September and October are the wettest months; winds can make the surface choppy, big amounts of fresh water in the rivers can reduce the visibility especially at sites close to mainland or to big rivers at Coiba and lower the surface temperature to 25 C / 76 F.

Expert Dive Masters

Our local captains and boat crew are expertly acquainted with the dive sites of Coiba National Park. Our dive instructors have together more than 30 years experience in teaching and dive guiding, have made over 8,000 dives (more than 3,000 in this area of Panama), and have certified around 1,000 students in courses ranging from Open Water to Divemaster.

Visit Turtle Nesting Sites

Coiba's brilliant white sand beaches are home to nesting sites for green, olive, ridley and leatherback turtles.

Beaches Teeming with Coiba's Own Endemic Sub-Species of Scarlet Macaw

When you tire of diving, enjoy a mid-day break on Coiba's incredible pristine beaches, and witness the colorful antics of the island's own endemic species of scarlet macaw.

Dolpin and Whale Watching

Dolphins are always present, and at least four different species of whales (humpbacks, orcas, pilot, and sperm whales) migrate through the waters of the park at certain times of the year. Whale watching encounters are both common and spectacular.

 

Panama Wildlife

On the Island

Wild Planet's wildlife eco-tours are designed for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Our Coiba Island Diving Program features some of the best diving in the Americas. We take care to seek out wildlife experiences that are rare, off the beaten path, more unique than you will see on conventional tours.

Our expert naturalist guides will educate you in the field so your experience is intimate and unparalleled. Still, wildlife viewing can be unpredictable and requires patience and sensory awareness.

Primates: Howler monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys
Other mammals: 36 species of mammals including three-toed sloth, two-toed sloth, coatimundi, bats
Reptiles & Insects: Crocodiles, caimen, blue morpho butterflies, basilisk (Jesus Christ lizards), poison arrow frogs, green turtles, oliveturtles, ridleyturtles, and leatherback turtles
Birds: 147 species, including the only population of scarlet macaws in Panama.

In the Ocean

Fish: Manta rays, eagle rays, sturgeon, butterfly fish, angel fish, barracudas, Pacific spade fish, jacks, and tuna
Sharks: White tip reef sharks, tiger sharks, bull sharks, hammerhead sharks, and whale sharks (at certain times)
Whales: (July to September) Humpback, sperm, pilot, orcas, dolphins

 

Panama Guides

Coiba Island Guides

Wild Planet Adventures' dive masters are naturalists, biologists or leaders in their field. As wildlife specialists, we know that your guide is the difference between a good trip and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Our guides have been specially chosen both for their personality and interpersonal skills as well as their extensive naturalist knowledge and exceptional abilities to spot wildlife.

 

Panama FAQ

Panama Facts for Visitors

Climate/Best Time to Go:

In general, temperatures in the lowlands range from the low 70's to the high 90's, cooler at elevation. The temperature on top of the continental divide can vary from the high 50's to mid 80's with enveloping clouds drifting over the mountains and bringing mist and occasional rain. December through April is the dry season in most places except the Caribbean coast, which is dryer January through March, but has no real dry season. The "green season" begins very slowly in June and tapers off in July for about 3 weeks during "Little Summer". So don't let rain scare you away from the rainforest! Even in the green season there is plenty of sunshine and great weather for your vacation.

Best time to go: late December through May, and also July

Choose Your Panama Travel Style! Any of our wildlife adventures are also available as fully customizable private trips, honeymoons or family wildlife adventures.
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We're Wild for Wildlife...
  • 3 world-class dives each day upon arrival
  • Lodging on Coiba Island - At the National Park Ranger Station
  • Expert Dive Masters
  • One of the most extensive marine preserves in the world with 7 islands and 1.1 million acres
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