Coiba Island And Santa Catalina, Panama  Tour x VILLA MICHELLE a tour guide and accommodation in Panama
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Coiba Island And Santa Catalina, Panama Tour x VILLA MICHELLE a tour guide and accommodation in Panama



COIBA ISLAND is located in the Gulf of Chiriquí. Coiba National Park (Nacional Parque Coiba) is a group of 38 islands including Coiba Island (Isla Coiba) and the waters surrounding them and covers ...

COIBA ISLAND is located in the Gulf of Chiriquí. Coiba National Park (Nacional Parque Coiba) is a group of 38 islands including Coiba Island (Isla Coiba) and the waters surrounding them and covers 430,825 acres.
Identified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2005, Coiba National Park offers rich and well preserved natural resources.

Isla Coiba was served Panama as a penal colony. The attraction to Santa Catalina, Panama is its natural beauty and vast natural resources. Surfing has for decades been the main draw for visitors to Santa Catalina. But the reason Santa Catalina exists is its access to abundant fish populations. Fishing and scuba diving are rapidly growing in popularity.
Contact VILLA MICHELLE and explore world of COIBA ISLANDS.
Visits the more complete Gallery of Tourism in Panama in:

VILLA MICHELLE is a luxurious Accommodation in the City of Panama.

Visit Bed and Breakfast in:

O Visit Tourist Gallery VILLA MICHELLE in YouTube channel:

Or to contact to Ivonne in: (507) 6612-3737 or (507) 221-2310 or or o

Or Michelle: (507) 66705560 o (507) 66130753 o



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Coiba Island And Santa Catalina, Panama Tour x VILLA MICHELLE a tour guide and accommodation in Panama Presentation Transcript

    Accommodations in Santa Catalina Beaches, panama can range from surfer/hostel type rooms to mid priced hotel rooms.
    Prices range from $5 per night for camping to around $60 per night for "lodge" accommodations
    Santa Catalina, Panama is located on the Chiriquí gulf in the state of Veraguas.  It is a fishing village which existed in quiet seclusion until discovered by adventurous surfers in the 1970s.  Protecting their hidden world class surf, Santa Catalina was kept secret by the surfers for quite some time.
    The attraction to Santa Catalina, Panama is its natural beauty and vast natural resources.  With the pacific ocean roaring up on its beautiful black sand beaches, Santa Catalina is the launching point for fantastic nautical adventures and a serene fishing village. 
    Surfing has for decades been the main draw for visitors to Santa Catalina.  But the reason Santa Catalina exists is its access to abundant fish populations.  Fishing and scuba diving are rapidly growing in popularity.
  • 6. Dozens of islands are scattered throughout the ocean, just a short boat ride fromSanta Catalina.  Many of these islands offer relatively unexplored white sand beaches with surf breaks that equal and sometimes better the world renowned break at la Punta in Santa Catalina.
    On land, Santa Catalina offers beautiful beaches, good food and affordable accommodations.   Visitors to santacatalina come for outdoor recreation and relaxation. While there are a number of gathering spots for evening dinners and socializing, Santa Catalina is not the all night party spot found in a lot of central
    Santa Catalina is an American surf destinations. 
  • 7. Coiba National Park
    Coiba National Park (Nacional Parque Coiba) is group of 38 islands including Coiba Island (Isla Coiba) and the waters surrounding them.  Coiba National Park is located in the Gulf of Chiriquí off of Panama’s Pacific coast covers 430,825 acres. 
    Because of its rich and well preserved natural resources Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005.  Cited for its high levels of endemic mammal, plants and birds and ongoing evolution of new species, Coiba National Park is consider by UNESCO to be an “outstanding natural laboratory for scientific research” and a key to the survival of numerous pelagic fish and marine mammals.
  • 8. Access to Coiba National Park
    Management of Coiba National Park is administered by the National Authority for the Environment
    (Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente, ANAM). The park is accessible only by permit from ANAM.
    A number of tour operators in Panama offer Ecotours, fishing, and scuba diving trips to Coiba and can assist in obtaining appropriate permits.  The tour operators depart from several different places on the Panamanian coast.  Santa Catalina is the closest access point with about an hour and fifteen minute boat ride from Santa Catalina’s beach to Isla Coiba.
  • 9. The two primary beaches in Santa Catalina are Playa Santa Catalina and Playa Estero.  Both are black sand beaches produced from an adjacent river and offer gentle waves with large tide changes through out the day.  While Playa Santa Catalina is the busier of the two, either can offer a pick up soccer game or other activities with the locals.
    The beach waters around Santa Catalina are routinely tested are have been awarded the Bandera AzulEcologica or Ecologic Blue Banner award for their purity.
  • 10. Playa Santa Catalina
    Playa Santa Catalina is the main village beach located at the end of the paved road.  This is the hub of activity for the fishing village of Santa Catalina.  Most of the daily scuba diving trips and fishing boats leave from Playa Santa Catalina.  Directly in front of the beach is a view of Isla Santa Catalina. The adjacent river gives overnight harbor to the local fishing pangas.
  • 11. Playa Estero
    Playa Estero is east of town across the small river at the end of the dirt road which starts at the intersection in town by the phone booth and the Vasquez store.  Playa Estero generally has less activity through out the day and is often completely empty.  It offers a nice steady set of waves for body surfing or beginners to learn to surf.  Except during very heavy rains, the river is only calf deep and can be easily crossed.
  • 13. Islands around Santa Catalina
    Isla Coiba and
    Coiba National Park
    Surf Spots
    Santa Catalina
    Punta Brava
    Punta Roca
    La Puntica
    El Estero
  • 14. Getting to Santa Catalina, Panama
    Santa Catalina is about an hour and a half drive South Southwest from Santiago. Whether you are coming from Panama City or David, you will travel through Santiago.
    If you are driving from Panama City to Santa Catalina, plan on a 5 to 6 hour trip, but allow 7 to 8 hours in case of construction, rain, or side trips. 
  • 15. From Panama City to Santiago
    The 3 1/2 to 4 hour trip from Panama City to Santiago is a pretty straight forward drive down Highway 1, know as the Pan American Highway. 
    The most difficult part of the trip is finding the turn for Soná. It involves several turns through town.  The first turn is to the left about half way through town on Avenida Central.  It angles at about a 45 degree angle and is not well marked.
    Avenida Central will take you through the main shopping area and run directly into the Cathedral.  At the Cathedral, turn right and immediately back to the left, following the side of the Cathedral.  In one block (at the back of the Cathedral) turn right.  Continue for 2 blocks and turn left where a small sign points to Soná.
  • 16. Other Activities in Santa Catalina, Panama
    In addition to surfing, scuba diving and fishing, Santa Catalina offers a world of other nature activities.  There are numerous trails that lead to remote beaches and through the jungle that offer wildlife viewing ands erenewalks in nature.  Most trails are unmarked and used by locals so asking the assistance of a local guide or having a portable GPS unit is definitely a good idea.
    Eco-tours of the area including day and overnight trips to Coiba Island are offered by a number of local businesses.   
    Santa Catalina offers a variety of activities including Guided Sea Kayak tours of Coiba (day trips, overnight trips and multi day expeditions) as well as Coastal Paddles in and around Santa Catalina. They also offer Surf Lessons, Surf Board Rentals, Yoga Classes, and Thai Yoga Massage. Tours, Rentals and more aqua activities.
    For birdwatchers, a large variety of birds inhabit the hills around Santa Catalina with flocks of parrots a regular sight. 
    Trips can also be arranged through local businesses to visit Coiba Island, which is the only remaining nesting site of the Scarlet Macaw in Panama.  It also offers several species of birds found only on the island.
  • 17. The Islands of Coiba National Park
    Coiba National Park encompasses the majority of the Gulf
    of Chiriqí’s continental shelf and island structures.  Coiba
    National Park’s 38 islands offer a great ecological and
    marine diversity.  White sand beaches, hardwood tropical
    forests and wildlife found nowhere else in the world
    Make these islands breath taking.
    Included in the park are the following islands:
    Canal de Afuera
    And 28 smallerislets
  • 18. Isla Coiba
    Isla Coiba or Coiba Island is the anchor to the Coiba National Park infrastructure.  It is the largest island consisting of 50,314 hectares or 124,320 acres of mostly virgin tropical rainforest.  Located approximately 30 miles off the Panamanian cost, Coiba Island is remote and relatively undeveloped with over 80% of its natural habitat intact.
    Coiba Island is hilly at its center with a number of rivers draining to the ocean.  The largest of the rivers is Rio Negro or Black River.  The jungles of Coiba are home to howler monkeys, scarlet macaws, and crested eagles.  Because of its isolation and location, it has been noted for its growing number of endemic species.
    For bird watchers, Coiba offers 97 of the 147 species of birds found in Coiba National Park.  Coiba is a refuge for Crested Eagles and Scarlet Macaws, birds who have virtually disappeared from the rest of the Republic of Panama.  Coiba also offers 20 endemic birds species including the Coiba spine tail.    The beaches and waters surrounding Coiba Island offer shelter to four turtle species: leatherback , hawksbill , olive , loggerhead .
  • 19. Other local species include the Coiba Island Agouti , he Mantled Howler Monkey, a opossum and a white-tailed deer.  Over 30 varieties of bats call Coiba home.
    The North end of the island is the most accessible from the mainland and is the home of the ANAM ranger station. This is the most visited end of the island and home to beautiful white sand beaches with clear water. The close proximity of other islands such as Rancheria and Las Canales makes this a popular playground for divers and day visitors.
    The South end of the Isla Coiba is relatively untouched by humans. It offers large waves and pristine beaches. It is a favorite for surfers staying in Santa Catalina who are looking for a memorable ride in without any crowds. It take longer to get to than the North Shore, but offers untarnished nature and easy access to Jicaron just offshore.
  • 20. Jicaron (2,002 ha)
    The second largest of the islands that dot the
    geography of Coiba National Park, Jicaron is
    located of the Southeast tip of Coiba. It contains
    lush vegetation, large swells, and rocky beaches
    through out much of the shoreline. With the assistance
    of local guides, Jicaron also offers pristine pocket beaches, deserted serenity and Pacific
    island beauty at its finest. Jicaron is a short distance for steep ocean canyons used by
    migratory pelagic animals to hunt and travel along the transcontinental routes.
    Scuba diving and snorkeling offer views of huge schools of large fish. Sightings of large varieties of rays, sharks, sailfish, and marlin are possible. On the surface, spinner and spotted dolphins, orca, humpback and pilot whales and feeding yellow fin tuna may delight the visiting boat.
    The english translation of Jicanita is "Little Jicaron". Located off the southern tip of Jicaron, Jicanita is the result of thousands of years of storms and wave action on the southern tip of Jicaron. With the sea eventually carving the tip off , Jicanita became its own islet. Jicanita offers similar features as its parent Jicaron.
  • 22. The Reef of Bahia Damas
    Bahia Damas is the somewhat protected bay on the east side of Isla Coiba, Panama.  Its waters boast the second largest coral reef in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.  At 135 hectares or 335 acres, it is one of the largest reefs in Central America.
    In addition to being home to a large coral community, the reef gives refuge to enormous schools of fish of all sizes.  Sightings of large groups of manta rays, sharks, tuna, snapper and other fish are common as are a multitude of dolphin and whales species.
    The reef is subject to a variety of natural influences including El Nino’s warming effects and changing tides and ocean currents.  This convergence of natural phenomenon make the Bahia Damas’ reef a treasure not only for divers but also for researchers evaluating the effects of nature’s intermingling forces.
    The  reef environment of the Bahia Damas is fragile.  To protect this valuable resource, scuba diving should be arranged through the professional dive operations that service the park area.  These operators can arrange the proper permits and have a vested interest in protecting the reefs that provide them and their clients such incredible adventures.
  • 23.
  • 24. Granito De Oro, Coiba National Park, Panama
    A small islet off the northeastern
    coast of Isla Coiba named Granito
    de Oro has emerged as one of the most
    popular stops for visitors interested in
    snorkeling the abundant waters of
    Coiba National Park and picnicking on one of the most pristine beaches in the
    Its steep volcanic outcropping forms a structure which holds the beautiful white sand in place and creates a reef structure which shelters a large variety of beautiful marine life.  It is the aquarium of Coiba, offering easy access to eels, turtles and large schools of fish. 
    Granito de Oro offers the casual snorkeler a diversity and volume of marine life that many avid scuba divers spend their lives trying to see.  The waters surrounding it have been called one of the top 10 diving destinations in the world.
  • 26. Penal Colony of Isla Coiba
    Mention Isla Coiba to the average Panamanian and treasured marine park and abundant ecosystem are probably not the image that pops into their mind.  For modern day citizens of Panama, stories of imprisonment, torture and death are more like to come to mind.
    Coiba Island was Panama’s version of Devil’s Island.  From 1919 to 2004, the penal colony on Isla Coiba was home to the country’s most dangerous criminals as well as home to many who found themselves on the wrong side of the political struggle.  At its peak, The Coiba Island Prison housed 3000 inmates in about 30 camps spread around the islands.
    “Los Desaparecidos” was the name given to the hundreds or even thousands who disappeared in Panama under dictators Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega, never to be seen again.  It is believed that many of these unfortunate individuals either ended up in unmarked graves near theCoiba’s penal colony or to have been dismembered and fed to the abundant shark population in its surrounding waters. 
  • 27. After the fall of the dictatorship, Coiba resumed its role as a criminal prison camp rather than political prison.  In its final days, prisoners were the run of the mill thieves, murders and rapists serving their debt to society by farming and ranching the island to provide for their own existence.
    The prison is now closed.  The prisoners have been relocated to other facilities and anything of value has been removed from the site.  The remaining structure is slowly being reclaimed by jungle and the marine air.  Its crumbling buildings and simply marked graves serve as the only memorial to Coiba’s dark history.
    The fear of the prison and its inhabitants inadvertently resulted in preservation of the largest untouched rain forests in the Americas.  Because of the deterrent of the penal colony, about 80% of the islands forest remains virgin and unmolested.  A true silver lining in one of man’s most horrible moments.  Of course, with the prison gone and the supervising staff woefully under funded,Coiba’s next challenge is fending off poachers preying on the abundant wildlife of the park.
  • 28. Where to eat
  • 29. Eating in Santa Catalina, Panama
    Eating in Santa Catalina is relaxed and affordable.  Most eating establishments in this part of Panama are open air facilities.  The food is homemade and very good.  Santa Catalina offers a surprising variety of food both in type and ethnicity.  Options include Italian pastas, Argentinean steaks, Pizza and authentic Panamanian food.
    A few of the restaurants are located along the paved main street of Santa Catalina, however most are along the dirt road to El Estero and the roads that branch off of it toward the sea. They are located either in the various surf camps and hostels or along the road to them. 
    Few are open all day, instead having specific times for each meal. For breakfast, the most dependable choice is Vasquez at the corner next to the store.  It is not the best, but usually open and works in a pinch.  When they are open, the best value for a home cooked meal at a cost of about $1.00, is the Tropical Fruit stand on the main street.  It is 1 block from Playa Santa Catalina. Either of these will also prepare a sandwich to take on day boat trips for visitors headed to Isla Coiba or other nearby islands.   Also check with Mike and Michelle at La Vida Buena to see if their American style café is open for breakfast and lunch.
  • 30.
  • 31. SURFING
     Santa Catalina plays host to a world-class lava rock/reef break. The rights are some of the best in the Americas!!! Situated approximately a quarter mile from shore the spot picks up a wide range of south swell, majestically creating high energy waves that break from two to twenty feet!! Dec./Jan. - April/ May is the dry season : no rain and off-shore. In general this is Panama´s `high´season. The rest of the year has steady tropical weather pattern: sunshine in the morning, showers in the afternoon. There is no 'on´or 'off' surf season. Catalina is considered a stand-out spot. Can get shifty and changes color with the tide. We get as big as 12´differences in one swing! Experience is a must. There is definitely a budding local surf culture; boasting some of the best surfers in the country! Local rules apply. Beginners take heed...this is not a break to learn on. This is also not the only break around. There´s the beachy in town and `the estero´ beach at the eastern end of town. These are both sand bottom beaches and are more friendly to those learning.